US CFOs plan to offer better benefits, more pay to attract top talent


By Neil Amato

Job candidates with in-demand skills, you’re in luck. CFOs are prepared to offer you better benefits and more money.

Nearly half of CFOs said they would improve benefits and increase compensation to attract top talent, a survey by specialised staffing service Accountemps shows. The research is based on interviews with more than 2,100 finance chiefs at companies in 20 large US cities.

CFOs were asked, “Which of the following strategies are you adopting or considering adopting to access professionals with in-demand skills?” They were allowed to pick more than one choice. Their answers:

  • Improving benefits: 46%
  • Increasing compensation: 45%
  • Investing in training and development of internal candidates: 42%
  • Bringing in temporary workers: 26%
  • Hiring talent from another city and allowing a remote work arrangement: 21%
  • Paying relocation expenses for top candidates: 19%

General business knowledge and IT expertise were the skills CFOs most craved in job candidates, an earlier Accountemps survey showed. Recent interviews with thought leaders at the American Institute of CPAs Financial Planning & Analysis Conference showed that agility and creativity were desired skills, on top of the technical basics.

More than one-third of employers in a recent global survey report that they are facing a talent shortage, a percentage that has remained steady over the years, according to research by ManpowerGroup. The lack of skilled workers is a global concern, but in the ManpowerGroup survey, it was more acute in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Competition for highly skilled workers remains intense in many specialties,” Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, said in a news release. “Boosting compensation and adding incentives is a useful first step for attracting talent, but it’s equally important for businesses to develop the abilities of workers already on staff.”

Accountemps offered five tips for managers to build top-notch teams:

  • Money isn’t everything. High performers expect pay that matches their experience, but they have other expectations. CFOs must show high performers before and after they’ve started a job that the organisation will offer development opportunities.
  • Develop your internal team. Pair less-experienced but potentially high-performing employees with mentors.
  • Supply stretch goals. Provide staff with challenging projects that will help them escape their comfort zone.
  • Hire and train to your needs. Align hiring plans to the organisation’s areas of growth and consider cross-training programmes that will enable existing employees to move into larger roles.
  • Monitor workloads. Top employees can be overloaded with tasks.

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Six Techniques for Building a Strategic Finance Department”: Although finance departments are strong in functional expertise and learning skills, many of them lack competencies associated with communication and leadership. Learn techniques finance managers are using to build the right skills on their teams.

Talent Scarcity Threatens Growth”: Nearly 30% of businesses globally expect talent shortages to hinder their expansion plans, according to new research by Grant Thornton. Nearly 40% say they are struggling to hire the right people, with 64% saying technical skills are the main obstacle.

Neil Amato (namato@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.