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The Job Market Outlook is Improving

May 29, 2009
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I was very encouraged recently when I participated in a Webinar on the state of US job market. Mark Anderson, President of Execunet gave a very detailed snapshot of where the job market is today and where it is going.

While HCIT is as hot as a match and suddendly the place to be - we too have seen fewer search assignments than this same period last year and the year before. But that's about to change. Healthcare is (again) listed as one of the top 5 sectors that will generate the most jobs in 2009. Another key metric I noted is it takes over 10 months for an executive to find a new job - regarless of their current employment status!

Here are a few highlights from Execunet's 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report across all industries:

Employment Market Outlook

  • Despite the economic downturn, 60 percent of search consultants believe there's a shortage of qualified executive talent.
  • The industries expected to generate the most executive job growth in 2009 include: Healthcare, Clean/Green Technology, Pharmaceuticals/Medical/Biotech, Energy/Utilities, and Business Services.

Job Satisfaction

  • Job satisfaction is on the rise, as 70 percent of all employed executives report they are satisfied with their current jobs — up sharply from 53 percent in 2007. However, this may be more gratitude than true satisfaction, as 70 percent say they are ready to listen if a recruiter calls.
  • To attract new executive talent, companies must appeal not only to the desire for challenging work and a great boss, but must also answer executive concerns surrounding industry prospects and job security, which together represent the biggest reason for dissatisfaction.

Executive Compensation

  • Total executive compensation on average decreased 1.7 percent in 2008.
  • Women executives showed closer compensation parity to men than in prior years, except at the top of the organization, where a 14% average pay differential is reported.
  • Approximately one-third (34%) of all executive compensation packages negotiated in the past 12 months featured guaranteed severance lasting an average of just over eight months. Amid increasing public scrutiny, 39 percent of all executive compensation packages featured perks, including company cars, club memberships, housing, and favorable loans — down from 51 percent one year ago.

Turnover

  • The average executive tenure continues to decline from 3.2 years in 2007 to 2.8 years in 2008; a result of corporate belt tightening and increasing demand for different skill sets in key leadership functions.
  • From preparation to landing, job search is taking longer. Executives in a job search now expect to spend an average of 10.1 months searching for their next position regardless of their employment status.

Candidate Sourcing/Job Search Strategies

  • Networking accounts for almost three-in-four (73 percent) job opportunities uncovered by executives — trumping job websites and other forms of advertising.
  • Approximately one-in-five searches conducted by corporate HR professionals during the past 12 months was filled by a candidate from another industry, as companies focus on "trading up" for different skills to fill their existing executive positions.

Summary:
The market is turning and whether you are looking for a new career opportunity or planning to upgrade or hire new talent for your organization - you need to develop an action plan and engage. Now.

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