Two surveys of job confidence among accounting and finance workers offered conflicting views.

Recruiting company Spherion's Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index showed an increase of 3.5 points to 67.5 in the third quarter. Despite worries about the economy, 60 percent of workers are not likely to look for a new job, up four percentage points from the previous quarter. More workers are confident in their ability to find a new job, up two percentage points to 61 percent from the previous quarter.

"In accounting and finance, the demand for job [candidates] that are degreed and skilled still outpaces the supply," said Glenn Dubiel, vice president of professional services at Spherion. "We still see a tremendous demand in one- to eight-year degree levels."

In contrast, a survey from another recruiting firm, Hudson, showed that the group it polled was much more concerned about their jobs. Confidence among accounting and finance workers fell in that survey for the third consecutive month, sliding 2.9 points to 109.0 in October. An increase in layoff expectations, coupled with greater concern over job losses, drove the decline. The latest reading for this group, however, is 1.8 points higher than the 107.2 reported in October 2006. 

The Hudson Employment Index for accounting and finance workers showed a six-point jump to 21 percent in the number of workers who expected their company to cut staff in the coming months, the greatest number of workers who have anticipated layoffs since June 2006. Expected hiring slipped two points to 29 percent in October. Consequently, more workers were worried about losing their jobs in October (17 percent) than in September (11 percent). Yet, more workers were happy with their jobs, with 76 percent making this statement in October compared to 74 percent in September.

"You have to look at the questions that are asked," explained Hudson spokesperson Sarah Kafenstok. "We ask them to rate their finances, look at their organizations, if their company is hiring or laying off workers. We ask workers if they are concerned about their own jobs and talk about overall job satisfaction." Hudson talks to about 1,000 accounting and finance workers each month, while Spherion polls 8,993 adults.

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