With U.S. employers hiring more than 150,000 additional staff in December, all the signs are that strong overall employment growth is having a significant impact on higher-end jobs paying in excess of $100,000.
January is likely to see a big increase in top-end job hopping, according to research by TheLadders.com, an online recruitment service for $100,000+ jobs.
The company's Quarterly Executive Employment Outlook for the fourth quarter of 2006 found that opportunities abound for top earners and top employers.
Among active job seekers, optimism reigned supreme. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of executives said that now is a better time to be in the job market than last year and a third anticipated having to apply for fewer than 20 vacancies before getting an offer.
During the same period last year, the same percentage of job seekers anticipated having to apply to between 20 and 50 vacancies before landing a job.
Similarly, a third of this year's job seekers expect to be in the job market for just three months or less. In 2005, executives braced themselves for 3-6 month job searches.
In a further sign that January will live up to its reputation as the prime time for executive job searches, a third of those surveyed also said they knew of at least two peers who were also actively seeking a new position.
"Executives tend to job-hop more frequently in a strong economy and hunker down when things are slower. So, the headline Labor Department number sends ripple effects into the high-end market," said Marc Cenedella, president and CEO of TheLadders.com.
"This year, we're seeing a perfect storm of strong econometrics, seasonality and good old fashioned optimism come together to boost activity in the $100,000+ market."
TheLadders.com's found the hottest $100,000+ job markets are San Francisco, New York, Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Diego.
Thanks in large part to renewed growth in the technology and Internet sectors, San Francisco has emerged as the top talent magnet. Not only is it the area with the highest number of job-seekers from other locations looking to move in, but it has the least competition for every available job. Among the firms doing the most high-end hiring in the region are Cisco Systems, eBay, Sun Microsystems, Google and Charles Schwab.
Elsewhere in the U.S., New York and Boston have also seen exceptional strength in the financial and healthcare sectors. Companies such as Citigroup, Fidelity Investments, Ernst & Young, Schering-Plough, Wyeth and The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory all contribute to the allure of the east coast.
Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago and San Diego have also maintained a steady balance of job openings and job-seeking activity.
Faring less well are Detroit, Tampa and Dallas. All three have seen decreases in out-of-state job searches and stiff competition for every available opening.
The research is just the latest to paint a bullish picture of the jobs market for 2007. Last month, a survey by recruiter ExecuNet predicted that 2007 is going to be a very competitive Ė and expensive Ė year for talent, with firms offering enhanced benefits and bonus packages in order to attract and retain key people.
Executive level job growth could increase by as much as 12 per cent during 2007, ExecuNet suggested, prompting a high-level retention crunch among employers who failed to take proactive steps to pre-empt it.