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Published on: Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Executive Recruiters Enter 2012 Confident in Management Jobs Market


Executive recruiters enter the new year more confident in the growth potential for the executive employment market than they've been since mid-2011.

In December, ExecuNet's benchmark Recruiter Confidence Index revealed that 55 percent of 126 executive search firm respondents are "confident" or "very confident" the executive employment market will improve over the next six months, up 13 points from November.

Confidence in the Executive Employment Market — Next 6 Months

"We're seeing a real rebound in recruiter confidence, and along with other research indicators such as executive job creation, we're eager to track these leading indicators of economic expansion to determine if they're sustainable through the first quarter of 2012," said Mark M. Anderson, president and chief economist of ExecuNet.

Introduced in May 2003, ExecuNet's Recruiter Confidence Index is based on a monthly survey of executive search firms and recognized as a leading indicator for the economy and the executive job market. A reading at 50 percent or above indicates recruiters are "confident" or "very confident" the number of executive search assignments launched by employers in the next six months will increase.

"As we enter the new year, this register of confidence among executive recruiters is really good news," Anderson added, "because it provides reason for hope and optimism that more employers are getting on with the business of growing their organizations, and that portends good things for the management employment market."

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Joseph Daniel McCool's avatarJoseph Daniel McCool
Joseph Daniel McCool is senior contributing editor with ExecuNet and principal of management recruiting/succession advisory firm The McCool Group. He is also the author of Deciding Who Leads: How Executive Recruiters Drive, Direct & Disrupt the Global Search for Leadership Talent, recognized widely as "one of the best business books of 2008," and its Brazilian Portuguese translation, Escolhendo Líderes, published in June 2010.

Posted by Patrick
01/11 @ 05:34 PM
I have traveled thousands of miles over 16 months of unemployment attending trade shows on my own, making senior level contacts, interviewing, follow-ups, etc. I agree with Mr. Paulins, "only those insiders with contacts will be placed with the few actual open positions." I find it offensive and misleading for organizations to publicly post any job they have no intention of filing externally or have a pre-destined candidate. Let's put this in black and white. The indicators are all bullshit. No one has any kahunas to take chances, move forward or even make decisions. My contacts are the local,state and national municipal level have not seen dime one of any stimulus. The roadways and bridges across our great country are disgraceful. Until hard dollars are put into our infrastructure, TRUE unemployment of talented, educated, well-credentialed and skilled executives aged 35 to 65 years old will be at 20%. Companies will continue to hire part time help and keep lean offices. Forget the BRIC countries folks, our troubles are at home.
Posted by Mihir
01/11 @ 07:00 AM
Over all , Maybe. But specific leadership roles in Pharma P&L;mgt are not coming thru. I have been looking for a while now
Posted by Geroge Macias
01/11 @ 12:01 AM
There is reason to see cautious optimism in the Executive job market. 2012 is off to a good start with economic indicators pointing towards an improved job market.

It appears the pace of job losses has slowed and that should point towards investment in new jobs.

A continues uptick in economic sentiment should improve the executive market in the coming months.
Posted by Warren L. Paulins
01/10 @ 11:46 PM
The executive management arena is still very tight even for well-credentialed and experienced applicants. About the only way one can separate from the masses of resumes is to have an inside connection (good friend, relative, etc.) within your targeted company. Age discrimination and unemployment discrimination are also very prevalent in today's job market, no matter how well-credentialed or experienced one is.

As for the rosy job numbers, a vast majority of these jobs are minimum wage ($10/hr. or less) and include no benefits. From what I have read, many employers are also hiring only part-timers just so they don't have to pay any benefits. Unless you are a true "rock star" and know people in high places, your chances for an executive position in this marketplace are grim, especially if you are over 50-55 and/or have been unemployed for a year or longer.

