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CFOs Put Out ‘Help Not Wanted’ Sign

March 11, 2008
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A Department of Labor report showed that corporate payrolls shrank by 63,000 jobs in February. The decline—the biggest drop in nearly five years—follows a loss of 22,000 jobs in January.

Gloomy stuff, and it appears that accounting and finance specialists are not fully immune to this bleak job market. A survey of some 1,400 finance chiefs released Friday, March 7, by staffing firm Robert Half International has led the firm to forecast a mere 4 percent increase in the hiring of corporate accounting and finance workers in the second quarter.

Indeed, 85 percent of the polled CFOs said they do not anticipate making any personnel moves in the next few months.

Of the 9 percent of CFOs who are expecting to bring on new hires, 41 percent said they were doing so to address the demands of business growth, while roughly a third cited rising workloads.

Robert Half noted that employers who are hiring are typically looking for help with general accounting, internal controls or compliance initiatives.

One bright spot: Audit firms still appear to be actively courting talent. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported this week that accounting services firms and financial services firms were among the most aggressive suitors for the current crop of college graduates.

Filed by Matthew Scott of Financial Week, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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