‘Twas the best of times, ‘twas the worst of times’ — Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities.
Impact of bad economic times on executive supply of talent and salaries
The impact of the recent economic downturn on employment is not new. Nor should we be surprised of its occurrence as most in the workforce can attest having it seen it before. It replicates scenarios similar to those of previous downturns. Downsizings, rightsizings, the consolidations of corporate America and on and on, are but a few of the reverberations that have had an effect on overall employment, not only domestically, in North America, but this time globally.
With all of the above happening, prevalent is the thinking that there exists an abundant availability of good people with salary demands seemingly more realistic and for arguably, significantly fewer positions. Hence, with the law of supply and demand currently favoring the employer side or so it might seem, ‘in-house’ is the preferred and cost effective direction to take in recruiting for leadership talent.
Published unemployment figures do not necessarily reflect talent availability. Many a position particularly requiring a specific / combination of professional credentials, specialized experience and skills, is difficult to staff at all times, good or bad. For other positions, our experience indicates that in bad economic times, those who are employed are loath to leave the security of the ‘known’ for the ‘unknown.’ These despite expressing an interest in the position, for the most part, turn into ‘tire kickers’, are not an accurate measure of availability and merely a way to keep an eye on the market. From the so- called large pool of talent, those seeking to become engaged, their profiles generally do not align with the requirements of the position, If they do, internal corporate resources may have difficulty accessing them.
Finally, a search conducted internally and from all the appearances successful, may in short order prove otherwise due to an internal recruiting process (or lack thereof) that is not structured, rigorous and lacking thorough due diligence.