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Published on: Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Executive Recruiters Remain Optimistic About 2012 Growth


Confidence among executive recruiters edged up slightly in January as they projected that one in five companies will be adding executive level positions and almost six in 10 companies will selectively "trade up" their management bench strength by recruiting replacements for existing roles over the next six months. Only 1 percent of employers were expected to eliminate executive positions during the same period.

Confidence in the Executive Employment Market — Next 6 Months

In January, ExecuNet's benchmark Recruiter Confidence Index revealed that 57 percent of 157 responding executive recruiters indicated they were "confident" or "very confident" the executive employment market would improve in the next six months. That was up two points from December and marked a second consecutive month in which recruiter confidence crossed the important 50 percent level that historically indicates optimism for a broader expansion of the jobs market.

"The hiring environment from an executive-level perspective has improved marginally and some sectors of the economy aren't contributing to job growth, but these numbers do reflect some optimism for continued business expansion and the kind of white-collar hiring required to sustain it in the coming months," said Mark M. Anderson, president and chief economist of ExecuNet.

"The search for improved business performance is already translating in the senior-management job market, with recruiters expecting some companies to seek replacements for underperforming managers," Anderson added. "This clandestine recruiting activity underscores the existence of a hidden executive job market."

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.

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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.

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