By Gene Kim, Senior Vice President, Robert Half
I recently took part in an Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) webinar that explored finance and accounting hiring trends and their impact on job seekers. We covered a lot of ground in the webinar, which was moderated by Terry Mormile, CPA, CAE, and director of international education and career services at IMA. I thought I’d recap some of the key takeaways from our discussion here, as these insights can help to inform your job search.
First, job seekers should know that it’s a candidate’s hiring market right now due to a significant shortage of skilled labor available for hire. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, 4.3 million workers voluntarily left their jobs over the month of January. Despite the persistence of the pandemic and economic conditions like rising inflation, many companies are in a hiring mode — and expanding their business operations as well. Recent research from Robert Half found that 65% of firms hiring permanent staff are adding new positions, while only 33% expect to fill vacated positions.
In tight markets, like the San Francisco Bay Area where I live, it’s especially challenging for employers to find workers. Signing bonuses, cash incentives, more paid time off and job title upgrades are just some of the strategies companies are using to convince top hires to join their organization. I know of clients who are using all of these strategies and others. However, in many cases, these offerings aren’t enough, especially if the ability to work remotely isn’t on offer. In a survey Robert Half conducted for our latest Salary Guide, 75% of respondents said they want to work remotely at least part of the time.
That said, here’s a recommendation for candidates: If you want to make yourself even more marketable, stay open-minded about the “where” of work. Many companies are trying to figure out whether they want to maintain a remote, hybrid or in-office model moving forward. So, if you’re open to different options, it could help open up doors in your career. Of course, you should also be upfront about your preferences and emphasize that you’d like to negotiate a flexible work schedule when the time is right.
See this post for tips on how to refine your remote job search.
The hottest industries and roles for finance and accounting pros
In the recent IMA webinar, I also offered some insight on where candidates may want to target their search for accounting and finance roles, based on research for Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide and what our recruiters are observing firsthand in the market. Nationally, the hottest industries for finance and accounting jobs include:
- Financial services
And, as for specific jobs, our recruiters are seeing strong demand this year for:
- Accounts payable/receivable specialists
- Financial analysts
- Payroll specialists
- Project managers
- Senior accounts
- Staff accountants
If you’d like to find out what kind of starting salary to expect for these positions, based on your skills and experience level, consult our free Salary Guide.
Skills highly valued by employers in today’s hiring market
One question raised during the webinar was, “How have skills changed for accounting and finance roles because of the pandemic?” My response was that soft skills have become even more important due to the need for people to communicate effectively while working remotely. So, too, have leadership abilities. Technology skills, including the ability to work with cloud-based systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, are also highly valued by many employers.
Of course, Microsoft Excel skills are still in demand as well. As IMA’s Terry Mormile explained, “Excel is a skill that’s not going away. It’s really fundamental to the accounting and finance sector. No matter how automated we make things, there’s always work that will be thrown back into Excel. That’s why IMA offers Excel courses, including several courses on using Excel for predictive analytics.”
Check out this post that outlines five ways to level up your Excel skills so you can do your best work in accounting and finance.
And … what about the one-page resume? Yes, or no?
Another question that came up during our discussion about finance and accounting hiring trends was whether or not the one-page resume is still valid in today’s job market. The short answer is that it depends. I like to see candidates provide a one-page resume for every 10 years of experience — or up to three pages for 30 years of experience. And for financial consultants, I love it when candidates provide a one-page resume that summarizes their skills and expertise and succinctly describes what they can bring to the table.
These are only a few top highlights from the IMA webinar, “A New Era: Top Finance & Accounting Hiring Trends.” I encourage you to view the full presentation, so you can learn tips for negotiating salaries, get insight on trends in benefits and perks, and more. You can watch the webinar for free on-demand here.
Also, if you’re interested in the management accounting path, consider signing up for a free three-month trial membership with IMA®, the worldwide association of accountants and financial professionals in business. With more than 140,000 members, IMA is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession.
About Gene Kim
Gene Kim is a senior vice president with Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. In his role, Gene manages the company’s finance and accounting permanent placement practice teams in the East Bay market of the San Francisco Bay Area. During his time with the company, he has placed hundreds of accounting and finance professionals in full-time roles at companies of all sizes. Prior to joining Robert Half, Gene worked in consulting for a public accounting firm and as a senior financial analyst at a large technology company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Berkeley.
Follow Gene Kim on LinkedIn.