2023 Q4 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

Despite economic frustrations like inflation and hiring reticence from some sectors, the job market remained steady in Q3 and is forecasted to continue through the rest of 2023.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 336,000 jobs were added in September — nearly doubling what economists predicted, according to The New York Times. In fact, last month’s numbers showed the most job growth this year since January. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%.

Q4 2023 accounting and finance employment report

LinkedIn’s Senior Economist, Kory Kantenga, notes that one of consumers’ most pressing concern — inflation — is on a bumpy, downward path, helping to raise the overall economic outlook as we move into the New Year.

Still, it’s a balancing act for employers and job seekers in Q4, as both have different motivators influencing their hiring and employment decisions. We share both outlooks in our Q4 accounting and finance employment forecast.

For Employers

Staffing as a whole has declined in 2023, specifically in the areas of human relations, accounting and finance. But, according to Kantenga, he believes the most pain in this area should be behind us and an uptick in temporary workers being added to payrolls is expected.

What does that mean for companies? The battle for top talent remains in full effect. One impactful tool: salary transparency. Providing this information in a job advertisement is more likely to entice top performers to engage with the role, as pay remains a key motivator for job seekers in today’s climate. Employees want to feel empowered by their career decisions, so starting the working relationship on open, even footing sets the tone for the future company dynamics.

The battle for top talent remains in full effect. One impactful tool: salary transparency.

Another successful tactic is rethinking the type of candidates company’s are considering when evaluating potential employees. Many hiring managers are turning to a skills-based hiring approach to combat a limited talent pool and establish a more equitable workforce, but in a recent ZipRecruiter survey, there are still three important areas that are lacking: time management, critical thinking and professionalism. Review this interview guide to help get the right person in the seat.

For Job Seekers

Even with some economic uncertainty from both employers and job seekers, most recruiters consider the labor market to still be candidate-driven. In a recent survey of tech agency recruiters, 31.2% of recruiters expressed optimism for the job market in Q4, with 64.7% believing candidates still have the upper hand.

Job seekers should continue to evaluate career opportunities based on what matters most. Successful companies are including salary ranges in their job postings, as well as showcasing hybrid work arrangements to cater to employees’ desire for financial security and flexibility. Leverage interviews to discern if a company — not merely the role — is an ideal fit. Or, simplify the job search process in its entirety with the assistance of a recruiter to maximize your results for a faster, more successful job match.

2023 Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

As we embark on the last half of 2023, the labor market in Q1 and Q2 exhibited surprising resilience — despite rate hikes and other measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve to help fight inflation. In fact, the Wall Street Journal says, “lay-offs are still at a historically low level,” and there continue to be more job openings than available candidates.

And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies added 209,000 jobs to their payrolls in June, with the unemployment rate increasing slightly to 3.6% with gains in government, health care, social assistance and construction industries.

2023 Q3 employment report for accounting and finance professionals
Signs of a slow-down are making themselves known, however, with more white-collared professionals seeking the assistance of recruiting firms to aid in their next career move as employers become less urgent about growing their teams. We breakdown what both accounting and finance professionals and companies can expect for Q3 in our forecast.

For Employers

While employers are becoming increasingly selective in their hiring efforts, businesses need to adjust their leisurely pace when it comes to engaging with accounting and finance professionals. Why? Well, frankly, because there’s been a significant workplace exodus of skilled workers in these functions — with a drop of 17% in the past two years.

From the boomer generation starting to leave the workforce to job seekers transitioning to more alluring career paths in finance and technology, the talent gap has led to employers offering salary increases to win over talent or utilizing temporary consultants to manage workloads. Both are tactics in line with current hiring trends as we head into the second half of the year.

Our latest Salary Guide’s No.1 theme for 2023: money matters. And, according to Salary Budget Planning Survey by WTW, this could continue into next year.

“While we are seeing lower salary increases forecasted for next year, they’re still well above the ones we’ve seen for the past 10 years. This shows that companies are striving to stay competitive in an everchanging work climate,” says Hatti Johansson, a research director at WTW. “Those companies that have a clear compensation strategy as well as a pulse on the factors affecting it will be more successful attracting and retaining employees while keeping pace with an evolving environment in which yesterday’s certainties no longer apply.”

