The finance and accounting job market is still recovering. That’s according to 56 percent of respondents from a Kforce Finance & Accounting survey designed to gauge the employment outlook for 2013. More than 33 percent indicated that the job market is favorable, while just 11 percent felt it was unfavorable.
While enthusiasm among survey respondents was tempered, industry analysts are far more optimistic about career opportunities for finance and accounting professionals in the coming year, with predictions calling for a year-over-year employment increase of approximately 7 percent in 2013.
Some of that growth will be among new graduates. According to the 2013 job outlook survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers expect to hire 13 percent more college graduates from the class of 2013 than they did from the class of 2012. Finance was among the industries expected to experience the most robust new-graduate hiring activity.
“While employers are seeking graduates from a broad range of disciplines, this fall they expressed particular interest in hiring new graduates with business, computer science and engineering-related degrees and are looking to college campuses to supply their hiring needs,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, in a press release announcing results of the annual employment survey.
While the outlook for 2013 graduates is brighter than it was for their 2012 counterparts, it promises to be even better for professionals already in the workforce. In particular, demand is expected to be high for a number of specific skills sets that companies need to address the increasingly complex regulatory and tax environments.
Compliance with Dodd-Frank and other financial reform regulations is driving increased demand for internal auditors and CPAs as organizations ramp up preparations for assurance and performance audits. Sarbanes-Oxley also continues contributing to higher demand for audit professionals.
Byzantine tax laws are also driving demand, in particular for internal and external auditors and professionals with the experience necessary to prepare and review complex tax returns. Also in demand will be those who can guide corporations through the complex maze of tax laws to mitigate their impact on profitability.
As the economy continues its slow march toward recovery, companies are also expected to begin filling long-vacant financial planning and analysis (FP&A) positions. Degreed finance professionals with MBAs in particular are expected to benefit from corporations’ return to long-term financial planning and analysis.
As for Kforce survey respondents, while their enthusiasm levels did not match those of industry experts, their responses nonetheless echoed many of the forecasts. For example, 25 percent of respondents indicated that their finance and accounting departments are not fully staffed as we head into 2013. That was a particular concern, as 100 percent of respondents indicated that finding talent with the right skill sets to fill talent gaps was their greatest hiring concern.
Interestingly, even though experts predict more career opportunities for those already in the workforce, survey responses did not indicate plans for a mass exodus to greener pastures. While respondents were evenly split regarding advancement opportunities with their current employers, 64 percent said they were not considering a career change in 2013. One reason for that may be job satisfaction, evidenced in part by the 80 percent who indicated that compensation aligned with their responsibilities.
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