Overall confidence among U.S. finance and accounting employees rebounded in the fourth quarter of last year after declining for two consecutive quarters, according to a new study from professional placement firm Mergis Group.
Nearly one-quarter of finance people believe more jobs are available now compared to the third quarter of 2012, up eight percentage points from the previous study. Roughly 53% are confident in their ability to find a new job, a 15 percentage point increase from third quarter. Only 16% say they are not confident that they could find a new job.
The study, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Mergis Group, surveyed 4,738 adults aged 18 and older from October 8-10, November 12-14, and December 11-13, 2012. It targeted workers in four industries: finance, engineering, information technology and health care. Of the total surveyed, 230 were employed in finance.
“We’ve seen an end to some of the gloom and doom,” said Steve McMahan, president of Randstad Finance and Accounting/Mergis Group. “I’ve traveled to Randstad offices around the country – people are seeing a lot of new job orders come in.”
The last few weeks have been relatively sunny on the job market front. Private equity and M&A hiring has increased, every major U.S. bank passed its stress test and February’s job numbers outpaced expectations.
Banks such as Citigroup are still working through redundancy and efficiency issues, and certain sectors like commodities and investment banking will continue to shrink, but these losses are to be expected.
There has been no real seismic shift in terms of hot hiring sectors, said McMahan, with mortgage, accounting and auditing remaining strong. The biggest difference in 2013 is less uncertainty in the job market and the economy in general. The fiscal cliff, which led employers to hesitate on hiring, is behind us, said McMahan. Europe is also improving, he said.
While confidence is gaining and unemployment continues to dip downward, employed finance and accounting workers appear wary of taking a new job. Nearly 60% of finance and accounting workers say they are not likely to make a job transition, representing no change from the third quarter.
People are still worried they’ll end up back on the unemployment line, said McMahan, “but that’s the number I think you’ll really see move up throughout the year.”
Our numbers confirm his suspicions. Forty-one percent of respondents in a recent eFinancialCareers' survey, which took place between January 7 and February 20, 2013, said they are ready to make a career change, up from 35% in 2011.