Our 2023 compensation report has current salary data for more than 40 accounting and finance roles to help employers ensure they are offering their prospective and current employees competitive salaries that are at or above market rate in their region.

Other key motivators of today’s workforce are engaging company cultures, as well as organizations that emphasize employee development and encourage feedback outside of annual reviews. One great way to make this part of your business’ operation? Regularly scheduled stay interviews to help establish an open line of communication.

For Job Seekers

The candidate shortage offers an exciting environment for seasoned accounting professionals. For one, experienced talent in this sector are particularly desirable in the current hiring landscape — paving the way for career opportunities that provide the growth, pay and benefits that are most important to them.

Secondly, this is an ideal time to explore additional job duties through temporary or contract work. Is there a software or industry that you’re looking to explore, but don’t have the chops for a direct hire role? Consulting provides the flexibility to tackle assignments on a temporary basis, allowing accounting and finance professionals to grow their experience and networks at various companies with competitive compensation. Many employers are more open to temporary hiring solutions as they navigate the changing market environment.

Partnering with staffing and recruiting experts can help in this quest — identifying job opportunities not currently on job boards and advocating for top-notch benefits and pay on your behalf. Contact our team today to get started!

2023 Q2 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

Employers increased their payrolls by 236,000 jobs in March—including gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, government and health care industries. And the national unemployment rate dipped slightly from February’s 3.6% back down to 3.5%.
Q2 2023 accounting and finance employment
Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This growth remains healthy by traditional standards but lay-off announcements and rising interest rates have begun to decelerate employers’ hiring efforts. Still, the labor shortage for accounting and finance professionals has created a different experience for this community of workers—as well as the companies who hire them.

We break down our forecast of what employers and job seekers can expect in Q2.

For Employers

More than 300,000 accountants and auditors have left their profession in the past two years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cause? Well, a few things. Generational shifts in the workplace is one factor, with many baby-boomer professionals heading toward retirement. But probably most concerning for employers is the significant drop of recent graduates entering the field and a large group of professionals of all ages exiting since 2019. In fact, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountant’s reports a near 9% decrease in accounting majors for quite some time now — seeing the drop as early as 2012. Other more enticing fields, like finance and technology, are providing more of a draw to these workers recently.

In response, companies have raised accounting and finance role salaries to help attract more talent to filling open positions. An article in The Wall Street Journal says the starting salaries for entry-level U.S. accountants and auditors rose 13% to nearly $61,000 a year in 2022. Employers hesitant to make serious hiring decisions in this market are now turning to temporary or temp-to-hire solutions to address the lack of talent, while still getting the accounting and finance departments’ workload addressed.

Starting salaries for entry-level U.S. accountants and auditors rose 13% to nearly $61,000 a year in 2022.

Partnering with staffing and recruiting firms that have viable, up-to-date talent networks who have the experience to hit the ground running is an essential resource in 2023. These hiring experts have an intimate understanding of the latest hiring trends that are currently swaying candidates’ decisions and can offer insights on how to win talent over. Another tactic that’s proven successful for employers is broadening qualifications for certain roles and hiring for potential rather than specific credentials or experience that can be learned on the job.

For Job Seekers

While the trajectory for accounting, tax, finance and audit professions may seem lackluster— the potential in these roles can be fulfilling and lead to long, exciting careers. Not only is it lucrative, especially with the current talent shortage, but this profession can provide the foundation for those more enticing opportunities in technology or finance down the road.

Now’s the time to explore what this field has to offer. Take on temporary or temp-to-hire positions to expand your knowledge, software experience and industry knowledge. Learn what type of benefits, culture and career development initiatives are most important to you and seek them out in prospective roles. To jump-start this process, check out our latest job opportunities in an area near you.

2023 Q1 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

In 2022, the U.S. added 4.5 million jobs — the second-most on record, according to the New York Times. And while job production maintained its slowing trend, employers increased their payrolls by 223,000 jobs in December, which included gains in construction, retail trade, manufacturing, financial activities and transportation industries. The national unemployment rate edged back down to 3.5% from November’s 3.7%.

2023 Q1 accounting and finance employment report
Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So, what does this mean for the quarter ahead?

