Nov 16, 2009 | Post by: Vikki Pachera Comments Off on The Current Job Market

The Current Job Market

Here’s an excerpt out of our Fall Newsletter…

The Current Job Market

I wish we could summarize how we’re seeing the current job market in a ‘word’ but it’s a far more complex story than that. There are many open jobs, some very difficult to fill.  The level of talent being hired today is very high—candidates need to be a perfect fit and fully vetted—though not because of the common myth that there’s more to choose from.  There’s an imbalance in where we are seeing jobs as well—some geographies are ‘dry’ as are some functions.  Unfortunately, we continue to see people displaced due to the new bar on personal performance, because of undercapitalization, mergers and the like.

A Discriminating Drought

We’re seeing a number of new roles in certain cities–New York and San Francisco come to mind, and not a lot of hiring in other areas. Talent is often in the wrong location but relocation is so difficult right now—even a +$100K relocation package doesn’t cut it because the package often ‘times out’ before the old home is sold, leaving the employee in a tough spot.  We haven’t placed someone in an IT role in some time but we’ve been really busy with anything associated with revenue—sales, marketing and product development..

Wanted: “Rock Star”

In May, Business Week ran an article about the 3 million jobs that are open in the US that have been difficult to fill.  Opening a new requisition is a thoughtful process in most companies these days, often requiring the CEO to sign off.  Companies want and need someone to jump in and hit the ground running.  There’s no appetite for “on the job training”, in fact, lateral moves are most common, not promotional moves. Given the recent headlines about Deans, CxOs and others trumping up their resumes and other bad behavior, we’re vetting candidates deeply to ensure they are as they appear.  The fact is the top 20% of talent has always enjoyed a tight job market and continues to.

How to Keep the Job you Have

Success can shield a litany of sins and never is that more apparent than when the economy takes a downturn.  Increasingly, we’re doing replacement searches.  A year or two ago, the executive was doing a good job. Fast forward to 2009 and suddenly these players can’t sell, they have a bad attitude, and their performance has fallen to marginal at best.

People with jobs are working harder than ever; the performers are putting in long hours, taking on additional assignments and have a great attitude.

We expect some stabilization in the coming quarters though job losses will continue whether that’s fueled by startups continuing to run out of cash, or continued consolidation including the mega deals like Oracle/Sun and HP/EDS. No longer are you trying to keep from being in the bottom 10% of the organization, you now have to be in the top half or better to feel safe. And the only way to ensure that happens is to pour it on every day.

So, while the story is complex, we have clearly seen the bottom and are far from the ‘free fall’ that was happening in the dark days of winter.  We believe it will continue to be a tough market for job seekers and for employers throughout the coming months.

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