Executives project hiring increases in first half of 2011

16 February 2011

London, 16 February 2015 – For the finance industry, permanent hiring is on the increase in the UK, with thirty-three per cent of CFOs interviewed for the Robert Half 'Professional Hiring Index' saying they plan to increase the number of permanent employees in finance and accounting in the first half of 2011. Only 12 per cent of respondents anticipated declines here, meaning the resulting net 21 per cent increase in expected permanent hiring activity is up 29 points over forecast for the latter half of 2010.  

When asked their reasons for adding additional permanent staff, over half (53 per cent) of executives cited business growth or expansion, followed by almost one in four (38 per cent) who chose rising workloads. Remuneration prospects are also trending upward; nearly three in 10 (29 per cent) CFOs plan to increase base salaries and 21 per cent plan to increase bonuses in the next six months.

“These results indicate that permanent hiring in the financial industry is increasingly buoyant, with executives feeling more confident about the UK economy and needing more staff to tackle rising workloads from clients, a real sign of improvement” said Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half UK. “Although some hiring is the result of attrition, the survey points to UK finance leaders looking to additional employees to leverage emerging business opportunities, favourably positioning their companies for the upswing.”

Other Key Findings:

  • In London, a net 38 per cent of executives plan to add personnel
  • More than one in three finance leaders express increased confidence in the economic prospects facing their company. This is 30 points higher than the forecast six months ago, and this rises to more than half of London CFOs and nearly two-thirds of financial services’ executives
  • Forty-four per cent of CFOs are confident about the economic prospects facing the UK. This is 30 points higher than the forecast six months ago
  • One in four executives expect their company’s revenues to grow in the first half of the year

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is focused exclusively on finance and accounting hiring across commerce and industry and the financial services sectors. The results are based on interviews with more than 280 CFOs from across the United Kingdom to determine their hiring plans for the first half of the year. The results are segmented by location, size and business type and offer perspective on executive’s future hiring plans and business confidence.

Hiring Trends – By Region
Executives in London and Southern England are most optimistic about hiring, with a net 38 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively, planning to add permanent staff in the first half of 2011. This is up 33 and 31 points, respectively, over the last half year’s results and 17 and 11 points above the current national average.

Hiring Trends – By Sector
Executives from publicly listed companies expect the most active hiring of accounting and finance staff, with a net 63 per cent planning to increase permanent head count and another 35 per cent forecasting increased use of temporary professionals. The public sector, in contrast, is expecting negative hiring trends with a net 13 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, planning to decrease their permanent and temporary employee levels.

Hiring Trends – By Industry
Hiring projections for the financial services sector are especially optimistic, with 44 per cent of CFOs planning to add permanent accounting and finance staff and 56 per cent maintaining existing levels. No one anticipates declines. Junior positions (1–5 years of experience) are most in demand, with nearly two in three (64 per cent) CFOs looking to recruit, followed by middle management at 55 per cent.

The hiring outlook for accounting professionals within commerce and industry also showed strong improvement, with 33 per cent of respondents planning on hiring additional permanent employees and 13 per cent anticipating declines. Nearly half (48 per cent) of those adding staff plan to hire middle management roles, followed closely by junior positions at 47 per cent.
Sheridan adds, “Such optimism within the financial services sector is an excellent sign for the greater UK economy. With many companies relying on the stability of the banking and capital market sector, increased hiring may provide ripple effects within the first half of the year.”

ENDS

About Robert Half

Robert Half pioneered specialised recruitment services and today is the world's leader in the field. Founded in 1948, the company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: RHI) and operates five separate divisions in the UK, each serving distinct markets. They include: Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, permanent and project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam, for administrative support, Robert Half Financial Services Group, for finance and banking professionals and Robert Half Technology, for IT professionals. There are more than 350 Robert Half locations in North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. For more information about Robert Half please visit: www.roberthalf.co.uk

For the full Professional Hiring Index, including press-ready graphs and the full report, please visit www.roberthalf.co.uk/press-room.

Document 1: Professional Hiring Index Report 2011
Document 2: Full Professional Hiring Index Release