I was speaking with some fellow recruiting colleagues in my local market this morning about what kinds of assignments they are finding given our current economic times. A discussion here on RBC yesterday led me to reflect that perhaps I was focusing on the wrong searches - my philosophy as an Executive Recruiter has always been to focus on the assignments that my Clients can't fill on their own . . . however, I keep an open mind and am open to making new decisions based on new information and intel.
See, my reality is one of significant job loss. My brother's plant just closed down and now he may need to take a contractor position in Iraq to feed his family because blue-collar mechanic (rotary wing) positions are tough to come by today. My fiance just learned yesterday that the mill which manufacturs 75% of her firm's high-end wallcoverings line just announced bankruptcy (her firm is re-sourcing, but this is a real blow). My father is waiting to see how many F-22 Fighters are slated to be manufactured as he's a Manager at Lockheed (this is pivotal to the plant here in Marietta, GA). I also know that the number of Americans currently collecting unemployment benefits
rose to the highest levels they have ever been (since our federal gov't started collecting records on this in 1967). For the week ending 1/17/09, those collecting unemployment were at 4,776,000, eclipsing the prior mark set in November 1982, (4,713,000). We have more data coming out this Thursday, I believe . . . and projections are that job losses and unemployment claims are on an increased rise.
What I gathered from my local recruiting colleagues is that search assignments ('job orders') are on a steep decline
, as much as 75% depending niche and vertical focus. As for me, I haven't seen that stark of a decline, but I have seen many hiring freezes which has prompted me to ramp up new business development efforts to offset this risk. When a hiring freeze is instilled, not only do the tougher searches go away, but also do the easy searches ("cake").
I also spoke with Gerry Crispin
, a gentleman whose work and efforts I'm a huge fan of as he always points to the data for his conclusions (which is why they're typically bulletproof, or at a minimum, extremely well substantiated). He assumes nothing and like a true scientist/statistician, he lets the data tell the truth. During a conversation last week, he mentioned that based on SOH data for 2008, it preliminarily looks as if positions filled through Exec Search firms are down substantially as well (we won't get specifics until the Career XRoads 2008 SOH Report
So my question to my fellow Recruiters that have the time to answer this on RBC is the following:
What kind of searches are you finding (& working) in these economic times?