Recently I was involved in a high profile executive search for two senior finance roles that gave me the opportunity to first-hand experience the rapidly changing dynamics of the executive job search market.
Whether you are actively seeking new career opportunities or happily enjoying your current role, the changing trends in the talent market are so significant that sooner or later everyone would be somehow impacted. Unfortunately, not many executives and professionals are taking notice of the change and particularly those who are active in the job market are getting deeply frustrated by repeating the approaches that are fast becoming obsolete.
Before I can highlight what is working in executive job search and what is not working, it is important to understand the root causes that are driving such rapid changes. Since the turn of the century, the following trends in the talent market have emerged quite strongly:
1. Businesses have become more efficient and productive:
Since beginning of the century with dot.com crash, 9/11 crises and more recently the global economic recession, businesses have learned to do more with less. Despite most businesses have recovered their volumes, the jobs eliminated during the economic crises are not coming back. Businesses have learned to work with few resources. This is the new equation to which businesses have reset. And, of course, shareholders are happy.
2. Talent demand & supply ratio is getting worse:
With globalization, increasing awareness and mushroom growth of educational institutions, there is an exponential growth in the supply of talent. This has seriously impacted the demand and supply ratio in the talent market. There is an over-supply of talent which is not expected to change in the foreseeable future. As a result over-qualified professionals are doing junior level jobs at lower rate of compensation.
3. Employers are becoming less loyal to their employees:
With the over-supply, talent is fast becoming a commodity tempting employers to be less loyal to their employees and replace or eliminate them more often. No wonder, average job tenures are reducing fast.
4. Recruiters are getting overwhelmed with the high volume response from candidates:
Technology has made it extremely easier for job seekers to apply for any job available anywhere in the world as long as it can be found on the internet. Until late last century, the recruiters or employers were considered lucky if they could attract 20-30 qualified candidates against a job posting. Today, for an attractive job posted publicly, it is a norm to receive 500+ CVs within 24 hours.
5. Fewer jobs are being posted publicly:
With the high level of expected responses, recruiters and employers are reluctant to post jobs publicly, particularly for senior level positions. As a result most available job openings have become hidden and beyond the reach of average job seekers.
In the new scenario, sending volumes of your CV to multiple job postings is not going to help much. The average time a recruiter spends scanning through a CV has now reduced from 15-20 seconds to 5-6 seconds. Chasing a few jobs with hundreds of other qualified candidates is becoming more like trying to win a lottery. It must be better than that. You need a different game plan; a different strategy.
No doubt, it’s a tough environment but that’s the new reality that we must accept and gear up to the challenge. I have witnessed several professionals and senior executives recently who have been able to successfully land attractive and lucrative jobs. There are some common trends and innovative ideas that helped them achieve their target roles in a tough and highly competitive environment.
As a professional your career is your most important business and you must proactively manage it. Rather than chasing jobs, you need to attract new career opportunities. This requires continuous development of your professional skills and knowledge as well as marketing your talent. In the new environment, personal marketing is inevitable. Marketing helps people know what you are good at so they can benefit from you.
In my next article, I will share with you the several personal marketing strategies and tactics that can help you to be visible and look distinct in a crowded talent market so that recruiters and employers can notice you rather than you chase them.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saleem Sufi is a CFO Leadership Coach and Strategy Expert with more than 20 years CFO level experience working for top world class Fortune 500 and Private Equity owned companies in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe and United States. He is the Founder and President of MECA CFO Alliance where he leads the CFO Academy with an entire focus on leadership development and career growth among the senior Finance community.