Finance professionals win the highest raises in a decade—but there’s a catch

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Good morning,

Pierre R. Breber, VP and CFO at Chevron Corporation is set to receive a $75,000 increase in salary, resulting in an annual base salary of $1,150,000, according to the company’s form 8-K filed on Jan. 24. And plenty of other companies are continuing to vie for high-performing finance professionals by offering competitive pay. 

I sat down with Mariam Lamech, director of survey research at the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). We talked about the organization’s latest compensation report that found treasury and finance professionals realized a 5% increase in their 2022 base salaries, up from 4.4% in 2021. It was the largest increase seen in the past 10 years.

Management-level employees, like FP&A, had the largest bump at 5.3%, followed by executives (5%) and staff (4.8%). Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the average reported base salary of CFOs was $256,038. And their average bonus was $94,262. 

A total of 1,408 financial professionals responded to APF’s survey, with 43% working at companies with at least $1 billion in revenue representing various industries such as manufacturing, retail, and financial services. The survey collected data on total compensation earned by financial professionals during the calendar year 2022 as well as data on base salaries as of Jan. 1.

Will this trend in salary hikes continue? “It’s very hard to predict,” Lamech says. “If we are able to avoid an economic downturn in the next year, there is no reason we shouldn’t see similar raises next year.”

AFP’s research also found that 60% of treasury and finance practitioners said there’s a shortage of talent in their functions. Is there any indication that giving base salaries a bump has been helpful in the talent crunch?

“When we asked the question in the survey about whether the organization was facing a talent shortage, there was a group that said, yes, and a group that said, no,” Lamech says. Half of the group that said no pointed to flexible work environments, and the other half pointed to competitive compensation as the reasons why they weren’t facing a talent shortage, Lamech explains. “So treasury and finance specialists believe that [competitive compensation] is helping,” she says.

But for some of the companies that are still struggling to hire finance and treasury professionals, Lamech has heard they’re filling some positions with contractors as they continue to recruit. AFP administers Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials and offers skills training.

“What we’re hearing anecdotally from members is competitive talent pools, the lack of skills of [candidates] as they go out to recruit, and the volume of work are pain points,” she says.

Sheryl Estrada

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Big deal

Hedge funds aggressively bought into financial stocks following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank but spent much of April selling their exposure to the sector, S&P Global Market Intelligence research found. Throughout April, Hedge funds reduced exposure to financial stocks by 1% after boosting it by 5.5% in March.

"The latest trends in capital flows show that hedge funds are largely taking a significantly bullish view of the stock market so far in 2023 in comparison to other active market participants, despite a relatively flat and often volatile performance in equities," according to the report.

Courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence

Going deeper

"How to Bring More Predictive Power to Economic Forecasts," a report in Wharton's business journal, examines a new study coauthored by Wharton’s Jules van Binsbergen that uses a machine learning algorithm to produce granular forecasts for GDP growth, employment, and interest rate decisions.

Binsbergen told Knowledge at Wharton: “If you want to better understand the role that sentiment has on economic activity, GDP growth, labor market decisions, and other fundamentals, it’s always better to have more granular and longer time series data. We show this sentiment has predictive power for economic activity over and above the standard predictors such as the so-called yield spread, or the difference between long-term and short-term interest rates as well as lagged GDP data (or economic growth after it occurred).”


Cathy R. Smith was named CFO at Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), effective May 29. Smith joins Nordstrom from Bright Health Group, where she has served as chief financial and administrative officer since 2020. Before Bright Health, Smith worked as the CFO for Target Corporation for five years. During that time, Target achieved double-digit revenue and EPS growth. Before Target, Smith served as CFO for public companies Express Scripts, Walmart International, Gamestop, Centex, Kennametal, Textron, and Raytheon.

James "Jay” Saccaro was named VP and CFO at GE HealthCare (Nasdaq: GEHC), a global precision care innovator, effective June 1. Saccaro succeeds Helmut Zodl who is remaining with the company to lead special projects regarding separation from GE. Saccaro joins GE HealthCare from Baxter International, where he has been serving as its EVP and CFO since 2015. Before rejoining Baxter, he was SVP and CFO at Hill-Rom Corporation. Saccaro had previously served as corporate vice president and treasurer of Baxter from 2011 to 2013. He first joined that company in 2002 as manager of strategy for Baxter’s BioScience business, and over the years assumed various positions for the company’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


“I guarantee you that many of these CEOs who are calling people back to the office in New York City are going away to the Hamptons for the summer or going to Europe in August.”

—Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said on The Verge’s Decoder podcast in an interview released Wednesday that he thinks that the managers demanding workers regularly come back to the office may not practice what they preach. 

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