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Quote of the Day

"Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."

- James Bryant Conant, former president of Harvard

Executive Job Market Intelligence Report:
Second Half of 2009 Looks Better

(June 5, 2009)

Complacency Could Prevent Some Companies and Senior Executives From Benefitting

Following a decline in executive search assignments in 2008, job growth for business leaders is expected to continue to contract through the first half of 2009 before confidence in an economic rebound builds late in the year, according to ExecuNet's 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report.

Published annually for the past seventeen years by ExecuNet, a private professional network for business leaders, the Executive Job Market Intelligence Report provides corporate leaders, human resource professionals, and executive recruiters with proprietary market intelligence on key trends and best practices in executive-level career development and executive recruitment and retention. Executive-level denotes professionals at the Director/Vice President/C-level with total annual compensation of $150,000 or greater.

"The worst recession in decades is taking its toll on the executive employment market, but it is not affecting all industries or all companies equally," says Mark Anderson, President and Chief Economist at ExecuNet. "While the number of jobs is down and opportunities are harder to find, new leadership roles continue to be created - and found - by those who remain visible and connected. No one can afford to hit the snooze button on their career waiting for a recovery to arrive."

According to the report, which is based on a simultaneous survey of 5,060 executives and 476 search firm consultants and corporate human resource professionals, executive recruiters expect search assignments to decrease 14 percent in the first six months of 2009 before rebounding to close the year down just 4 percent. However, just 8 percent of CEOs are preparing strategies for an economic upturn and 46 percent of all executives report that their highest priority is grappling with the uncertainties of the market.

"Unprecedented economic uncertainty has many organizations and executives focused exclusively on survival,"says Dave Opton, CEO and Founder of ExecuNet. "While this bunker mentality is a well-traveled path during downturns, the consequences can be costly, as executives who are not building sustainable relationships in their network won't be able to revive it in time for the turnaround."

Highlights From The 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report:
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 percent average pay differential is reported. Approximately one-third (34 percent) 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.

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.

For more information on these topics and others including the fastest growing functions and regions, most effective networking strategies, and top professional priorities, a summary of the 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report is available at

Founded in 1988, ExecuNet is a private network for business leaders who believe that the right connections can produce extraordinary results in their careers and organizations. A recognized authority in executive recruiting and human capital, ExecuNet provides members access to confidential six-figure job opportunities, proprietary research, and pragmatic advice. For more information, visit

According to InternetInc, 'management jobs' appeared for the first time in the list of top 30 most searched jobs keywords on Google. In fact, it debuted in the number one spot as you can see in the top job-sites report. Let's hope it drops off the list soon after a quick robust recovery.

Colleen Gildea

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