A New Year’s Surprise? Five 2014 Hiring Trends in Accounting and Finance

When it comes to hiring skilled accounting and finance professionals, companies may be in for a surprise in 2014. If you’re thinking of boosting your bench strength to capture new business next year, this means you. Rather than the large, highly qualified candidate pool many expect, research for the just-released 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half suggests hiring managers are more likely to encounter a shortage of the specialized talent they need most. Here are five hiring trends to keep an eye on:

  1. Competition for professionals with specialized skills. While the general unemployment level remains high, unemployment rates for a number of accounting and finance occupations are below the national average. That’s because financial professionals with specialized skills are hard to find. Many of these candidates are receiving multiple offers and counteroffers, and it’s not unusual to see top performers getting sizable salary increases.
  2. Analytical skills needed. As you know, all the financial data in the world isn’t of much use without people who can interpret and explain it. Businesses like yours need analysts who can help identify patterns in financial data and offer up-to-the-minute counsel on decision-making. That’s why a stepped-up demand for financial, business and business systems analysts is one of the key hiring trends we’re seeing today. Look especially for candidates with strong communication skills and an MBA.
  3. Retention concerns returning. More and more professionals are voluntarily leaving their positions for larger paydays. Work/life balance is also a consideration for many. Your firm can improve its employee retention rate by equaling or exceeding salaries paid by your competitors and offering interesting career paths. Other perks might include tuition reimbursement, relocation assistance, additional time off and flexible work options.
  4. Companies using more temporary staff. Nimble is the word when it comes to beating out the competition, and more firms are recognizing the value of a more flexible staffing plan that allows them to move quickly on opportunities. A combination of full-time employees and highly skilled interim professionals can help your company staff up or down in response to business demand. And forget the old concept of what a “temp” is: temporary workers are available at all experience levels today. Another reason companies use this approach is because they often just don’t have the expertise in house they need to help manage complex initiatives, such as finance transformations and systems upgrades.
  5. Entry-level professionals also in demand. Another of the hiring trends in public accounting and private industry we’re seeing is companies bringing in financial professionals right out of college. Focusing your sights on someone with a degree in accounting is a no-brainer, but other things to look for include previous work experience (through internships or part-time jobs) and leadership roles in campus organizations. The goal is to bring on board people with the potential to grow with your organization.

Hiring managers: These are among the key hiring trends we hear about most often from our company’s staffing and recruiting specialists. Any other shifts you’re spotting in your area? If so, we’d love to hear about them. Please add a comment below!

Download the Salary Guide