What’s the Latest on Accounting and Finance Jobs? 3 Trends From Recent Reports

Though recent economic reports shed some insight on the national employment outlook, they don’t necessarily tell the story of accounting and finance jobs.

Following are three trends from recent employment reports that paint a more specific picture of what’s happening for financial professionals and employers in 2014.

1. The outlook for accounting and finance jobs Is different from the general outlook

A look at the most current unemployment rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for accounting and finance positions, such as those below, quickly highlights the difference between financial occupations and the general outlook.

• Chief executives (includes chief financial officers): 1.2%

• Accountants and auditors: 3.4%

• Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks: 3.9%

• Financial managers: 4.3%

• Compliance officers: 4.7%

Additional research from the BLS shows the future also is bright for professionals with in-demand technical accounting expertise and soft skills. The BLS projects employment growth for financial analysts and for accountants and auditors to outpace the national average from 2012-2022. In addition, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks rank among the top 15 occupations expected to add the most jobs during the same time span.

2. Workers appear increasingly confident

Often times, the overall national unemployment rate, though closely watched, isn’t the best indicator of the employment market, since it’s heavily dependent on whether more people are joining or dropping out of the workforce. However, the 6.6 percent rate reported by the BLS for January represents a positive sign. It is down from December 2013’s 6.7 percent even as the labor force participation rate ticked up, an indicator more people are confident about re-entering the job market.

Research on people quitting their jobs, which is tracked by the BLS’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, also can be used as a gauge of workers’ confidence they can find a new job if they leave their current one. Though down slightly month over month, the number of quits reported for December 2013, the most recent data available, was up by almost 250,000 compared to December 2012 and the third-highest total in the last five years.

3. Accounting and Finance Managers Face Recruiting Challenges

In a recent Robert Half survey, more than three out of every five CFOs interviewed said it is challenging for their company to find skilled candidates for professional-level positions today. The combination of recruiting difficulties and the talent shortages highlighted by below-average unemployment rates in many accounting and finance occupations has led to intensified competition for professionals with in-demand skills. It’s not uncommon for top performers in high-demand specialties to receive multiple employment offers and notable gains in starting salaries when they make a job change.

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