San Francisco Bay Area Finance and Accounting Hiring Outlook

It’s a new year and hiring across the Bay Area is on the rise. This is good news for those in the finance and accounting professions across the region, and an opportunity for employers to consider the best hiring approaches to attract great candidates.

Recently, Robert Half San Francisco Bay Area Senior District President, Sharon Black, shared secrets to nurturing a top-notch finance and accounting team at a Silicon Valley FEI professional development session. Here are a few key takeaways on the Bay Area’s hiring environment, finance positions in the greatest demand, and how to recruit top talent.

First, let’s take a look at the general hiring environment in the Bay Area. Robert Half’s most recent San Francisco Bay Area Professional Employment Forecast suggests that the pace of hiring is increasing. This report shows that of the 100 local CFOs surveyed, 93 percent plan to hire in the next six months:

  • 77 percent will be hiring to maintain current staffing levels.
  • 16 percent report that their companies will be creating new jobs.
  • Only 7 percent of CFOs said that their organization will not be hiring in the next six months, even for open roles.

The business sectors in the San Francisco Bay Area that are particularly active with their hiring right now include:

  • Technology
  • Software
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Financial services

With regard to accounting and finance, all companies — from startups to global businesses — need outstanding teams to grow and prosper. According to the California Employment Development Department, accountants and auditors will be one of the top 20 occupations with the most job openings in Silicon Valley through 2020.  (Source:$occmost.xls) Additionally, jobs in Silicon Valley’s financial activities industry are expected to grow by 16 percent through 2020.  (Source:$indproj.xls)

But even the best-laid hiring plans don’t come without challenges. In California, and particularly in Silicon Valley, you frequently hear how tough it is to find technology talent. What doesn’t get as much attention, but should, is the difficulty many employers have in finding skilled and experienced accounting and finance professionals to help support their business. Sixty-four percent of CFOs we surveyed said it is either somewhat or very challenging to find skilled, professional-level job candidates today.

Here are a few tips to help you acquire hard-to-find accounting and finance professionals:

  • Job boards
    • Advertising on job boards may be the best way for a company to reach a large number of candidates quickly since a majority of job seekers start their search online.
    • Also know that job boards do not attract passive candidates, those currently employed but open to new opportunities. They’re not actively on the job hunt. Passive job seekers can be some of the most skilled and experienced professionals within the local market.
  • Company Website
    • Your website is a great place to communicate your unique corporate culture and the most appealing aspects of working for your firm.
    • It’s important your website is not outdated, difficult to navigate or lacking relevant information. Otherwise, you reduce your chances of attracting top-notch candidates.
  • Social media and online networking
    • You can reach a wide audience by listing your job openings on social networks, particularly because information can be shared from user to user.
    • You also may be able to communicate a vacancy to a highly targeted group of professionals using filters available through sites like LinkedIn.
  • Recruiters
    • Recruiters can be an invaluable part of your search process. Yes, they cost money, but if you know how to maximize their services, they more than pay for themselves.
    • Recruiters often have access to a large database of skilled candidates, including those in-demand passive job seekers just mentioned.
    • Recruiters also handle the cumbersome administrative details of recruiting such as placing ads, evaluating skills and conducting preliminary interviews.
    • In addition, recruiters can be a valuable source of staffing advice. For example, a recruiter can help you determine whether you need a full-time or temporary worker and how many individuals to bring on board.

The fact that accounting and finance professionals are serving as strategic business partners to managers throughout today’s organizations means hiring managers need often hard-to-find specialized talent. As a hiring manager, you’ll need to be creative and resourceful to attract and retain top performers for your business.