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Financial Hiring Forecast for 2017

Firms that hire finance professionals may find that economic and legislative uncertainty are complicating their efforts to strategize and staff effectively for 2017, according to a recent report from Deloitte.

While accounting and finance should anticipate another growth year with traditional hiring challenges, the field of governance, risk and compliance (GRC) in particular is in flux. Although it remains to be seen how the new administration will proceed, it’s nearly certain regulatory reform will be on the table — including the repeal of Dodd-Frank and its replacement with pro-growth policies.

What’s ahead for accounting, finance and GRC careers in 2017?

Millennials as Key Hiring Prospect

Because they’re the largest generation in the workforce and prime candidates for entry-level hires, many accounting and finance employers are looking for ways to attract and retain millennials in the new year. This has spurred an effort across industries to align more with the expertise, expectations and values of Gen Y professionals.

Companies looking to hire millennials in the accounting and finance industry have a lot of benefits to offer. The field continues to pay higher than other professions requiring just a bachelor’s degree, and hiring is predicted to outpace other fields in the next decade. Forward-thinking companies are connecting with accounting majors before they graduate, offering internships that create a reliable pipeline to full-time employment as soon as they graduate – a key perk for a demographic keenly worried about getting established and paying off college debt. Changes some companies are already making – more technology in the workplace, improved benefits, office perks and more flexibility when it comes to hours and collaboration – appeal to millennials in particular.

And although millennials are often portrayed as being drawn to entrepreneurship and averse to traditional employment, a report by EY found that 44 percent of them said they think the best way to advance in their career is to stay with one company versus 22 percent who said starting your own company was the best plan. For industries from manufacturing to health care that require specialized financial services professionals, these 9-5 positions should continue to be attractive to this increasingly dominant demographic.

Heads in the Cloud

Cloud technology is having a major impact on many professions and finance is no exception. According to RightScale, 93 percent of U.S. businesses leverage cloud technology. In addition, 83 percent of businesses had a hybrid cloud strategy in 2015, up from 74 percent in 2014.

As businesses increasingly shift to cloud-driven accounting software to reduce error, make work more efficient and allow for easier collaboration, they will expect their accountants and bookkeepers to do the same. Look for employers to reallocate the time saved in having their employees become more focused on data-driven solutions and consultative efforts.

GRC: Not Going Away

Nearly a decade after the recession, the post-crisis regulatory repair agenda is facing the largest uncertainty so far. However, firms have already invested considerable money and effort in regulatory-related activities, such as enhancements to risk management and compliance frameworks. These investments can be expected to buoy GRC and deliver long-term business benefits regardless of the specific regulations that are enacted. GRC positions including accountants, financial analysts and investigators, especially those who have experience in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC), should continue to be sought-after skillsets.

Hiring Outlook Overall

Change is nearly guaranteed for much of the financial sector, and that almost certainly will lead to more employment in 2017. And although accounting and finance employers will likely continue with strategic  hiring for core operations, uncertainty in the future may lead to an uptick in hiring temporary employees. Employers will more cautiously add full time employees to their workforce as they strive to remain nimble in preparation for a variety of potential changes.
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