By: Dwain Celistan
In 2010, the job market will begin to improve, and my estimation, it will improve each quarter. Therewill be more opportunities for executives than in ’09. However, many of the strategies and techniquesthat were effective last year, will continue to be required.
My optimism on the job market is based on my role as an executive recruiter. Each week, myorganization has discussions with senior leaders across a variety of firms and many industries. Beyondthose conversations, independent executives are also expecting an improved job market. In a recentarticle, Liz Ann Sonders, SVP, Chief Investment Strategist, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. shared a chart thatcorrelated temporary employment and full time employment. Over several years, there was a 5 monthlag in trends between the two factors. In recent months, temporary employment has shown strength.
Additionally, in a conversation with Mara Swan, EVP HR for Global Strategy and Talent for Manpower,Inc. a large temporary employment firm, she indicated that December was an improved month.Continued improvement is expected in Q1 and Q2. If true, we should see improved temporary andpermanent employment for most of the year.
Since there will be more opportunities available, the key is to convert those opportunities into a positionfor the job seeker. To do that will largely require three elements. First, candidates will still be expectedto have functional expertise. This market will continue to reward executives who have demonstratedskills in a function within the past 3 to 5 years.
Second, organizations will skew their hires to those candidates with industry knowledge. It is less likelythat a service organization will hire a candidate with manufacturing oriented background over a similarcandidate with a service background. The same will generally hold true as you narrow from service to aspecific type of service—food service, financial service, etc.
Third, geographic proximity is a preference, but not a deal breaker. At this time, relocation packagesare not as attractive as they once were. Thus, a relocation will continue to be difficult for the hiringcompany who has streamlined relocation packages. Similarly, candidates may not wish to acceptrelocation packages that leave them with a substantial responsibility for the total costs of moving wherehome sales are slow and values depressed.
There is another trend emerging in the job market for executives–contract to permanent hire. It is ameans to mitigate the risks and advance many key projects for organizations that may have reducedstaffs too thinly. For these contractors, the three factors of functional expertise, industry knowledgeand geographic proximity still apply, it opens the door to opportunities beyond the permanent position.These screens help select the “right” contract employees, but the stakes are not as high for the hiringmanager. An incorrect hire of a contractor does not carry the same weight as it will for a permanent hire.
As you might imagine, these contractors are “plug and play” executives. Thus, they know the functionand probably have industry knowledge. These characteristics would be ideal for someone to come in
and address an immediate need.
Identifying and hiring someone within the geographic proximity of the work location is also ideal.Should the arrangement evolve, the relocation issue will simply appear later. However, for someonewithin commuting distance eliminates that challenge.
This contract to permanent approach is not new, but it is gaining in popularity. Organizations haveneeds, but may not be in a position to immediately commit to a permanent position. Thus, theorganization and the candidate have an opportunity to “kick the tires”. There can be a “probationary”period to gauge output and cultural fit.
Finally, as the job market improves, candidates should focus their job search on their areas of expertisewithin commuting distance. This increases the likelihood of securing that new job opportunity in 2010.
Dwain Celistan is the Career Acceleration Coach for talented executives. He is also an executiverecruiter and the author of 3 books including, You’re Hired! Actions to Get and Keep the JobYou Love. He can be reached at 630-455-0172 or email@example.com. His web site is http://www.consiliumclub.com/Dwain/