Is there a candidate recession in accounting and finance?

It’s a candidate-driven market out there, and prospects are looking especially rosy for workers in the accounting and finance sector. We took a close look at the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and signs are pointing toward a candidate recession for accounting and finance firms. 

According to a recent economic news release from the BLS, the unemployment rate for workers in management, business, and financial operations occupations was just 1.6%, less than half the national unemployment rate of 3.5%.

This is great news for job-seekers, but a candidate recession can make finding top talent a real challenge for hiring managers in the industry.

Accounting and finance by the numbers

  • Steady 6% employment growth through 2028.¹
  • 1,424,000 people employed
  • 116,000 jobs added in 2019
  • 1,514,700 projected employment in 2028¹
  • Median salary: $70,500¹
  • Ranked #3 Best Business Job by U.S. News and World Reports
  • More than one third of finance and accounting professional express satisfaction with all aspects of their job.²
  • receives a new finance-related resume every 100 seconds and finance jobs are viewed more than 5.6 million times a month.4
  • Financial activities have added 116,000 jobs over the last 12 months.¹ 
  • Accounting hires in the field slowed by 11% while non-accounting hires increased by 11%5

Job outlook in accounting and finance

Hiring specialists should be prepared for the fact that employment growth in the field will continue as the economy grows. According to the BLS, employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6% through 2028. 

Globalization, a growing economy, and complex tax and regulatory environments are also expected to contribute to the strong demand for accountants and auditors. Furthermore, as more and more companies merge, are acquired, or go public, there will be greater need for public accountants to handle the legally required financial documentation. 

The continued globalization of business may also lead to an increased demand for accounting expertise and services related to international trade and international mergers and acquisitions.

Just as the market is changing to become more global, the accounting and finance field and the tools it uses will change with it. Technological change is expected to dramatically affect the role of accountants over the next decade. As cloud computing, blockchain, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and compliance regulations become more widespread, some routine accounting tasks may become automated or require a higher level of technical know-how. 

Although these changes will enable accountants to become more efficient, they are not expected to reduce the overall demand for accountants. In fact, with the anticipated automation of routine tasks — such as data entry — the advisory and analytical duties of accountants will become increasingly important.

Learn more about the challenges facing accounting and finance teams in 2020. Download the latest Vaco How-to Guide: Building Effective Accounting and Finance Teams in 2020.

Download Now 

Need help finding top accounting and finance talent for a changing work environment? Contact Vaco today.


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