ITR Economics‘ 2023 outlook remains cautiously optimistic and continues to expect GDP growth throughout the year. In fact, the likelihood of a mild recession on the horizon is tempered by what they foresee as a relatively tight labor market compared to prior recessions.

“There are roughly two job openings for every unemployed person in the U.S.,” ITR explains. “We are not likely to see that ratio reverse to a negative number during the next two years, which will keep upside pressure on wages and indicates consumers will have the ability to continue spending, even if the pace is not as robust as in the prior years.”

We detail more of what employers and job seekers can expect in Q1 for 2023:

For Employers

Demand for temporary workers in the U.S. is expected to increase by 1.1% this quarter, even as the need for consultants has been softening for the last few months, according to Palmer & Associates’ Palmer Forecast. Employers rely on temporary workers to complete key projects and assist with brimming workloads without having to commit to a long-term arrangement — and is clearly a hiring tactic that’s expected to continue in 2023.

Even more, the New York Times highlights that the low unemployment rate translates to another year of talent having the upper hand in the labor market, with half of the global C-Suite leaders surveyed in the Palmer Forecast expecting wages to remain on the rise.

Along with competitive offers and at-market compensation, hiring for key skills instead of credentials is a trend hiring managers are expected to lean into. Identifying specific soft talents can start as early as the interview process or as late as your most tenured employee. In fact, upskilling is a cost-effective way for companies to invest in their current staff to provide professional development opportunities while meeting their business goals.

Request top financial talent for your temporary or direct hire needs today.

For Job Seekers

Sure, while the tight job market illustrates two job openings for every available candidate, inflation and other economic concerns are leaving some employers cautious when it comes to growing their teams.

Stand out from your peers by prepping for the future interviews using our research guide — making sure you know how to adeptly quantify your value through past performance situations. Employers are also putting more emphasis on your digital footprint this year. Take inventory of your online presence and adjust accordingly.

Get a start on your job search by checking out our newest accounting and finance opportunities near you.

2022 Q4 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

The U.S. added 263,000 jobs in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — highlighting notable gains in professional and business services, as well as leisure and hospitality and health care sectors. The national unemployment rate also dipped slightly from August’s 3.6% to 3.5%.

In the past 12 months, hourly wages have increased by 5%. This trend is in line with employers using competitive pay as a tactic to win over skilled talent, especially as high interest rates and inflation continue to impact the everyday consumer. Coupled with the tight labor market and unclear forecasts of a looming a recession, companies are still trying to grow their teams while keeping their budgets in mind.

Credit: LinkedIn

But as LinkedIn notes, wage growth has begun to slow in the last two months — which may hint toward a brighter outlook for the economy in Q4 and 2023. We share what this means for employers and job seekers in the coming months.

For Employers

LinkedIn sees the recent data as a possible glimmer in the cloudy expectations of what’s to come, specifically the moderate salary growth and plummeting job openings. Down from two openings for every worker, that number has slid to 1.7.

“This is consistent with indicators like hires, quits, and job openings coming down — i.e., the labor market cooling from ‘extremely hot’ to just ‘very hot,'” the popular platform explains. The key takeaway: “The Federal Reserve might succeed in bringing U.S. inflation down without causing major damage to the U.S. labor market.” The economy could scrape by with a “soft landing” instead of a full blown recession.

For hiring managers, this “very hot” market still has skilled candidates driving the hiring landscape. In fact, the unemployment rate for degreed professionals is down to a low 1.8% — leaving experienced accounting and finance professionals in incredibly high demand. Offering candidates compensation at market rate is critical, as well as a flexible work arrangement. What was once not-so-important on the wish list for job seekers in 2020, is now within the top three most significant factors when evaluating a new career opportunity, according to a new Qualtrics report.

To learn more about candidate insights and what matters most to current professionals, check out our blog.

For Job Seekers

Hiring freezes and layoffs are at the forefront of recent news headlines as companies try to grapple with the economic uncertainty of 2023. But even as some business are making cuts, others are making plans to grow their teams. In a PwC survey of 700-plus executives, 83% said they are focusing their business strategy on growth — with only 30% viewing the possibility of a recession as a serious risk.

