Hiring Outlook – More Companies Have Accounting Job Vacancies

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A large number of US companies have reported an increased number of open accounting, finance, and IT positions – especially in corporate accounting and IT administration – heading into the new year, according to a new hiring forecast from Chicago-based staffing firm Brilliant.

Brilliant, in conjunction with Richard Curtin, PhD, professor and director of surveys at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, received nearly 300 survey responses from human resources professionals and hiring managers for its Brilliant Q1 2015 Accounting, Finance, and IT Hiring Forecast, which was released on Dec. 23, 2014.

“Plans continue to heed a healthy work climate for accounting/finance and IT professionals. The economic downturn of 2007 – and unemployment highs – seem a distant memory,” Brilliant CEO James Wong said in the report.

According to the new forecast, 30 percent of companies reported vacant accounting and finance positions, up from 28 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, while 37 percent have unfilled IT positions, up from 33 percent last quarter. Twenty-two percent of companies reported one to three accounting and finance openings, while 2 percent had four to six vacancies, 1 percent had seven to 10 unfilled positions, and 5 percent reported more than 10 accounting and finance vacancies.

Twenty percent of study participants noted their open positions were mainly in corporate accounting roles, such as financial analysts, staff accountants, and internal auditors. For unfilled IT positions, the top two available are for database administration (13 percent) and network administration (13 percent).

“While the majority of companies expected their hiring plans to remain unchanged in the coming year, most planned a constant (high) number of new hires,” Dr. Curtin said in a written statement. “Given companies in recent years needed to replenish their staffs from the downsizing that occurred during the Great Recession, the fact that hiring has remained unchanged at that same higher rate is good news.”

In the year ahead, net increases in the hiring of accounting, finance, and IT professionals can be expected, although at a much reduced pace from the last quarter, according to the report. Increased hiring was planned by 17 percent for accounting and finance professionals, down from 28 percent of companies that planned to increase their accounting and finance teams in the fourth quarter of 2014. However, just 5 percent planned reduced hiring of accounting and finance professionals.

The same cutbacks in new hires were reported for IT staff: 16 percent of companies planned to increase their hiring of IT professionals, down from 34 percent last quarter.

Brilliant noted that the data only indicate a decline in the hiring rate, as two-thirds of all companies kept their hiring plans unchanged. “Unchanged hiring plans does not necessarily mean there will be no additional hires, only that the number of additional hires is expected to remain unchanged,” the report stated. “The data does indicate that many human resources professionals and hiring managers correctly predicted their needs for new staff and hired accordingly.”

Fifteen percent of study participants said their companies were planning to increase the number of temporary or contract accounting and finance professionals in the coming year, while 18 percent planned to hire more temporary and contract employees for IT.

“This signifies that many companies have the confidence and budgets to invest in projects,” Wong said. “Overall, the data provides solid evidence that companies are expecting growth in the number of new hires during the year ahead.”

Surprisingly, the use of social media as a recruitment tool decreased slightly from the previous quarter, according to the report. Social media was used by 53 percent of respondents to recruit accounting and finance professionals, down from 60 percent. For IT positions, social media was used by 48 percent of respondents, down from 54 percent. LinkedIn dominated all other platforms, with 46 percent using the online business network to connect with accounting and finance professionals; 41 percent for IT

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