CFO Optimism is Down

So is hiring according to the latest Duke / CFO Global Business Outlook Survey. Dismal numbers by any standards …

“Full-time domestic hiring will continue to be anemic, with finance chiefs saying they will increase staffs by less than 1% in the next 12 months. That number, also down from last quarter, means that unemployment will likely linger at its current rate of just over 9%. Twenty-one percent of CFOs say they are actively hiring, while another 16% say they are short-staffed but lack the resources to hire. Nine percent say they are short-staffed and would like to hire but are having trouble finding the types of employees they need.”

While this survey addresses who CFOs are hiring, it does NOT address CFOs who are being hired. According to my clients and recruiters with whom I network, movement among CFOs is definitely up, and so is demand!

— In the first few months of this year, there were 4 simultaneous private equity-backed CFO searches in the Tampa Bay area. A first according to a 20-year recruiting veteran.

— Two of my clients have recently juggled multiple offers.

— Recruiters, with great opportunities for Chief Financial Officers, are targeting those Finance Leaders with branded, compelling, value-oriented Linked In profiles for those potential opportunities.

— Recruiters are calling me for leads to great CFO candidates.

Today, more than any other time in history, being a competitive candidate means having World Class positioning. I’ll be hosting a roundtable at the CFO Core Concerns Conference in Chicago on Tuesday morning, June 14, to discuss why that positioning is critical to your career and must-take steps to secure it. Hope to see you there!

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1 thought on “CFO Optimism is Down”

  1. Cindy,

    As someone who follows the CFO market closely, I see lots of surveys on CFO optimism. When Tuesday’s survey says optimism is up, Wednesday’s says that optimism is down.

    I find it hard to take these surveys at their headline, as most of them are detailed and ask very different questions based on what the survey sponsor is looking to accomplish (which is totally fair – our CFO surveys try to accomplish the same thing).

    CFO movement is up – This is a good thing (for my business). However, I caution CFOs making movements – the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. CFOs not only need to sell themselves into a new role, they need to make the new role work.

    Good luck at the conference Cindy. I wish I was able to be there. In your roundtable on Tuesday, I recommend asking CFOs the following question. “Now that you are the new CFO, what steps will you take to make your tenure a success?”

    I have my answers – I’m curious as to what answers you will get.


    Samuel Dergel, CA, CPA
    Senior Partner & Practice Leader, CFO Search
    Website :


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