2011 Finance Employment Outlook

2011 Finance Employment Outlook

Finance, accounting and financial services professionals should find 2011 a bit kinder than 2010, with finance hiring trends looking more positive than last year, industry experts say. Those who’ve survived the economic storm will be out picking around the economic rubble, and looking to move up or just out of their current finance positions.

“There are going to be opportunities for experienced financial professionals as people start to move from one position to another,” predicts Mark Koziel, New York City-based director of firm practice management at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Among the specialists most in demand: treasury, trading, internal auditors, forensic accountants, financial analysts, compliance specialists, mortgage loan servicers and investment managers.

Positive Signs Hiring Will Improve

Bill Driscoll, New England district president of specialized staffing firm Robert Half International, sees three positive signs in the finance hiring arena:
  • A rebound in full-time hiring, which has come back stronger during this recovery than in past recoveries.
  • A steady, sequential growth in temporary hiring, which has been a leading indicator of past recoveries.
  • Rising conversion rates of temporary workers to full-time, permanent finance employment.
Government Regulation Creates Financial Services Jobs

New government regulations will boost demand for compliance analysts and tax accountants in 2011, says Brendan Courtney, president of recruiting and staffing agency The Mergis Group, a division of SFN Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Given everything from Securities and Exchange Commission rule changes to new consumer-protection agencies, companies know there are going to be regulatory and compliance issues coming and they’re trying to get ahead of the curve,” he says.

Another high-demand position: internal auditor. “It’s the least glamorous of all the accounting and finance positions because it’s considered to be a necessary evil,” he says.

What’s more, with fewer undergraduates going into accounting, there’s a gap between the demand for entry-level internal audit accountants and the number of graduates ready to step into those jobs.

The job outlook for entry-level accountants should brighten all around in 2011. Accounting firms, which had reduced their hiring of recent graduates during the recession, should go back to the higher, prerecession hiring levels in the fall, Koziel says.

Mortgage Industry: Decent Hiring

If you believe interest rates will remain low, you can expect mortgage lenders to start filling financial services jobs in 2011, says Sam Garcia, publisher of

Mortgage servicers will continue to hire to keep up with foreclosure volume, but as delinquencies subside, so will the jobs, he says.

On the origination side, the best targets for finance hiring are large-volume companies such as GMAC, MetLife Bank, JPMorgan Chase and the nonprofit Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, which focuses on refinancing troubled borrowers, Garcia says.

Financial Services Hiring to Pick Up in First Quarter

January through March is usually the best time of year to look for a financial services job, and 2011 will be no exception, says Jonathan Mazzocchi, partner and general manager, accounting and finance division, for Winter, Wyman & Co. in New York City.

“Budgets are done and companies are ready to hire,” he says. “People are getting paid bonuses and getting promotions, or not getting them and jumping ship. It creates more hiring volatility, particularly for middle- and senior-management positions.”

Mazzocchi expects demand to rise in 2011 for compliance professionals at hedge funds and private-equity firms, as larger investment companies spend money to hire and train enough public accountants to get ahead of the compliance curve.

Consider your next move before you accept a compliance role, or you’ll end up pigeonholed, Mazzocchi says. “The wise person follows the trend, and develops some of the skill set, but takes a hybrid position that allows them to do other things, so they’re ready to move on with the next trend,” he says.

Financial Analysts in Demand at All Levels

If the economy picks up in 2011, companies will need financial analysts to do planning, projections and other tasks that today’s bare-bones staff won’t have time to do. “They’re at the breaking point,” Mazzocchi says. “The recession has been going on long enough, and CFOs have to increase staff.”

If you’ve been unemployed for a while and want to take advantage of this finance employment trend, broaden your search geographically and be open to taking a financial services job with a different scope or level of responsibility, Courtney says.

Learn more about finance careers.

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