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CFOs are adopting positive attitude towards hiring, says survey

August 19, 2013 | Posted at 10:17 am

Employment opportunities in the U.S. look set to increase in the final months of the year after a recent survey of Chief Financial Officers revealed a considerable degree of optimism across various industry sectors.

According to the authors of the study, conducted by Financial Executives International and New York-based Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, CFOs who responded to the poll were found to be more positive about not only the job sector but the economy as a whole. The survey showed that the optimism index by CFOs towards their own business had increased from 67.1 points to 70.7 since the last financial quarter, with 49 percent of respondents stating that they believed the country was well on the way to recovery.

In terms of job opportunities and hiring plans, those surveyed were confident that opportunities would present themselves before the end of 2013, with 72 percent of interviewees reporting that workforce levels at their respective companies had not decreased in the last 12 months. The authors of the report also noted that most of the 226 CFOs interviewed had expressed an interest in hiring mid-career professionals, experienced technical workers and entry-level college graduates.

“The results of this quarter’s survey show that overall economic confidence among financial leaders in the U.S. has improved,” said Linda Allen, Professor of Economics and Finance for the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. “Particularly encouraging is the attitude towards hiring: 61 percent of CFOs plan to hire within the next six months, and employee compensation is expected to increase by 3.5 percent.”

One area of expertise that was in demand from CFOs appears to be in the information technology sector. Respondents to the survey highlighted tech as an important sector for investment within the corporate structure, with spending expected to increase by around 7 percent. Over 50 percent revealed that they were directing funds towards big data and analytical measurement, while social media marketing, cyber security and IT risk management were also high on the agenda, although healthcare costs were also predicted to rise by 10 percent.

“Previous surveys have shown reduction or minimal growth in the number of U.S. CFOs with plans to hire additional staff,” said Marie Hollein, President and CEO, Financial Executives International, in a press release. “However, the results of this quarter’s survey could indicate this trend is turning around. It is hopeful to know that employment opportunities are expected to increase for professionals across a variety of levels, and that healthcare costs have not deterred many businesses from taking on full-time staff members.”