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Super Cities for Finance Jobs

Dona DeZube | Monster.com Careers Expert

November 06, 2007

Finance jobs are fundamental in the business world, but if you want to make sure your employment cupboard will always be fully stocked with job opportunities, consider moving to a finance hub city.

Sizzle Centers for Financial Services

“Finance is a staple, so you’ll do well anywhere you have a Federal Reserve Bank,” says Steven Drexel, president and CEO of CORESTAFF Services in Houston. The dozen Federal Reserve Bank locations include big cities well known as finance hubs, like New York, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as smaller cities with lots of corporate headquarters, such as Cleveland and St. Louis, he says. The banks provide services to financial institutions and government agencies, and they hire auditors, economists, accountants and operations personnel.

Kent Burns, CPA, a partner at recruiter MRINetwork in Indianapolis, says the market is good for finance professionals in Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Memphis and Syracuse, New York. “The fact that [companies are] in economically challenged areas makes it even more difficult for them to find good people,” Burns explains.

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Financial services are relatively robust in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and if you’re in credit-card processing, Phoenix, says Greg Ambrose, managing director of recruiter Catalyst Search Group in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Those cities are hot, because so many Fortune 500s are based there and companies headquartered elsewhere have large satellite offices there, he says.

Nifty Niches

Some cities are hot spots for accountants and finance professionals with experience in a particular industry, according to a survey by Robert Half International that polled 1,400 chief financial officers (CFOs) from a stratified random sample of US companies with 20 or more employees.

The survey measured the percentage of CFOs planning to increase their accounting staff in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with those planning to decrease staff. The gap was widest in Albany, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Portland Oregon, where at least 8 percent more CFOs said they planned to increase rather than decrease hiring. Cities where 7 percent more CFOs said they planned to increase rather than decrease hiring were Phoenix, Salt Lake City, St. Louis and Washington, DC.

Overall, the South Atlantic region is is projected to experience the strongest hiring, with 12 percent of CFOs planning to increase staff and only 1 percent expecting to cut staff.

Among industries, 16 percent of CFOs from construction firms plan to bring in staff in the fourth quarter, while none expect to cut personnel levels.

Where Real Estate Rules

Employment in real estate tends to follow the sales market, rising in markets where prices are up and falling where prices are tumbling. “Anecdotally, areas experiencing sales growth include the Carolinas, Texas, Georgia, New Mexico, Washington state and parts of Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee,” says Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. “Slowing areas include California, Florida, the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Northeast.”

However, with sales volume shrinking nationally in 2007, there’s no real aggregate demand for more real estate salespeople, Molony says.

Ensuring Insurance Jobs

If insurance is your niche, Chicago, New York and Dallas are the hot spots for brokers, while old-line insurance companies tend to headquarter from Hartford south to New York and New Jersey, Drexel says.


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