5 Accounting and Finance Hiring and Salary Trends

Accounting and Finance Trends

Wondering what 2014 holds when it comes to accounting and finance jobs? The recently released 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half details industry trends and projected average salary ranges for the coming year.

Here are five key trends that emerged in research for the much-anticipated annual guide:

1. Talent shortages have arrived. The overall unemployment rate may still be high, but professionals with the most sought-after skills have unemployment rates well below the national average and are in hot demand. For instance: Financial analysts have an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent; financial managers, 2.6 percent; and chief executives, including CFOs, 1.8 percent, according to third-quarter data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But many hiring managers are still operating under the misperception that there is a large, highly qualified candidate pool to draw from. In fact, top performers in the most in-demand specialties are hard to find — and even harder to hire. This is leading to multiple job offers and counteroffers for professionals with the most sought-after skills.

2. Catch-up hiring is occurring. After years of staffing freezes and cutbacks, firms are focused on hiring professionals for core senior and managerial accounting roles. Companies seek candidates who can support business growth and help upgrade and expand operations.

Senior-level and staff accountants are seeing more opportunities in the corporate world. Hiring in public accounting also has picked up for positions at all levels, but especially for senior accountants. Some of the most in-demand finance jobs are financial and business systems analysts. Other hot roles include anti-money laundering specialists, bookkeepers, internal auditors, and risk and compliance professionals.

3. Salary increases remain moderate but higher for hot positions. Overall starting salaries for accounting and finance jobs are expected to rise 3.4 percent on average, according to Salary Guide research. Pay increases for those with the most in-demand skills are likely to be higher, however. For instance, senior financial analysts are expected to see jumps in starting salary of 4.0 percent to 4.1 percent, depending to the company size.

4. Retention concerns are reappearing. Concerns about retention and morale are building. Voluntary turnover is rising, and some job changers are receiving sizable salary increases. To combat this trend, employers need to not only offer new hires and current employees competitive compensation but also illuminate possible career paths within their organizations. Other popular incentives include bonuses, paid expenses for continuing professional education, additional time off and flexible work options.

5. Employers are using interim-to-hire arrangements. Realizing they need additional staff but concerned about finding suitable hires in a timely manner, companies are turning to project professionals to fill staffing gaps. Often, employers are using these arrangements to “screen candidates in vs. screening candidates out based on a resume,” according to one Robert Half recruiter.

For more information to guide your career or inform your hiring and compensation plans, download a copy of the Salary Guide and access our Salary Calculator.