According to the Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Needleman, executive recruiters see an uptick in executive jobs for 2010.
Her finding is based on Execunet’s Recruiter Confidence Index, an historically reliable indicator. The December 2009 study shows that slightly more than half of the 153 recruiters surveyed expect a 19% rise in executive-search assignments during the first half of 2010, and 21% are planning to add recruiting staff to support the anticipated growth.
Additionally, 54% (up from 50% in November) said they were confident the top-level executive employment market will improve in the next six months.
Mark Anderson, president and chief economist of ExecuNet, a private network for business leaders, noted:
“All of this bodes well for executive job seekers and for those employed business leaders who may have deferred searching for new career opportunities in the last 12 to 18 months. The anticipated increase in search activity shows companies have started to expand their workforces after a long period of cutbacks.”
Heidrick & Struggles’ vice chair John Wood says these findings mirror their own. “We are definitely seeing a resurgence in board and CEO recruitment and would expect that to continue in 2010,” he says.
Mr. Wood suggests one reason for the turnaround is that executives who postponed retirement are now preparing to step down. “As equity markets return and stocks trade up, people are now in a position to execute their retirement plans,” he says.
And board directors no longer feel compelled to stick around.
“They didn’t want to make changes in the boardroom during a period of turmoil or difficulty,” Wood says. “There’s really the abatement of the siege mentality now. Things are starting to sort themselves out a bit, so people are saying, ‘I can step off.'”