During a Recession, hiring practices generally don’t change, but companies are much more careful in evaluating the need for additional staff — be it executive or otherwise. When possible, they tend to look more closely before adding outside hires. In many cases, companies consolidate responsibilities and do more with less staff. Early signals of this are when companies don’t replace positions left vacant by normal attrition. As business trends continue in the manner that they have during the last two quarters of this year, and into 2009, companies feel the pressure to reduce overhead expenses. This could be reduction in facilities (more virtual employees), reduction in workforce, accompanied by increased responsibilities and reduction in compensation packages. Of course, companies still seek the right executive talent to manage “the new order” going forward.
Companies Hiring Right now
Currently, we are seeing some hiring in the public sector, technology, alternative/green energy and life sciences/medical sectors. To a lesser extent, there are some midcap companies in the industrial sector that are continuing to grow as larger concerns exit markets, leaving a void for lower cost, higher value options. Indicators also point to a resurgence in finance & accounting roles across industries.
From Entry-Level to Executive
Right now, it’s tough for both executives and entry-level employees, but particularly challenging for executives to match employment opportunities that exist in better times. Generally speaking, the higher the price tag, the longer the job search. Revenue producers, at all levels, are highly coveted in this business environment. As for entry-level job seekers, there are still opportunities for the determined.
Flexibility to the needs of the prospective employer would be advised. What the prospective employee can contribute to the bottom line is the key to success in a job search during these times. The use of one’s business and personal network should be a vital strategy—get the word out. Be aware of current events in the industry or sector being sought—the volatility of business is at a high point. There is no excuse to be unaware with so many communication tools at one’s disposal.
Trends in the Current Employment Markets
Retention of current, valued employees has taken a greater importance. In many companies downsizing has already occurred. As business units operate with leaner teams, every member of the team takes on a more important role in the organization. The loss of top performers is highlighted even more in tough times, as productivity could experience a decline, along with adding the cost of replacement. Some might say that with crisis comes opportunity.
(About the Author: Juan Morales is managing director of the Miami office of Stanton Chase International. The 450-member organization conducts local, regional and international executive search campaigns for many top companies worldwide. Stanton Chase currently has 66 offices in 41 countries. There are 12 offices in North America. For more information, visit www.stantonchase.com)