Home Recruitment CFOs put staff hiring, retention as top priority for 2017

CFOs put staff hiring, retention as top priority for 2017

Staff acquisition and retention, and professional development for their employees top the list for Australia’s chief financial officers this year, according to a new study which also reveals that more than half of the country’s CFOs will focus on talent management throughout 2017.

The survey, by recruitment firm Robert Half, reveals that for 54% of CFOs, talent management tops the agenda, and, according to the firm, this year may very well be a fruitful year for finance professionals.

David Jones, senior managing director at Robert Half Asia Pacific, says the focus on staff acquisition, retention and development bodes well for today’s job-seekers and employees “eager to embrace professional development opportunities”.

“A company’s success is most dependent on the performance of its staff, which emphasises the importance of talent management for any business. This means not just recruiting professionals with the right skills, but also further developing the skillsets of existing staff and retaining top performers.”

Robert Half predicts that implementing new technologies will take over as the number one goal by 2020, with 54% of survey respondents saying it will be their key focus by 2020.

And, the recruitment firm says the increased focus on implementing new technologies highlights the progressively important role technology is playing in the finance function of Australian businesses.

“As companies endeavour to explore new ways to streamline business practices, updating internal financial policies and procedures comes in second on the list of priorities for 2017 for 49% of CFOs, and it will be just as relevant in 2020 (48%),” the report notes.

Jones says that, in order to remain competitive in an uncertain market, finance companies will need to adapt quickly to change and “streamline their internal procedures to maximise on their potential, whilst still focusing on turning a profit and expanding their market share”.

“In order to achieve this, businesses will need to foster their high-achieving staff members, as well as recruit top financial talent,” Jones says.

Australian CFOs were asked: “What are your key focus areas in 2017 and 2020?” Their responses:

  2017 2020
Talent management (staff acquisition, professional development, staff retention) 54% 41%
Updating internal financial policies and procedures 49% 48%
Increasing profitability 44% 31%
Driving overall company growth 39% 45%
Implementing new technologies 38% 54%
Adding new skillsets to better perform the finance function 29% 27%
Addressing macroeconomic impacts on the business 19% 18%
Addressing areas of internal risk within the organisation 8% 4%
Addressing areas of external risk within the organisation 8% 14%
Adhering to audit standards 1% 1%
Adhering to reporting or compliance standards 1% 3%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 160 Australian CFOs – three answers per respondent.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).