After a 4+ year intensive search and networking campaign as well as trying some consulting on the side, I have just about given up on getting any "management" type position or attaining anywhere near the salary level I had achieved after over 35 years in the workforce. In fact, I was forced to take early Social Security retirement last year when I turned 62 and then was forced to take a menial $10/hour job with an auto dealership, for which I have been working for the last 10 months to supplement my monthly SS benefit check. None of my co-workers has a college degree and most are in their 20s and 30s.
Posted by james k lee
01/10 @ 09:59 PM
Still a flat market. Hiring is weak. On a good note, layoffs are few.
Posted by James E. Howard
01/10 @ 09:51 PM
While I am not sure the market for senior executives has 'turned around' I do believe 2012 is being approached with a more optimistic outlook than the last 3-4 years. As 'growth' starts to replace 'efficiency' companies will pursue top line revenue growth through both organic and acquisition strategies. Both China and Europe will work through their issues, the US will continue to climb out of the deep hole of 2008 and improvement in the job market will then follow. However, it is unlikely that we will see an immediate 'silver bullet' that would return us to the heady days of 2005-2007. Cautious and steady will be the path for many companies.
Posted by Jimmy VALENTE
01/10 @ 08:59 PM
The job market is nice and was always as it it now if you have the real business developer and It recruiter in the same person (background IT).
That's what I'm doing and i never felt any lack on this matter
Posted by Steve S
01/10 @ 08:20 PM
We are still nowhere close to the levels of job creation we attained pre-2008. I see marginal improvement, but not robust hiring. We need better economic stewardship from our political leaders to drive more rapid economic growth on a sustained basis. Instead, we have public policies (perceived or real) that are anti-business and anti-investment.
Posted by William Morrisey
01/10 @ 07:26 PM
Too much Uncertainty is still the major theme in Europe, the USA economy and the upcoming American presidential election in November. Federal Debt levels & Spending levels are still out of control with NO bipartisan answer on the horizon. Where is the recovery? Corporations can and will continue to buy their own stock back or their competition to grow market share before hiring executives or buying
equipment/machinery. Good Luck and God Bless America.
Posted by Bob
01/10 @ 07:15 PM
Regarding the tech field: I am a long time tech exec (CEO/GM/SVP/VP) based in Northern CA, been looking for ~6mos and generally agree with most of the skeptical comments others have made. As I have talked to a number of VC and PE investors in addition to recruiters, I would add the following observations: On the positive side, if you are a software exec, either on the consumer side or enterprise side, there are lots of opportunities at all levels in cloud computing, social networking, etc. However, if you are on the infrastructure side (hardware, systems), this is becoming rapidly commoditized and moving to Asia (i.e. little to no new investment) and you face the needle in the haystack problem regarding finding a job that is only going to get worse (just look at even one of the best and largest companies, Cisco, going through large layoffs).
Posted by Eliab Oluwafemi-Israel
01/10 @ 07:10 PM
Mum is the word until further developments. Economy isn't doing very well and that is to be expected, isn't it?
Posted by Julia Holian
01/10 @ 06:50 PM
Absolutely, the hiring market is getting better and we're expecting 2012 to be a very active year for recruiters. More companies are hiring (at all levels), yet in the Bay Area, most of the hiring we're seeing is in the technology sector. Most newly created positions are at staff and lower management levels, and in specialized positions, while management hiring seems to be more a result of people moving from one company to another.
Posted by Gerry Corbett
01/10 @ 06:44 PM
Bottom line though is that recruiters are completely overlooking 1) senior executives over 50, 2)senior unemployed executives and 3) anyone under 25.
Posted by ellias nardini
01/10 @ 06:44 PM
i strongly think that the job market books are cooked just to cool the big burring wound in our economy, i don't know where they get there no from, i have been on the job market for well over 14 month, i did not even strick one interview. where is these job they are talking about, do you have job for me look me up at linked in :
Posted by Edwin Ostrand
01/10 @ 06:39 PM
Yes, I too see an increased interest in hiring for key positions with the alternative space (hedge funds, fund of funds, etc.), which I specialize in. The talent needs I am seeing are primarily institutional marketers, and specialized industry analyst and portfolio managers. While there is many unemployed individuals on the street, the firms I am speaking with desire currently employed , high-end talent.

