Wholesale, Retail Sectors Searching for Finance Talent

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While hedge funds and investment banks will likely keep hemorrhaging jobs, the job outlook may be rosier for finance and accounting specialists eyeing other industries.

Roughly 5% of chief financial officers plan to hire new staff in the fourth quarter, compared to 6% who anticipate making cuts, according to a recent survey conducted by executive search firm Robert Half International. Decision makers at retail and wholesale firms anticipate making net adds of 3% and 4%, respectively, in their finance and accounting departments in the fourth quarter.

The study, based on more than 1,400 responses from CFOs across a myriad of industries, found the job market for finance and accounting personnel to be more robust in the mid-Atlantic and Mountain states.

But perhaps the best news is that nearly 60% of CFOs are at least somewhat confident of their growth potential for the coming quarter, with 36% expressing deep confidence.  That optimism contrasts programs at big banks that are slashing jobs and dialing back employee compensation packages as part of industry-wide cost-cutting initiatives. Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan cut roughly 18,000 jobs in the first half of 2012, and are expected to continue purging talent in future quarters.

In an effort to narrow the still-lofty unemployment rate, the Federal Reserve last week pledged to purchase billions of dollars in mortgage-backed debt and other assets to encourage borrowing and, in turn, spur job growth. Unlike other recent moves by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the new policy has no clear end date and will continue until the economy and the job market show dramatic improvement, according to the New York Times.

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