Finance executives around the world are becoming increasingly worried about recruiting and retaining skilled accounting and finance employees, according to a new survey.

The global survey, by staffing company Robert Half International, found that 67 percent of the respondents said it is either very or somewhat challenging today to find skilled accounting and finance professionals for certain jobs. The survey respondents also indicated they are more worried about holding onto their top performers than they were a year ago. Fifty-six percent of the more than 6,000 financial leaders surveyed in 19 countries said they are at least somewhat concerned about retaining their staff in the coming year, up from 45 percent in 2010.

Sixty-seven percent of the financial leaders surveyed reported at least some level of recruiting difficulty. Approximately 19 percent of the respondents said it is very challenging to find skilled accounting and finance professionals today.

Retention worries are growing around the world. Globally, 56 percent of the executives surveyed said they are either very or somewhat concerned about losing their top performers to other job opportunities in the year ahead. That represents an 11-point jump from the 2010 survey.

"Many firms are concerned about their ability to build and retain the accounting and finance teams they need to support the demands of the business," said Robert Half International chairman and CEO Max Messmer in a statement. "Finding skilled professionals has become increasingly challenging, and candidate shortages are emerging in some regions and specialty areas."

In the U.S., 43 percent of the executives polled this year cited worries about keeping their best people, up from 28 percent in 2010. Eighty-nine percent of the survey respondents indicated they are at least somewhat confident about their organization's growth prospects for the coming year. Respondents from Brazil are the most optimistic: with 97 percent of executives in Brazil citing confidence in their companies' prospects.

The majority of financial leaders surveyed in various countries noted recruiting difficulties. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that it is either very or somewhat challenging to find skilled professionals today. In Brazil and Singapore, 97 percent of the respondents reported hiring challenges. Ninety-five percent of the executives polled in Italy and 93 percent in Hong Kong agreed.

The most severe shortage for a specific functional area was cited in Italy, where 45 percent of the respondents cited difficulties filling finance jobs such as controller and financial analyst. In the Czech Republic, 42 percent of the executives polled said that accounting roles, such as tax accountant and cost accountant, are the most challenging to staff. Globally, the areas identified as the hardest to recruit for are finance, accounting and operational support positions, such as in accounts payable and payroll.

The number of executives worried about keeping key employees is up 16 points in Singapore; 91 percent of the respondents there said they see retention as an issue. In Hong Kong and Brazil, 88 percent and 85 percent of financial leaders, respectively, noted retention concerns.

For more information on the study, view the research highlights, along with data tables showing the results country by country.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access