Tuesday, March 22, 2005

East Bay Business Times - March 21,



East Bay Business Times - 3:43 PM PST Monday
Bay Area CFOs expect Q2 hiring to top national average

Eleven percent of chief financial officers in the Bay Area expect to hire accounting and finance professionals in the second quarter of 2005, according to a survey by Robert Half International Inc.

Eleven percent of executives surveyed plan to add staff during the quarter, and 3 percent anticipate reductions in personnel. The net 8 percent increase is equal to the first-quarter 2005 forecast and two points above the national average of 6 percent.

The local results reflect a rolling average based on the responses of 200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in the Bay Area with 20 or more employees; 1,400 CFOs were queried for the national data. The surveys were conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI) of Menlo Park, which has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

"Nationally, companies appear to be more confident, pursuing new initiatives as well as ones that were previously postponed," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "As economic conditions improve and more projects are launched, there is greater urgency to hire accounting and finance personnel to support expansion efforts."
Nationally, among executives planning to increase staff levels in the second quarter, 61 percent cited business growth as the reason. Seventeen percent of those polled pointed to larger workloads. "Corporate governance initiatives continue to fuel demand for skilled accounting and internal audit staff as firms address ongoing Sarbanes-Oxley compliance," mhytha 3/21/05 said Messmer said.

Hiring activity is expected to be strongest in the finance, insurance and real estate industries. Twenty percent of CFOs polled from this sector project adding full-time accounting employees, and none expect to decrease the size of their staff.

The manufacturing and wholesale industries are expected to outpace the national average as well. A net 9 percent of CFOs from manufacturing firms plan to augment their finance teams in the coming quarter, and a net 8 percent of wholesale executives anticipate increased hiring.

© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
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