Des Moines chief financial officers are optimistic about their firms' growth prospects, but not as optimistic about finding the the right workers to fill job openings, according to a report released today by staffing firm Robert Half.

Robert Half surveyed more than 2,100 CFOs nationally to find out their optimism for the first quarter. Of the more than 100 CFOs surveyed in Des Moines, 86 percent said they were either somewhat or very confident about their company's prospects for growth in the first quarter. That compares with 91 percent nationally.

A total of 68 percent of the Des Moines CFOs, though, said it is either somewhat or very challenging for their company to find the skilled candidates needed for professional-level positions. That compared with 63 percent nationally.

"Companies here in Des Moines are increasingly more confident about the opportunities ahead and are investing in their infrastructure to help support business growth initiatives," said Mike Gremmer, regional vice president for Robert Half in Des Moines, in an email to the Business Record. 

But, "as local organizations look to bolster their teams, a talent shortage has emerged for professionals with highly specialized skills, particularly in the financial, health care and manufacturing sectors."

The companies that succeed will be those that have well-established hiring processes in place, he said, and are able to leverage their internal and external networks for referrals.

A lack of skilled workers is an issue that a number of Des Moines leaders have identified heading into 2014.