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Executive jobs to rebound

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Could the economy rebound during the second half of this year? If you’re an executive - or looking for an executive job - you’re going to like the answer to that question.

ExecuNet’s 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report points out that executives can expect slow job growth through the first half of 2009, but can look forward to a renewed confidence and economic rebound during the second half of the year.

The report, which was based on a survey of 5,060 executives and 476 search firm consultants and corporate human resource professionals, found that executive recruiters expect search assignments to decrease by 14 percent during the first half of this year, but expect to close out the year being down only 4 percent.

Only 8 percent of CEOs are expecting economic conditions to increase, and of those surveyed, 46 percent say their highest priority is dealing with the uncertainties of the market.

The report further found that 60 percent of search consultants believe there is a shortage of qualified executive candidates. The industries expected to see the most executive job growth include: healthcare; clean and green technology; pharmaceuticals, medical and biotechnology; energy and utilities and business and services.

For those executives who do have a job, satisfaction seems to be increasing. Of those surveyed, 70 percent report they are satisfied with their current jobs, up from 53 percent during 2007. But at the same time, 70 percent of executives say they would listen to a recruiter’s offers.

Executives also are getting paid less, as their compensation decreased by 1.7 percent during 2008. Women alone saw a 14 percent lower pay rate when compared to men. To help with the economic uncertainty, many executives are acquiring compensation packages.

About 34 percent of executive compensation packages negotiated in the last year featured a guaranteed severance lasting more than eight months. On top of that, 39 percent of executives with compensation packages receive perks, down from 51 percent last year. Perks include everything from company cars to club memberships to housing and favorable loans.

Whether it’s by choice or because of the economy, executives aren’t staying at their jobs for as long as before. The average executive tenure declined from 3.2 years during 2007 to 2.8 years during 2008. Those searching for a job expect to spend 10.1 months finding the right position, regardless of status or experience.

So how do executives looking for work find jobs? About 73 percent use networking to find opportunities, helping them rely more on talent and reputation than specific industry skills. About one-in-five searches conducted by corporate HR professionals during the last year was filled by a candidate from another industry.

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