Recruiting, retention main concerns of financial executives: Survey

Finance, accounting, operational support hardest positions to fill
||Last Updated: 08/18/2011

The accounting and finance employment market in many parts of the world may be in a state of transition, a new survey suggests. Financial leaders surveyed for the Robert Half’s Global Financial Employment Monitor reported difficulties finding skilled staff and growing concern about their ability to hold on to their best employees.

"Many firms are concerned about their ability to build and retain the accounting and finance teams they need to support the demands of the business," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Finding skilled professionals has become increasingly challenging, and candidate shortages are emerging in some regions and specialty areas."

Sixty-seven per cent of the 6,000 executives surveyed from around the world said it is either very or somewhat challenging today to find skilled accounting and finance professionals for certain jobs. In Brazil and Singapore, virtually all respondents (97 per cent in each country) reported hiring challenges. The most severe shortage for a specific functional area was cited in Italy, where 45 per cent of respondents have difficulty filling finance jobs (such as controller and financial analyst).

Globally, the areas identified as the hardest to recruit are finance, accounting and operational support, such as accounts payable and payroll positions.

The number of financial leaders worried about employee retention is on the upswing. More than one-half of executives (56 per cent) said they are very or somewhat concerned about losing valued employees to other opportunities in the coming year. This compares to 45 per cent who cited retention concerns in the 2010 survey.

In Canada, 41 per cent of executives cited worries about keeping their best people, up from 35 per cent in 2010.

"As job opportunities expand for top performers, they are more likely to explore these career options, making staff retention a higher priority for businesses," Messmer said. "Especially at smaller firms, the departure of even a single employee can result in lost skills and organizational knowledge that are difficult to replace."

Globally, 89 per cent of financial leaders said they are either very or somewhat assured of their firms' ability to grow in the next 12 months.

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