One indicator that points to a strong labor market: the staffing penetration rate. Employment in this area continued its upward trend in September with 27,000 staffing jobs added. And this need is only expected to increase in Q4.

So what does this mean for skilled accounting professionals and job seekers? Well, the market is yours — at least for now. Use this to your advantage. Identify opportunities that align with your most important criteria, including pay, work schedule, growth opportunity and more. Step into consultant roles to stretch your skill set or learn more about a company you’re interested in working for.

Partnering with staffing and recruiting firms can aid in this process, helping to connect professionals with top direct hire or temporary opportunities that would best meet their needs.

2022 Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

There’s been some mixed expectations for what to anticipate in Q3 and the rest of this year. High inflation readings coupled with the U.S.’ strong labor performance still have employers and candidates moving forward in their hiring and job search efforts, if not a little more cautiously.

In June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a total of 372,000 added jobs, with gains in the professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and health care sectors. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent for the fourth consecutive month — hovering just above the pre-pandemic low in February 2020. That stat for degreed professionals is even lower at a mere 2.1 percent.

accounting and finance employment report











Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Still, CFOs are less optimistic than they were at the start of the second quarter. In fact, the previous expectation of 2.5 percent GDP growth for the next 12 months shrunk to 1.5 percent by those surveyed in The CFO Survey, a joint project of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond and Atlanta. The CFO Board, however, sees the clear momentum in the national job market as a positive sign — but predict a mild recession on the horizon.

So what does this mean for Q3? Check out our forecast below:

For Employers

Here’s the lead: companies are hiring. In fact, CareerBuilder notes a healthy temporary staffing penetration rate of 2.07 percent in June — a key indicator of hiring trends several months ahead of non-staffing employment.

accounting and finance employment report








Credit: CareerBuilder

Employers are continuing to put their best offers forward by showcasing inclusive company cultures and competitive salaries to attract candidates in a tight market. They’re also utilizing consultants to fill accounting and finance roles, and plan on relying more on contract workers in the coming years. Just in Q3, G. Palmer & Associates predicts the demand for temporary workers to increase by 9.6 percent in the U.S.

One area businesses should consider as they compete for professionals is exploring why team members choose to resign from their organization. According to NewsBreak, the “Great Resignation” is leaving some candidates regretful of their decisions — opening the door for companies to rehire “boomerang” employees. A good way to re-engage that talent is to understand the basis behind their exit, so you can address it in negotiations and pave the way for successfully retaining all employees.

For Job Seekers

Potential signs of a slowing economy aren’t stopping employers from acquiring the best accounting and finance people for their teams. And while the summer may seem like an opportune time to take a vacation from your job search, think again.

Unemployment rates for workers with a college degree are far less than the national average, with nearly two jobs open for every available employee. That means skilled professionals with experience and in-demand industry backgrounds have their fair share of options available, and should consider what is most important to them in a new role. Most importantly — don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Salaries are gradually rising to meet the demands of today’s professionals, as well as reflect the current cost of living and inflation. Within the past 12 months, the average hourly earnings rose 5.1 percent, according to the BLS. Other employers are more open to creating roles that are hybrid or remote to meet the needs of those seeking more flexible work schedules.

Partner with staffing and recruiting specialists to find career opportunities that check all your boxes, as well as gain access to jobs that may not be currently showcased on traditional job boards.

2022 Q2 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The U.S. economy closed Q1 on a high note — adding a total of 431,000 jobs in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate also hit a post-pandemic low, coming in at a cool 3.6%.

The high amount of job openings, wage increases and significant decline in jobless claims all point to a sizzling labor market on the up and up, and a clear sign that COVID’s grip has loosened its hold in 2022.

“The economy has recovered more than 90 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic’s lockdowns in the spring of 2020,” notes The New York Times. “… A far swifter rebound than forecasters initially expected.”

2022 q2 employment report-Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So, what does this mean for accounting and finance professionals and the people who hire them? We break it down in our 2022 Q2 employment report:

For Employers

Let’s just say it’s not the easiest landscape for companies right now. Job seekers are continuing to flex their upper hand in this candidate-driven market, with many leaving current roles for new opportunities at an alarming rate. Employers must remain attuned to the needs of top talent — both internal and prospective team members — and focus on offering flexible schedules, work-life balance and competitive salaries and benefits to candidates.

