Senior finance professionals are spending longer in the office this year than last, with over half of companies initiating pay freezes since 2011

The vast majority of senior finance professionals have experienced an increase in their working hours in the first half of 2012, yet salaries have hit a stalemate. Whilst 83% of respondents indicate they are spending more hours in the office, 60% admit their salary has stayed the same or decreased since last year.

A further 60% also confirm that their company has initiated a pay freeze within the last year.

The survey of finance professionals, conducted by Communicate in the second quarter of 2012, sought to examine how businesses and business people are faring as the country continues to face economic maelstrom.

But, despite senior financiers reporting tougher personal working conditions, the general jobs outlook seems to be improving, with a majority 80% saying the current economic climate has not dissuaded them from seeking a new job. Moreover, half confirm that their company is hiring both permanent and temporary staff.

Respondents were split down the middle when it came to their prediction for the next six months. While 45% felt things were going to improve, 40% felt they would remain the same, with a further 15% believing the climate will change for the worse.

If and when the economy returns to pre-recession levels, however, 85% said they will expect their company to respond with a pay rise.

Director of the finance and accounting division at Communicate, Lucy Davison, comments: “We all know how tough the job market has been. The omens at the start of 2012 were grim. As such, it is unsurprising to see companies squeezing the most from their senior staff in terms of working hours and pay.

“But not all the news is bleak. It is positive to see people not being put off a job hunt because of the climate, proving there is work out there. Indeed, we have continued to place finance professionals into powerful, lucrative positions, both on the permanent and interim side.

“Encouragingly, the survey also revealed no marked difference between the responses of men and women, suggesting professionals at this level are expected to work equally as hard for similar rewards, and are not judged on superficial criteria such as gender.”