CFOs See Very Few New Jobs in 2010: Report

Executives responsible for the financial outlook and cost accounting of companies are bullish on profit and increased revenues, but not on hiring new jobs. A majority of CFOs surveyed in one study conclude they have the right amount of workers already.

If you listen to what chief financial officers, chief operating officers and controllers are saying, it's more bad news for the unemployed, according to a new quarterly study by the American Institute of Certified Planning Accountants and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The survey polled 998 financially centric executives between Jan. 27 and Feb 15.
A majority of executives--54 percent--said they currently have the appropriate number of employees and see little-to-no hiring on the horizon. Only 6 percent plan to hire this year, while 23 percent claim to be understaffed but are not hiring because of uncertainty in the economic climate.
"Adding further gloom to the employment picture, 29 percent of respondents don't expect employment to return to pre-recession levels in the foreseeable future and another 28 percent expect it to take 12 to 24 months before they return to pre-recession levels," said the AICPA report. "Only 8 percent expect to return to pre-recession levels in the next year."
The manufacturing sector is much more optimistic about its outlook than it was in the last quarter of 2009 and expanded by 17 points. Manufacturing CFOs jumped in optimism from 39 percent to 56 percent in one quarter, which led all segments in change. Real estate and construction, however, continue to have the weakest economic outlooks.
Information technology spending is expected to expand very little over the next year, according to the report. Less than 10 percent of CFOs expect their IT spend to expand more than 10 percent in 2010; Almost 10 percent of CFOs expect IT spending to grow between 5 and 10 percent. The largest share of respondents--nearly 40 percent--does not expect IT spending to change in 2010.
Here are a few key performance indicators the study points out:

  • "Fifty‐five percent of respondents expect their training budget to remain stable while 19 percent still expect it to decrease.
  • While expectations for R&D spending appear the lowest (22 percent), about one quarter of respondents indicate that they do not have an R&D budget. When those respondents are factored out, the percent of those with R&D budgets expecting increases goes to 30 percent, only slightly lower than expectations for capital investment, marketing and IT, which all are about 35 percent.
  • Spending for training and staff development continues to lag with only 23 percent of respondents expecting increases."