Professional hiring index predicts finance and accounting jobs will drive South West and Wales labour market expansion

The Professional Hiring Index for the second half of 2015 looks at hiring trends and skills shortages that are expected to impact businesses across the UK

  • More than half (58%) of chief finance officers (CFOs) predict an increase in new finance and accounting roles in H2 2015
  • Vast majority (95%) say that it is either very or somewhat challenging to find skilled finance and accounting services professionals
  • Nearly half (43%) predict increase in finance and accounting roles driven by new projects/initiatives

Bristol, 30, June  2015 – Senior finance executives in businesses operating in the South West and Wales plan to increase staff levels significantly over the next six months, according to the latest Professional Hiring Index1 (‘the index’) from Robert Half UK.  More than half (58%) of senior finance executives across the region predict that they will create new jobs in the second half of 2015, 8% higher than the national average (50%).  

The continued rise in the UK hiring forecast indicates that post-recession confidence has now stabilised and steady growth is on the agenda.  As a result of this growth, there is stronger competition for accounting and finance professionals and the vast majority of CFOs in the region (95%) say that it is challenging to find skilled finance professionals today. The main reasons for the skills shortage according to CFOs are a lack of niche, technical experts (cited by 43%), general demand outweighs supply (35%) and lack of commercial skills (15%).

CFOs in the South West and Wales were asked, ‘In which top three functional areas within accounting and finance is it most difficult to find skilled job candidates?’

1. Accounting 30%
2. Business/financial analysis 28%
3. Financial management & control 18%
=3. Accounts payable / receivable 18%
=3. Assistant accounting 18%

Source: Robert Half, 2015

The majority (90%) of finance leaders in the region are optimistic about economic growth for the forthcoming year and this is reflected in predictions for their own company’s growth prospects (88%). The growth agenda is increasing headcount for the following three reasons: 61% cited product or service expansion, while 43% said they would hire to provide resources for new projects and initiatives and 30% pointed to domestic business growth or expansion.  New market penetration was also cited by 30% of CFOs.

Higher confidence among employers in the South West and Wales area is a top driver behind the stronger employment market, according to 40% of CFOs, while higher confidence amongst workers (also 40%) and the economic climate (30%) are also helping to build momentum.  

Matt Weston, Director, South West, Robert Half said: “As we head into the second half of 2015, it is clear that businesses in the South West and Wales are positioning themselves for growth. Senior financial executives are optimistic and there is a growing demand for skilled finance and accounting professionals to support growth plans. However, this ever-growing demand is continuing to outweigh supply and we are anticipating the current skills shortage in the region to rise. Businesses looking to hire specialised accounting and finance professionals for both interim and permanent positions need to act with haste or risk losing top talent to their competitors.”


Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with chief financial officers and finance directors from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

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