Is your Finance Career Recession-proof?

Interesting article in today, “Is Your Finance Job Recession–proof?” I’m excerpting the CFO section below, but other finance jobs are covered in the article.

I wonder if a better question would be, “is your finance CAREER recession-proof?”

There is little control over job security, which is always driven by external factors. Conversely, making your career recession-proof … doing the things you need to do on a consistent basis to ensure you do not find yourself on the street for 22.6 weeks (average length of an executive job search) searching for that next job … is all within the control of a passive candidate.


Here’s the excerpt …

<<And what about CFOs themselves? Eldridge says that it’s common for companies to change CFOs during changes in their business cycle — when they go public, for example. Thus, he says, job changes are also common when the larger business cycle turns. For example, a CFO of a smaller growth company may decide to leave if recession forces the company to adopt a defensive economic approach.

But ultimately, CFOs occupy such a volatile position that an economic recession may simply be a moot point. "If the plan is not being met, the CEO is not going to take himself out — the CFO will go first," says Eldridge. And CFOs can’t really win: When CEOs do end up leaving, their successors tend to bring their own CFOs with them. The CFO slot, says Eldridge, "is just a battlezone. You’re going to score a touchdown or get sacked."

That may sound grim, but Eldridge is bullish on finance positions in a recession. One might think, of course, that turnover would benefit an executive recruiter one way or the other. But that’s not so, says Eldridge. Five years ago, he says, financial services hiring "came to a screeching halt. We have not seen that in finance."

He recommends that finance professionals continue to seek ways to balance their skill-set. "Don’t get pigeon-holed. You want to be the value-add person." He says finance professionals can do that by working with senior management on special projects, volunteering for assignments overseas or within operating units and taking other steps that demonstrate that they are more than just a number-cruncher. "You don’t want to be easily disposable," he says.

In the long run, says Eldridge, finance talent is like healthcare: everyone needs it. "I would have to lean towards finance perhaps being recession-proof," he says. "But that doesn’t mean everybody stays in their job.">>