Below are some additional elements successful businesses must consider:

  • Retention as a hiring strategy. Starting from the inside-out is a great way for employers to evaluate the overall state of their company and fine-tune the areas that are lacking from an employee perspective. Creating a process for regular stay interviews, development opportunities and an engaging company culture are all key to keeping your people happy — and, in effect, attracting new team members.
  • Leveraging temporary workers. Candidate scarcity is a huge hurdle companies have struggled to overcome in the last several months. Still, the work must get done. Instead of pouring all your business’ resources into courting permanent or direct hire professionals, allot some of your budget to employing skilled consultants. These candidates are talented, credentialed and have experience tackling projects or interim engagements on day one.

For Job Seekers

Trends for experienced finance and accounting professionals remain on track with expectations from the start of 2022. Candidates have raised their standards for ideal career opportunities — seeking roles that offer flexibility, competitive pay and align with their personal values or beliefs. And while job seekers wield more of the power in this current hiring environment, it’s important to keep your skills sharp to stand out from your colleagues. Remember: they’re going after those jobs, too.

  • Brush up on your interview skills. Whether if it’s remote or in-person, your ability to adeptly convey your experience, talent and personality during the interview process is important to landing the job. Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by optimizing your remote set-up, brushing up on key behavioral interview questions and more.
  • Achieve industry-specific certifications and degrees. Many upper-level accounting and finance positions prefer candidates to possess specific credentials, including CPA, CFA and CMA. Learn what type of credential makes the most sense for your career path.

Are you looking for a new job or have any hiring needs? Contact our team today.

2021 Q4 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

The U.S. economy may have lost some steam in September, but continues to steadily chug along with a total of 194,000 added jobs. This marks the ninth consecutive month of job growth as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment also fell to 4.8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail, transportation and warehousing industries. For college-degreed workers, the national unemployment rate declined to 2.5% in September.

2021 Q4 Accounting and Finance Employment Report












-Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

One trend worth noting: the rise of resignations. A recent report by Reuters shows that U.S. quit rates surged to an all-time high in August. This sets the scene for a tightening labor market in Q4 and 2022 — one where there are more job openings than available candidates, and demand for a human-forward and flexible corporate culture.

For Employers

A talent shortage means a couple things for employers in Q4. For one, highlighting an empathetic and robust work environment is key. Yes, a market rate salary is still the No. 1 reason for choosing a new position, according to our 2021 Salary Guide, but the pandemic’s impact on job seekers’ priorities is clear. Creating a workplace that provides flexibility — whether that be remote and/or hybrid — as well as offers opportunities to connect are very important to today’s professionals.

Employers looking to fill open finance and accounting roles should also consider utilizing consultants to complete key projects and address overflow tasks. Contact our team to assist with your temporary or direct hire hiring needs.

For Job Seekers

As the job market tightens, skilled candidates are in high demand. Use this as an opportunity to find the best job match for you. Take informational interviews, partner with a recruiter and explore what accounting and finance positions are available in the market.

It’s also imperative to showcase your soft skills during the interview process. If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that those indefinable attributes — adaptability, problem-solving and interpersonal — are crucial to building successful teams that can thrive in any environment.

Are you ready to make a career change? Check out the latest accounting and finance jobs in your area.

2021 Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

And the good news keeps on coming. U.S. employers added 850,000 jobs in June — a feat the White House Council of Economic Advisers touted as the fastest monthly job growth since August 2020. Of those, 33,000 were temporary jobs, rising from the previous two months with a 1.83% penetration rate. Leading the way in industry gains include leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail and trade, transportation and utilities sectors.

The national unemployment rate, however, ticked up slightly from May to 5.9% last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number is still relatively steep compared to the pre-pandemic’s low of 3.5%, but falls well below the high unemployment rate from April 2020.

Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment ReportCredit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

“Job openings are still near historic highs, the rate of quitting is still above pre-pandemic levels and employers are laying off workers at record lows,” says Nick Burner, Director of Research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “The outlook for hiring remains bright.”

