Executive Job Market Trends

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Most executive search firms report that they have experienced a double-digit decline in search assignments during the first half of 2009 in comparison to the same period for 2008. According to a recent ExecuNet poll cited in their RecruitSmart Today newsletter, more than 33% say that they received 50% fewer assignments during the first 2 quarters, with the average dip being 27.4%.

On the other hand, demand appears to be increasing for CEOs, executives, and board of directors members with one important qualification: They can skillfully balance risk management while meeting revenue targets. If you can integrate the latest techniques and standards in risk management and deliver sales and growth at the same time, your talent is sought at a high premium. The need for executives and directors with financial acumen is also high. Recruitment of directors is expected to accelerate as the end of 2009 approaches, so that new board members are in place for annual meetings as 2010 opens.

Ironically, with the possibility of government and court intervention in executive employment contracts, the performance-based compensation contracts that are most common to those executives responsible for P&L; or revenue generation are most in the crosshairs. Search firm Michael D. Zinn & Associates recently polled executives and found, not surprisingly, that twice as many who held responsibility in these areas were opposed to government involvement, and thus reluctant to change employers based on the concern their compensation agreements could be changed after the fact.

What does this mean for you when writing your executive resume or interviewing for a position? Be sure to emphasize any expertise and experience you have in risk management, driving sales and revenue growth, and financial control.