SOURCE: Spherion

August 01, 2006 19:26 ET

Spherion Survey: Confidence Among Accounting and Finance Workers Declines

Fewer Workers Believe the Economy Is Strengthening; Over Four in 10 Workers Likely to Look for a New Job; Percentage of Workers Confident in Future of Employer Drops

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2006 -- Confidence among accounting and finance workers fell to 62.2 in the second quarter of 2006, according to the latest survey by Spherion Corporation. The Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among accounting and finance workers in the U.S., may have decreased primarily because more workers were concerned about the economy and the future of their employer.

Specifically, 27 percent of workers believe that the economy is getting stronger, decreasing nine percentage points from the previous quarter. In addition, the percentage of workers reporting confidence in the future of their employer fell 10 percentage points in the second quarter.

Despite this drop in confidence, 43 percent of workers report that they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, compared to 35 percent in the first quarter. In addition, slightly more workers are confident in their ability to find a new job this quarter (64 percent), compared to last quarter (62 percent).

"I believe that this drop in economic confidence is a result of concerns about the macroeconomic environment, especially considering the rising interest rates and gas prices," said Brendan Courtney, vice president of Professional Services for Spherion®. "Regardless, more accounting and finance workers continue to report levels of confidence compared to the overall U.S. workforce. With the demand for accountants far outstripping the supply and Sarbanes Oxley requirements continuing to create positions, we do not foresee this trend stopping anytime soon. Within our own business, senior account managers with SEC and reporting knowledge, internal auditors or people that have public accounting experience are in very high demand."

Employee Confidence Index: The latest Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among accounting and finance workers in the U.S., was 62.2 for the second quarter of 2006, falling three points from the previous quarter. The decrease in confidence was a result of more workers expressing doubt in the economy and the future of their employer. Likewise, the U.S. Employee Confidence Index decreased 0.7 points to 57.6 for the same period, but remains lower that the accounting and finance index level.

2Q 2006 Employment Report Results: Accounting & Finance

                              Accounting & Finance
                                    Workers             U.S. Workers
                              --------------------- ---------------------
                                               %                    %
                                 1Q     2Q   Point    1Q     2Q   Point
                                2006   2006  Change  2006   2006  Change
                               ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Getting stronger     36%    27%    -9%    25%    22%    -3%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Economy       Staying same         36%    43%    +7%    36%    35%    -1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Getting weaker       28%    31%    +3%    39%    43%    +4%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Job           More jobs            36%    32%    -4%    26%    26%     0%
Availability  ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Same amount          35%    34%    -1%    35%    35%     0%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Fewer jobs           29%    33%    +4%    40%    39%    -1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Ability to    Confident            62%    64%    +2%    58%    57%    -1%
Find New      ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Job           Neutral              22%    26%    +4%    28%    28%     0%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Not Confident        16%    10%    -6%    14%    15%    +1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Future of     Confident            71%    61%   -10%    65%    65%     0%
Current       ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Employer      Neutral              20%    26%    +6%    23%    22%    -1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Not Confident         9%    13%    +4%    12%    13%    +1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Likelihood    Likely                9%    13%    +4%    12%    12%     0%
to Lose Job   ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Neutral               9%    11%    +2%    10%    11%    +1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Not Likely           82%    76%    -6%    78%    77%    -1%
              ---------------- ------  ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Look for New  Likely               35%    43%    +8%    36%    37%    +1%
Job           ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Neutral               7%    12%    +5%    10%    10%     0%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
              Not Likely           57%    44%   -13%    54%    53%    -1%
              ---------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
About the Spherion Employment Report

As part of the Spherion® Emerging Workforce® Series of employment surveys, the quarterly Accounting & Finance Employment Report provides a snapshot of the latest workforce trends among accounting and finance professionals across the country. Three key indices are measured: the Spherion Job Security Index, which captures how likely respondents think it is that they will lose their job or that their job will be eliminated in the next 12 months; the Spherion Job Transition Index, which captures how likely respondents are to look for a new job in the next 12 months and the Employee Confidence Index that measures employees' overall confidence in the economy, their employer and their ability to find other employment. The Employee Confidence Index is calculated from the results of four components that reflect these aspects of employee confidence. For each component item a 'score' is calculated by taking the difference of the percentage of positive responses and the percentage of negative responses. These four scores are then averaged to indicate an overall level of employee confidence and is scaled from 0 (no confidence) to 100 (complete confidence). A reading above 50 indicates a positive confidence level.

Methodology

The 2006 Spherion® Employment Report is based on data from a Harris Interactive® online survey conducted on behalf of Spherion Corporation. A U.S. sample of 9,022 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, of whom 434 work in accounting and finance positions, was interviewed in a series of polls conducted between April 4-6, April 10-12, May 3-5, May 9-11, June 6-8, and June 14-16 2006. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting adjusted for respondents' propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, it can be said with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- one percentage point. Sampling error for the results of employed adults who work in work in accounting and finance positions (n=434) is plus or minus five percentage points. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Spherion

Spherion Corporation is a leading recruiting and staffing company that provides integrated solutions to meet the evolving needs of companies and job candidates. As an industry pioneer for 60 years, Spherion has screened and placed millions of individuals in temporary, temp-to-hire and full-time jobs. Positions range from administrative and light industrial to a host of professions that include accounting/finance, information technology, engineering, manufacturing, legal, human resources and sales/marketing.

With more than 650 offices in the United States and Canada, Spherion delivers innovative workforce solutions that improve business performance. Spherion provides its services to more than 8,000 customers, from Fortune 500 companies to a wide range of small and mid-size organizations. Employing 375,000 people annually through its network, Spherion is one of North America's largest employers. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit www.harrispollonline.com.

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