This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

June 16, 2004

Executive Exits Expected

Executives are restless. Employers expect leaders at top levels to depart at a substantially faster rate over the next few years, compared to what has been seen over the past few years.

Results from a recent poll conducted by The Association of Executive Search Consultants revealed that 54 percent of executives responding expect to work for seven or more employers during their career, compared to nine percent who felt that way ten years ago. During 1989, in a significantly more stable work environment, 57 percent of executives anticipated that their careers would involve work at just one, two, or three companies. In 1994, as the employment market began to shift to condone---and even encourage---job movement, that figure had plummeted to 28 percent, a more than 50 percent drop. Today only seven percent believe that their career flow will limit their work to just a few employers.

The social expectation today is definitely trending toward a much higher rate of executive movement. Part of this fluidity is driven by downsizing, restructuring, outsourcing, off-shoring, and the influence of changes at the tops of organizations. Volatility in the Chief Executive Officer’s position is often followed by replacements of other senior executives. Another vital factor is the power of executives to guide their own careers, to shift alliances as opportunities become available. Internet-assisted networking and active executive recruiters keep receptive executives informed of current and future openings, stimulating movement to more challenging and/or more valuable positions.

Employers are becoming much more adept at selecting candidates who are most suitable for specific jobs, both long-term roles and short-project leadership assignments. Simultaneously, as they map their career paths executives are becoming more particular and more proficient at distinguishing which opportunities are best for them. If their current position is not challenging, meaningful, and rewarding, they will deliberately seek positions where they can make a difference.

As the economy and job market heat up, more executives will change employers, which will influence the leadership style and performance at the companies they leave and the companies they join. New leaders often create new directions and opportunities.

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