We break down what employers and job seekers can expect in Q3:

For Employers

To say it’s a competitive job market is an understatement — specifically for securing in-demand professionals like accounting and finance talent. The unemployment rate for these individuals is much lower than the national average, with most accounting and finance positions falling below 5% and professionals with a Bachelor’s degree or higher at 3.5%.

In fact, job openings on a larger scale remain largely unfilled as there appears to be a disconnect between the type of roles candidates are seeking and the positions currently available. In a recent survey by ZipRecruiter, the pandemic not only shifted where workers moved in the market but how they want to work. Fifty-five percent of job seekers want remote work opportunities, and three in 10 workers don’t intend on returning to their old jobs, according to an April report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The extended unemployment benefits and national relief checks have also allowed people to be more selective in their career decisions.

To attract and retain top talent, employers must:

  • Provide flexibility. Hybrid work environments are here to stay. In a CareerBuilder survey, 73% of professionals surveyed want flexible work options to stay — and many companies are listening. Sixty-six percent of employers are considering changing their office formats to support a hybrid workplace in an effort to meet these needs.
  • Pay salaries at market rate. As open positions get tougher to fill, employers are sweetening the deal by offering candidates at market and above compensation packages. This is happening across the board, as average hourly earnings for all employees continue to gradually increase over the past couple months. Download our 2021 Salary Guide to make sure you’re properly compensating your accounting and finance professionals in your area.

Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

Credit: CareerBuilder

For Job Seekers

Skilled candidates are using this time to expand their job search and consider any and all opportunities that might be best for them. Ask yourself these key questions to evaluate your current career path, and make any pivots or adjustments necessary to get you in the accounting role or industry you desire.

To find the right opportunity, job seekers must:

  • Take informational interviews. Seeking out other professionals who are in positions, companies or industries you aspire to join is integral to your job search process. View these meetings as an opportunity to network, gain valuable insight and brush up on your interview skills. Many employers are incorporating virtual interviews into their hiring process, so make sure you are equipped to ace your next video job interview.
  • Partner with a seasoned recruiter. It’s difficult to always be attuned to how quickly the market is moving and the pros and cons of each new opportunity — that’s where partnering with a recruiter comes in. These professionals make it their job to know the latest in industry and hiring trends, helping to guide in-demand candidates on interview prep, negotiating appropriate salaries and ensuring the company’s culture and values align with theirs.

Contact our team for your job search or hiring needs today!

2021 Q2 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow closed in early April at all-time highs. It was the market’s first reaction to the latest jobs report, which showed employers adding 916,000 jobs in March — the largest increase since August. The accelerating pace of hiring is leading forecasters to predict a strong economic recovery in Q2 and Q3 of 2021 that could run through 2022.

Other economic data released this month showed service sector making significant gains by surging to all-time highs in March, after months of COVID-19 driven shutdowns, stay-at-home orders and consumer caution. The Institute for Supply Management’s services index rose to 63.7 in March from 55.3 in February — far ahead of economists’ forecasts of a 59 reading. Anything above 50 points to expansion. These and other improving economic forecasts have led many analysts to raise estimates for companies’ Q1 earnings results.

2021 Accounting and Finance Employment Report Q2








Credit: ISM Report on Business

While lingering concerns about new variants of COVID and continued outbreaks persist, the faster than expected rollout of new vaccines (more than 3 million per day) and the encouraging news about continued declines in the number of new COVID cases have provided a counterweight.

GDP Forecast (3 month moving average)

2021 Accounting and Finance Employment Report Q2









Credit: ITR Economics

As have many economists we follow, the forecasters at ITR Economics maintained their outlook for ongoing economic recovery through 2021 and an extended rise in 2022 and 2023. ITR is projecting the following US Real GDP Q4-to-Q4 changes through 2023:

  • 2021: +1.3%
  • 2022: +2.5%
  • 2023: +2.0%

Employment for Accounting and Finance Professionals

The economy added jobs faster than expected in March, leading to forecasts of rapid employment growth in the coming months as vaccinations increase and jobs across industries return.

Additionally, January and February had big revisions as reports were updated for January to 233,000 jobs from the 166,000 as previously reported, and February’s job growth was revised to 468,000 from the 379,000 reported. It’s clear the reopening of the economy is happening faster than most expected. Overall, the U.S. economy remained about 8.4 million jobs short of its February 2020 levels as of March 2021.

