Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are projected to increase an average 3.5% in 2012 as companies look for help to streamline their operations, according to a new survey.
The Robert Half 2012 Salary Guide said companies and accounting firms are hiring controllers, financial analysts, auditors and tax accountants, among others. The demand for talent is inflating salaries, said Bill Driscoll, district president with Robert Half, as companies compete for top professionals.
"Companies are analyzing their operations up, down and sideways to be as efficient as humanly possible," said Driscoll. "The folks who can do that, as well as identify and support growth opportunities, are in demand."
A corporate tax accountant starting out at a large company can expect a salary 4% higher than what they would have received in 2011, Robert Half said. Starting salaries ranged between $48,500 and $64,250 in 2011; in 2012 they'll range between $50,000 and $67,250.
Senior compliance analysts and assistant controllers can also expect starting salaries 4% higher than 2011 levels.
In good times, a 3% bump in starting salaries is normal, Driscoll said, so increases larger than that are particularly heartening in today's sluggish economy. "Many people weren't getting raises over the past several years," Driscoll said.
Robert Half compiled the annual salary guide from surveys of people it's placed across the industry, research across workplaces and input from its recruiting consultants.
Write to Julie Steinberg at Julie.Steinberg@dowjones.com