Executives Expect Lengthy Job Searches in Today's Economy

Today's economy presents job seekers with unrivaled challenges, uncertainty and the expectation of prolonged periods of unemployment, according to executive quiz results released today by The Korn/Ferry Institute. Most of the respondents to Korn/Ferry's latest study have never experienced a lengthy job search, but expectations are changing. In fact, the vast majority of executives predict it will take job seekers more than four months to find a new career opportunity in today's turbulent market.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Fewer than a third (29 percent) of survey respondents had ever required more than three months to find a new career opportunity in the past. However, the tough economic realities and significant job losses have altered expectations moving forward. Eighty-three percent of respondents predict that today's out-of-work executives will be hunting for more than four months for their next opportunity. And 43 percent believe the process will take seven months or longer.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Responses from nearly 1,000 unemployed executives indicate that many are just beginning their job search. Twenty-eight percent have been unemployed less than a month, and 36 percent have been unemployed less than three months. Just 18 percent indicate they have been searching for career opportunities for seven months or longer.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "In the executive ranks, lengthy job searches are not confined to poor economies. It takes time to find the right cultural and functional fit for each position and each candidate," says Cheryl Buxton, global managing director of client services for Korn/Ferry. "We counsel both our clients and candidates to be patient in the search process, and the current economic environment only reinforces that need."<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> One common alternative to jumping back into the labor force is pursuing educational goals. Forty-three percent of unemployed executives say they have either considered or are already going back to school to "wait out" the downturn. Most jobless executives looking at educational opportunities are considering MBAs (23 percent) or other advanced degrees (16 percent).<br clear="none" /> When executives were asked what they miss most about working, compensation not withstanding, the overwhelming majority (74 percent) missed intellectual challenges in the workplace. Other answers included colleagues (21 percent), travel (four percent) and perks such as an expense account, company car, lunches or tickets (one percent).<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> While most executives (55 percent) spend the majority of their time between jobs searching for new opportunities, 23 percent focus their time on professional development. Other executives opt to spend their time off more leisurely with friends and family (12 percent), vacationing/hobbies (seven percent) or just relaxing (three percent).