Executive jobs to ride out economic woes

Feb 04 2008 by Nic Paton Print This Article

The stock market may resemble the Rockies in its ups and downs and there are growing concerns that U.S may already be in a recession, but it'd be wrong to assume as a result that demand for senior-level executives is waning.

A study by business leaders network ExecuNet has concluded that job growth at the executive level is set to remain resilient in many industries

The outlook for leadership job growth in many industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals and consumer staples remained strong, insisted Mark Anderson, ExecuNet president and chief economist.

"At the executive-level, the fundamentals of the employment market point toward sustained growth," he said.

"Demand for executive talent in the industries closest to the credit crunch, including real estate and financial services, may slow but it won't dry up completely," he added.

But even here, while there have clearly been casualties from the sub-prime fall-out, talent will out and will be sought after, according to a study by executive search firm CTPartners.

Its annual list of "hot" executive jobs has, perhaps unsurprisingly, earmarked risk management specialists as a key growth area within financial services.

Chief executives with a background in operational and risk management and chief risk officers will be in fierce demand, as will good chief financial officers and alternative investment strategists.

The "super rich" would continue to want talented wealth managers, while the constant jockeying for position between Google, Apple and Microsoft (now of course pursuing Yahoo!) means digital media and technology firms will still be looking for the brightest top talent.

"Next year jobs globally will be driven by good news and bad, from the growing ranks of the super-rich looking for wealth management, to the needs of businesses reeling from turmoil in the credit markets," said CTPartners chief executive Brian Sullivan.

"As always, innovation is the best hedge in an uncertain economy, and we'll see it from new leaders in social community and digital media Ė and from perennial leaders continuing to reinvent themselves like Google, Apple and Microsoft. Overall, we see a diverse and promising executive jobs market for 2008," he added.

ExecuNet's Anderson last year correctly predicted that executive search firms would receive an 18 per cent increase in assignments from corporate clients during the year.

This year he has forecast more moderate growth, but growth nevertheless.

"Demand for executive talent will likely rise eight percent in 2008 versus double-digit growth experienced over the last few years," he predicted.

"While much of this growth will be masked by an inevitable increase in the broader U.S. unemployment rate, executives will be well-served to look beyond the headlines and apparent volatility. There are quite a few pockets of growth creating a steady stream of new opportunities," he added.

At the other end of the career scale, there is also good news for graduates coming on to the U.S. jobs' market, despite the economic dark clouds.

Jobs' website CollegeGrad.com has suggested that entry-level employers are increasing their hiring by 11.8 per cent in 2008.

This, it added, was the largest projected increase in entry-level hiring seen by the website since 2005.