Unfilled accounting positions remain high, report finds

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A substantial amount of accounting and finance positions remain unfilled, despite low overall unemployment numbers across the country, according to new research.

The Q2 2019 Accounting, Finance and IT Hiring Forecast from staffing and management resources firm Brilliant analyzes the hiring trends among accounting, finance, and IT human resources managers in the Greater Chicago and South Florida labor markets. Of the nearly 300 human resources professionals and managers polled from Jan. 22, 2019, to Feb. 25, 2019, 41 percent reported unfilled accounting and finance positions — lower than the 51 percent reported by Brilliant in Q1 2019, but still notable given the high demand of candidates in the accounting field.

“While this number is slightly lower than the last two quarters, it’s well above any quarters prior to that,” stated Sagar Pandya, practice director for Brilliant Financial Search, in the report. “While a slowdown is inevitable given how long the economy has been in recovery, these decreases could simply be a result of low survey responses. We intend to continue to track our findings.”

In response, 29 percent of human resources professionals say they plan to increase accounting and finance hiring over the next 12 months. Twenty-nine percent of businesses with unfilled accounting and finance jobs reported three or fewer open positions within their companies, with most reporting that these openings occurred within the past three months.

Poll respondents also reported that most unfilled accounting positions were in the corporate accounting field, with a particular need for "financial analysts, tax and general accountants, and internal auditors."

“We remain optimistic that elevated numbers of open positions and plans to increase hiring of both permanent and contract professionals indicate continued growth for at least the near term,” said Brilliant president Kathy Spearing in a statement.

Other notable findings from the report include:

  • Twenty-nine percent of human resources professionals plan to increase their hiring in accounting and finance over the next 12 months, while 55 percent say their hiring numbers will go unchanged. Seven percent say their hiring will decrease.
  • Of the 41 percent of survey respondents reporting unfilled accounting and finance positions, 27 percent wish to fill their jobs "ASAP," with 9 percent waiting for Q2 2019 or later.
  • Forty-four percent of respondents say they currently employ temporary accounting and finance professionals — the "second highest percentage reported in at least the past year," according to the report.
  • Only 10 percent of respondents plan to hire more temporary accounting and finance professionals over the next year.
  • The most popular reasons for passing on accounting and finance candidates are expertise (41 percent), cultural fit (30 percent) and problem-solving (12 percent).
  • HR professionals cite recruitment firms and online job boards as the top sources for finding talent.

For the full report, head to Brilliant's site here.

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