Ed Ostrand
727.359.0360 x101
Posted by Ashwani Sharma
01/10 @ 06:14 PM
I donot know where are the jobs.I have 25 years of experince as Qulity Contol Engineer in India having 87 plants world wide and two years experience in Canada.Sitting at home jobless after layoff because my organization was depending upon US orders. Presently part time job for survival.Systems are so much complicated.Ceretifications every where.Canada needs only English speaking labour.Qualified people as doctors and engineers are driving taxi cabs.Only systems no basic R&d;.Its just like a assembly shop importing parts from diffrent countries and assembling them and implementing systems upon them.I have not seen even cycle made in Canada.Graphs are only inflated figures.Engineering is same every where in world.Here to operate small machine u have to do certfication for certification u need money where to go.Why India China economies are growing fast because they work with logic and utilize there man power talent in proper way.Here Engineers /Doctors/MBA qualified persons are working in stores , certified security guards etc,because they have to study again to come in to Canadian system(Income source).Many of my friends have gone back after frustration and depression for not finding proper job.There is flaw in the system.I have seen job requirments mostly 12th class grade with some certification.Then why they are calling qualified people from other countries to work as labour.
Posted by Dianne Mosley
01/10 @ 06:01 PM
I really want to be optimistic, but I am hesitant.
Posted by Ben C. Svrcek; P.E.
01/10 @ 05:58 PM
This is great news - if true. The difficulty I see with the "statistics" often quoted is that is the assumptions are not stated frequently not the same. For example, are we talking about executive positions with a Fortune 500 company or a manager at McDonalds's? Both are technically "executive positions". Time is also important. As in the U.S. statistics on unemployment fourth quarter unemployment goes down because contracts and seasonal labor goes up. Also, this does not count those who have just given up or who are under employed.

I would share the confidence quoted in this article but would also like to see what is behind these numbers and the assumptions made in the survey.
Posted by Antoine
01/10 @ 05:56 PM
I am not seeing any improvement in my situation. Companies are still trying to hire on the cheap, not willing to pay for "experience", and for sure not willing to hire out of real estate, as they truly believe only losers work in real estate. Companies also do not hire people who have been self employed for a while, although that is a big mistake, because there is nothing better to find out how knowledgeable one is, then by working for yourself for a while. I am fairly certain a lot of "executives" would not survive as a self employed person.
Happy greetings to all.
Posted by mac
01/10 @ 05:52 PM
Very tough market since Dec 1999. Some weeks I would see no personal contacts on specific jobs from recruiters in my email But much is different now, starting in about November 2011 I see personal contacts per day. Job posting each month seem to offer better rates better conditions. It is a reminder of what the job market was like in 1999.
Posted by Ilan Bluvstein
01/10 @ 05:46 PM
Yes, I see some pickup in the executive job market. There are definitely more openings for DIrectors, VPs, etc. However, it still feels like a "buyers market". Companies still have the ability and leverage to be more picky about who they interview and hire. They will usually interview execs from the same industry and relevant background. It seems contacts are still more important than skills. When the market becomes a more "sellers market", companies tend to hire based on your abilities, less on your background, since it's harder to find the perfect candidate.
Posted by Walter Flatt CEO
01/10 @ 05:43 PM
You will see a real rebound when we get the idiots and crooks out of Washington.

We had the best economy and the lowest unemployment after 6 years of Bush, then the Democrats (BY THE WAY I AM A REGISTERED DEMOCRAT), took control of the house and senate, they allowed oil go from 18 dollars to over 160 dollars a barrel and gas to over 4 dollas per gal. and you wonder what is wrong with our economy and employment.

It is past time that we put in a 6 year term limit on all areas of government and get rid of all the mess we have in Washington.
Posted by James Hollingshead
01/10 @ 05:39 PM
I most definitely see an improvement - our business demands have accelerated dramatically in the last 60 days alone. I expect that if this trend continues, and I have every expectation it will, that we will see growth we have not witnessed in at least the last 5 years.
Posted by Craig L. Wilson
01/10 @ 05:31 PM
Overall the mood seems to be changing that is certain. However, it appears as if the upswing might be mitigated by a prevailing sense of uncertainty vis-a-vis taxes, Europe, general politics, interest rates, etc.... We might be able to see a sliver of light, but we still need to determine if its a train or the exit. Still too early to tell....
Posted by Fred Lund
01/10 @ 05:24 PM
Our firm provides corporate relocation services, both domestically and internationally. Initial indications point to increased relocations in 2012 ADSI MOVING SYSTEMS, 888-299-0186.
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