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Herman Trend Alert: Job Growth at the Executive Level


Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at

From “Herman Trend Alert,” by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — The economic slowdown here in the United States is not having the expected effect on the demand for qualified executive talent. ExecuNet’s "2008 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report" finds that increasing demand, along with a shortage of qualified talent and sustained economic growth overseas, is driving better than expected job growth at the executive level.

The sectors with the highest demand are high tech, healthcare, business services, pharmaceuticals/biotech and energy/utilities. The factors credited with the continuing demand for executive talent are an aging workforce and global economic growth, despite the looming threat of recession.


The report also finds, despite of the evidence that the economy could continue to shed temporary and entry-level jobs, recruiting and retaining of executive-level talent will remain "a challenging priority" in 2008. More than 70 percent of search firms and corporate human resource professionals believe there is a shortage of executive talent, and two-thirds (67 percent) say the war for executive talent has intensified over the last year, amid increasing economic uncertainty. No longer is the United States economy the sole determinant of executive demand.

Approximately 40 percent of all employed executives report they are not satisfied with their current jobs. Boredom and a lack of advancement are the most cited sources for their discontent. Only 12 percent of executives indicate compensation as why they’re looking to exit.


Regarding age discrimination, this report points to some good news: 71 percent of search consultants say their clients are "less focused on age than they were in prior years"; and 57 percent of corporate Human Resource executives say that when over 50, "the candidate’s age is not a negative factor in hiring decision." We would hope these U.S. attitudes will rub off on the business environments in other countries where there is less respect for older executive talent; however, except in Europe, the differences in generational populations would mitigate against that shift.

The report, published annually for 16 years by ExecuNet, is designed to give corporate leaders, executive recruiters and HR professionals proprietary employment market intelligence on key trends and developments affecting corporate leadership now and in the future.



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