Posted by Rebekah McLain on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 00:00
Any company looking to hire next year wants to know what the market will be like. How difficult will it be to recruit accounting and finance talent? What skills will be hard to find? What hurdles can you expect?
Yesterday, December 9, Robert Half hosted a webinar that answered these questions and more. “What You Need to Know to Hire and Be Hired in the New Year: 2015 Financial Employment and Compensation Outlook” provided insight into the hiring trends that financial and accounting managers and job seekers will face in 2015.
An impressive roster of experts weighed in with their thoughts and experiences:
- Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half
- Shirley Wiliani, CFO of Hardin Holdings, Inc. and Affiliated Companies
- Mike Dinsdale, CFO of DocuSign
Couldn’t listen in to the event? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below you’ll find a breakdown of the key hiring and compensation trends discussed, as well as takeaways you need to know. We're also offering a replay of the webinar.
The demand for talent exceeds the supply
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show job openings increased by almost 1 million jobs from 2013 to 2014, a clear indication the U.S. economy is gaining steam. Employers need new talent to grow their organizations, but it’s getting harder to find these professionals.
BLS statistics also show the unemployment rates for many accounting and finance positions are lower than the national average (see the table below). And according to the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half, 68 percent of employers said that finding skilled finance professionals is challenging.
Accountants and auditors
Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks
Why demand for the best workers is so high
As the economy grows, many organizations want to grow with it. However, there are several hiring trends that are causing demand for skilled professionals to spike:
- Quits rate — Employees are aware of hiring trends that show the market has shifted to favor skilled candidates. They feel more confident about their ability to find a new job and are willing to leave less-than-fulfilling positions for higher compensation, more challenging assignments or a better work environment.
- Baby boomer retirements — AARP reports that, over the course of the next year, 8,000 baby boomers are expected to retire each day. That means many organizations will be looking to staff new vacancies.
- Reaction time — Advances in technology require companies to move more quickly. Employers need more staff to meet tighter deadlines and to help put processes into place that can increase efficiencies.
The skills employers need the most
If employers were to put together a wish list of the skills their ideal job candidate would possess, these abilities would likely be at the top:
- Dinsdale noted that globalization has upped the need for employees who have experience collaborating with colleagues from other nations and cultures.
- Expertise in compliance is increasingly sought because companies must stay abreast of ever-changing regulatory mandates and increased enforcement efforts.
- The ability to see the big picture is a desirable trait. Employees who understand how their roles affect the organization are more adept at strategic planning and aiding in automation.
- Wiliani emphasized that finding professionals who are a good fit with the corporate culture is crucial because these individuals are most likely to stay for the long term. The cost of a bad hire can be very high, and employers want to bring on board only those who are likely to mesh well with the existing team.
- In the age of big data, data analytics skills are in high demand, as is the ability to “make the numbers talk.”
- Public speaking prowess, especially in roles requiring candidates to explain data to audiences not naturally fluent in numbers
- The ability to own projects from the beginning and see them through to implementation
- Wiliani noted that employers prize “critical thinking and problem solving skills,” as well as employees who can take initiative.
- According to Dinsdale, superb attention to detail is a must, as there’s no bouncing back from mistakes in financial reporting.
- Experience within the company’s industry or with the processes the firm uses or plans to implement
In addition to these skills, the CPA reigns supreme as the certification of choice among hiring managers, while the MBA carries significant weight for senior-level roles.
Retention efforts are ramping up
While amplified recruitment efforts are an important factor in the war for talent, retention is an area that shouldn’t be neglected. Wiliani suggests employers introduce top performers — those who want to make an impact and improve on a daily basis — to as many colleagues as possible, so they can see how they might make a difference in the organization.
Dinsdale also offered excellent advice regarding communication: Rather than checking in at yearly reviews, he sits down with employees regularly to check in and find out what could be done better in regards to both employee satisfaction and organizational operations.
If your business is planning to hire in 2015, be sure to listen to the replay of our webcast on hiring trends. Also be sure to download your free copy of the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half for detailed hiring and salary data.
Did you listen to the webinar? What hiring and compensation trends apply most to your organization? Let us know in the comments section below.