The State of the Current Finance Industry

Posted: Sep 06  |  By: Parker + Lynch

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total U.S. unemployment has seen little movement, hovering around 5%, yet accounting and finance occupations have seen steady employment gains. The BLS projects employment for all business and financial operations occupations to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024, adding over 632,000 new jobs.

The financial sector is one of the most booming industries in the current market. Behind every business, from local start-ups to big companies, is a financial department holding it together. Finance and insurance even represented 7% of US gross domestic product in 2014, which amounted to $1.223 trillion.

The Race to Hire Top Talent

The demand for talent is up across the board, from management to the C-Suite, and it is difficult to source ideal candidates. For example, CFO searches are increasingly lengthy—often taking up to six months. Fewer candidates possess the necessary experience, especially when it comes to using data to assess risks, forecast and plan.

Gaining an edge on competitors for top talent always starts with salary.

Salary First

As the economy improves, more specialized accounting and finance experts will be needed to prepare and examine financial records. While this is good news for job seekers and their salaries, low unemployment in accounting and finance (3% compared to 5% overall) means employers will have a tough time engaging talent.

Speaking of salaries, the BLS places the median annual wage for all business and financial occupations at $65,710.

Changes in Banking

Many banking and accounting firms have been simplified their business models over the last few years, both for economic reasons and to reduce operational complexity. There is an increasing realization that they do not or cannot excel at every activity, and that it may be easier and cheaper to outsource certain responsibilities. For example, using a staffing firm to recruit talent.

In this new organizational setting, maintaining a reputable company brand and creating an inspirational culture that can appeal to a new generation of workers will be an entirely new challenge.

A Multigenerational Workforce

The workforce is multigenerational—where members of several eras work together and blend their skills. Here is a breakdown of generations in the U.S. workforce, per the Incentive Research Foundation:

55 Million Millennials

53 Million Gen Xers

44 Million Baby Boomers

4 Million Traditionalists

Millennials’ career must-haves differ from earlier generations. Millennials demand positive cultures, flexible hours and personal fulfillment—they won’t stay at a company for long without those. What remains the same is the importance they place on salaries.

Today, many professionals ask for—and receive—higher compensation. This good news for job seekers creates a bumpy road for employers. To find out what to pay your people, check out our 2017 Salary Guide for premier accounting and finance professionals.