Professional and Business Services added 66,000 jobs in March 2021

2021 Accounting and Finance Employment Report Q2









Growth in service sector was the single biggest contributor to monthly job gains. Leisure and hospitality along with education made big gains in recovering lost jobs in March, reflecting easing social distancing restrictions and increased capacity limits at bars, restaurants and other establishments. Leisure and hospitality payrolls rose by 280,000 in March after an upward revision of 384,000 in February. These industries represent the hardest-hit industry category tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Within the private service sector, education and health services positions rose by 101,000 to nearly double their February gain and professional and business service jobs posted a third consecutive monthly increase, with jobs increasing by 66,000.

National Unemployment Rate: 6%

2021 Accounting and Finance Employment Report Q2











Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate dropped to 6% in March 2021. This is a dramatic decrease from April 2020 and is 2.5 percentage points higher than the 50-year low 3.5% unemployment rate we saw just prior to the pandemic in February 2020. The Federal Open Market Committee suggests that unemployment will return to those 50-year lows of 3.5% by the end of 2023.

The rate of unemployment for professionals with a Bachelor’s degree or higher is an important marker since most Accounting and Finance professionals fall into this category. In March 2021, the unemployment rate continued the downward trend, falling to 3.7%. This is significantly lower than the 4-6% rate of unemployment that many economists believe constitutes full employment, and explains the difficulty employers are having recruiting these professionals.

Century Group’s Forecast

For Employers

  • New Realities: Competition for top accounting and financial talent is fierce. Employers need to expect a tight talent market for the foreseeable future and adjust their hiring criteria. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for job growth in the Accounting and Audit field is 11% growth through 2026. In the current market, job openings outnumber job seekers in accounting and finance. Consider narrowing your requirements to the most critical.
  • Rising Compensation: Expect competition and compensation for accounting and finance professionals to increase as demand for these professionals increases, the baby boomer generation retires, labor force participation shrinks and fewer accounting and finance degrees are conferred.
  • Get Flexible: CPA firms have been at the forefront of flexible work arrangements and work/life balance. Traditionally known for long hours, weekends and extensive travel, many have transformed their cultures to offer flexible arrangements as a means of attracting and retaining critical accounting and audit professionals.
  • Think Remote: Recent surveys have shown that up to 34% of professionals indicate they won’t return to work in an office if their company requires it. Accounting is a profession that lends itself to successful remote work. A recent McKinsey study, “What’s Next for Remote Work,” analyzed 800 jobs and 2,000 tasks and concluded that Finance, Professional Services and Information sectors have the highest potential for remote work.
  • Streamlined Hiring: When you find someone that meets your criteria, don’t wait. In the current professional labor market, speed is critical in making hiring decisions. Top candidates generally receive multiple offers and perceive long hiring processes as outdated.
  • Flexible Staffing: Many employers utilize temporary and interim professionals to manage skill gaps on their own teams, complete key projects and handle peak periods (month-end, annual audits, M&A integrations, etc.). Others utilize interim consultants to keep their day-to-day operations going while they conduct a search for a full-time employee.

Have a hiring need? Contact our team today for temporary or direct hire roles.

For Job Seekers

  • Know Your Value: Before you launch your job search, you should have a clear picture of your market value. Accounting jobs are one of the fastest growing occupations, with the BLS forecasting a 4% growth in demand from 2019-2019. In that period, an estimated 61,700 jobs should open up. There are many resources available to help you determine your value, including Century Group’s 2021 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professions.
  • Get Your CPA or MBA: The world of business is getting more (not less) complex and the demand for accounting and finance professionals with advance credentials and experience is accelerating. Individuals that earn these designations place themselves at the forefront of the profession and are in high demand.
  • Expand Your Network: Don’t limit yourself to easily found opportunities. Consider joining a professional association to expand your professional network. And take a call from an Executive Recruiter. Recruiters build networks and can provide you access to leading companies and opportunities that you may never learn of on your own.
  • Take a Gig: Join the “gig” economy by taking on a temporary or interim assignment to gain entry to a new industry, increase your market value, develop new skills or gain more experience.

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