New survey shows UK CFOs struggle to retain key staff

CFO's struggle to retain staff according to a survey of 200 CFOs and finance directors by Robert Half.

London, 29 August, 2012 - Despite market uncertainty, retaining staff remains a key concern for CFOs and finance directors, according to new research by recruitment specialist, Robert Half.

In a survey of 200 CFOs and finance directors (FDs) across the UK, two thirds (66%) said they were very or somewhat concerned about losing top performers to other job opportunities in the next year.

Publicly listed companies are the most concerned about staff resignations (73%), which is closely followed by 64% in the private sector, with the public sector least concerned at 60%. Large company executives are also worried, with 74% indicating so, compared to medium (64%) and small (63%) companies.

However, it is not only top performers that companies should be concerned about losing: more than one in three finance leaders (36%) believe that between 9% and 20% of their new finance and accounting employees leave the company within the first year. This is in contrast with the expectation that new employees will stay with their firm for an average of 4 years.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said “Companies looking to retain top performers need to focus on areas that are most important to employees, such as work-life balance, career progression and training.  Before your competitors have a chance to lure those workers away, you should look to “re-recruit” them.  This means “selling” the company to highlight why it’s unique to its competitors.   

“It is also surprising to see such a high percentage (32%) of new employees that leave due to their inability to meet their employer’s expectations, showing that a lot more needs to be done during the initial hiring process. This is compared to only one in 10 (9%) who feel that employees leave for higher remuneration prospects, suggesting that workplace fit is the determining factor.”
200 UK CFOs/FDs were asked: in your opinion, what is the primary reason new employees leave the company within the first year?


Inability to meet expectations


Role did not meet expectations


Poor fit with corporate culture


Inability to integrate with team members


Higher remuneration


Ineffective induction/onboarding process


Restructuring / redundancies


Ineffective staff management





When asked why new staff leave the company soon after being hired, the large majority felt that poor fit was a primary factor, whether an inability to meet expectations (32%), the role not meeting the employee’s expectations (19%), a poor fit with corporate culture (18%) and the inability to integrate with the team (10%).


About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and