Businesses with CFO vacancies are struggling to find replacements, as many prospects are getting cold feet in the wake of the economic downturn. Otherwise, everything is in a holding pattern.
Some finance chiefs feel they cannot leave their current employers in the midst of an economic crisis. And as a result of the slowdown, boards are asking CFOs that were planning to retire to stay onboard. The economic downturn could also result in more internal promotions in the short term, so as to preclude the hassle of searching for new hires. Some companies are even revising decisions to fire an incumbent CFO in order to ensure their top finance position remains covered. It’s not a good time to be without a finance chief.
This holds for the executives’ perspective as well: Now is not a prudent time to be leaving a company. Interviews have become more difficult with travel restrictions and social distancing protocols in place. Moreover, there might be fewer companies in need of a new CFO, given that the market for IPOs is expected to slow in the coming months. A potential decline in IPOs changes the calculus for CFO hiring, as strategies must adjust.
In sum: Companies that are going ahead with searches are contending with a host of challenges; and CFO’s exploring new employment opportunities are facing limited options. This entails a dearth in the supply of viable candidates.