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Hard work pays career dividends

Hard work pays career dividends

Hard-working, proactive, collaborative, adaptive, ethical and credible all make the list of personal characteristics shared by successful CFOs, says recruiting experts Hays in New Zealand.

According to a survey of 500 CFOs, conducted for the recruiter’s ‘DNA of a CFO’ report, two-thirds (66%) of CFOs said being hard-working has aided their career success.

This was followed by a proactive nature (63%), collaborative (59%), adaptive (57%), ethical (55%) credible (50%), goal focussed (47%) and confident (45%).

“Finance teams traditionally have heavy workloads and lots of deadlines to meet, which places a great deal of importance on the value of hard work,” says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand.

“We frequently see board directors and non-executive directors including an appetite and capacity for hard work in their selection criteria when recruiting their next CFO. A board will turn to their CFO to be a trusted adviser, someone that helps the organisation create a ‘no surprises’ environment and who can prioritise opportunity and mitigate risk.

“For any aspiring CFO, demonstrating that you combine talent and expertise with a great work ethic can help you stand out from your competition.”

When it comes to career development, 65% of CFOs said they have recently attended a networking event.

“CFOs appear to value being able to share their thoughts and concerns with other finance leaders, and learn from them,” Jason said. “Sounding boards are very helpful to them.

“But only 28% are using social media sites for career development. This is despite the fact that LinkedIn groups, in particular, can be an excellent way to share industry knowledge and best practice.

“This will be, in part, down to not finding the time due to a heavy work schedule. However, we believe that the use of social media by CFOs will change significantly in the future. You only have to look at the appetite from the next generation to see how technology will play its part in helping CFOs of the future share information.”

Reassuringly, the majority the CFOs in the Hays survey are generally happy with their role since most would either like to stay in their current post or take on a bigger finance job, such as CFO of a larger organisation. An ambitious 28% have their sights set on making Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Managing Director or General Manager, while 5% dream of starting their own business. 29% already sit on the board.

Encouragingly, over three quarters (76%) say that if they had their time all over again, they would still choose to become CFOs.

The report is available at

500 finance professionals were surveyed face to face over December 2013 and January 2014. The majority held the position of CFO, while a small percentage indicated their current job title was Finance Director, Group, Divisional or Regional Finance Director, Director of Finance, Head of Finance or GM of Finance.

400 were based in Australia and 100 were in New Zealand. Of these, 47 per cent work in commerce and industry for an ASX non-listed organisation and 20 per cent work for an ASX listed organisation. 28 per cent work in the public or not-for-profit sector, and 0.4 per cent work for an accountancy firm. The remaining 4.7 per cent elected not to specify their organisation.

These CFOs were asked about their educational background, qualifications, international experience, responsibilities, challenges and personal aspirations.

To see more detailed profiles of the CFOs who appear in this report, please visit:

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

About Hays
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. We are the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in Asia Pacific and the UK and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. We operate across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 31 December 2013 we employed 7,979 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2013, Hays reported net fees of £719 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £125.5 million. Hays placed around 53,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 182,000 people into temporary assignments. 29% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.


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