While the overall employment picture remains unsettled at best, stagnant at worst ( http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/the-1980s-vs-now-cont/ ), there is one area of business in which the pace of hiring is picking up rapidly – the rarified air of corner offices and other “high-rent” corporate real estate. Consider the following:
- The global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that 125 CEO’s departed from their jobs in May, 2010, reflecting a 24% increase from the 101 departures that the firm reported in April. This figure was the highest since July, 2009 when 126 chief executives left their positions during the height of the recession.
- The American Society for Training & Development reports that to date, CEO departures in 2010 outnumber those in 2009 by 13%.
- A 2009 survey by career network ExecuNet found that executives now stay with organizations for only 3.3 years, on average, before moving on, with outside job changes outnumbering internal ones by about two to one. Interestingly, research by Madrid-based IE Business School professor Monika Hamori, reported in the July-August issue of Harvard Business Review ( http://hbr.org/2010/07/managing-yourself-job-hopping-to-the-top-and-other-career-fallacies/ar/1 ) indicates that in contrast to convention wisdom, switching employers does not offer a fast track to the top jobs.
So why the up-tick in executive level hiring? Several reasons come to mind:
- As companies begin to navigate the post-recession “new normal”, they are often fundamentally reexamining their strategies and value propositions. This process of reexamination often benefits from fresh insights and new and different skill and experience sets.
- Venture capital firms are starting to buy more companies, and M&A activity is starting to spike upward. Executives that have experience making acquisitions seem to be in particularly high demand.
- Senior executives that had postponed retirements during the height of the recession now feel a bit more comfortable about their own financial futures (as 401K’s, etc. have recovered somewhat), as well as the survival of the firms that they led.
So, as firms across industries think more about hiring executives, what are some best practices that they should keep in mind? Check out my next blog entry to find out…