Post Recession: Executive Pay on the Rise

01/04/2013 02.46 EST

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In the years leading up to the recession, the talent market was hot. Unemployment in 2007 was hovering in the 4.5 percent range and U.S. GDP growth – while not as robust as the late 1990s – had recovered nicely from the business and geo-political turmoil of the early part of the decade.   These factors created a business environment where the need for new senior executive talent was at a premium, and the price companies were willing to pay for such talent showed it.   In a recent study of our executive placements since 2006, we found that executives changing jobs in the two years leading up to the financial meltdown enjoyed a windfall in terms of compensation increases. On average, they were receiving an increase in total compensation of almost 25 percent.   Executive pay drops with the economy – 56% in 2 years   Adding to low unemployment and high GDP growth, a key demographic issue seemed to be fueling this increased appetite for talent: the upcoming mass retirement of the Baby Boomer generation. The eldest of the Baby Boomers were turning 60 in 2006. They had recouped their investment losses, their retirement accounts were bursting at the seams, and they appeared on the verge of enjoying the “New 40” at their leisure. Then, well, you know the story.   As the enormity of the financial meltdown took hold in late 2008, it threw U.S. corporations into turmoil. At first, they were paralyzed and began instituting hiring...

The Hiring Manager Has No Clothes

07/12/2012 09.19 EST

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When swapping stories with fellow talent acquisition professionals on assignments that yielded less-than-satisfactory outcomes, the question usually comes up as to when the search went awry.  The answer almost invariably is that it went wrong from the start.  Whether it was the position not being filled or the placed candidate ultimately failing in his or her new role, if you trace back through the steps in the process, there was something that happened early on in the search that spawned a problem.  Often it’s the Hiring Manager to blame, with a view of the position – or himself – that is divorced from reality and no other stakeholder can muster the managerial courage to confront and correct the problem.   It is not unusual for a Hiring Manager to have a different view of a role’s ideal candidate profile than might a peer, partner or subordinate.  When a healthy debate is facilitated among these stakeholders, most often a clear and accurate view of the requirements for success in the open position are identified and incorporated into the search strategy.  However, as you move higher up in the organization, occasionally you will encounter a few archetypical hiring managers whose orientations can reduce the likelihood of a successful outcome.  Here are a few “types” I’ve encountered during my career and some suggestions on how to deal with them.   The “This Is My Hire” Hiring Manager This Hiring Manager doesn’t want you to talk to anyone but her about...

The Ideal Retained Search Relationship

11/21/2011 12.27 EST

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While conducting the search for a Vice President of Human Resources for an international consumer goods company last year, I had the hardest time convincing the hiring manager to interview one of the candidates we surfaced for the position.  She had fewer years of experience than he was seeking, her industry exposure was related but not a one-to-one match and she had several moves early in her career – something he reacted negatively to.  He just did not want to interview her.  After going back and forth with him as the search progressed, I finally said “Brian, trust me. She’s the right person for the job.”   He begrudgingly acquiesced and, after three rounds of interviews, enthusiastically offered her the role.  He promoted her within six months of her start date.  While speaking with him recently about his reluctance to grant that first interview, he said “I would never have interviewed her based on her resume.”  At that point, I knew I had earned my fee for the assignment.   Retained search did itself a disservice during the pre-information age when it held up the mysteries of candidate development as one of the key differentiators for the industry.  The message was “we can find people that you can’t.”  The industry made it seem like there was some black box—locked away in the safe at corporate headquarters—that held the names of executives who somehow couldn’t be accessed by those not initiated into the executive search club.  As candidate...

Notes from the World of Talent Acquisition

11/02/2011 12.21 EST

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I had the opportunity to attend “The New Talent Management: Strategies for the Future,” this year’s theme for the annual Global Conference hosted by the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruiters (IACPR) in New York City last week.  IACPR connects professionals in executive search with talent acquisition leaders at several Fortune 500 companies.  The mood at the conference was clear – recruitment volume is way up for both internal and external professionals in 2011, and the expectation is that this activity will increase even more in 2012.  If only companies were hiring rank-and-file employees at the same rate they are hiring executives, we could make a significant dent in unemployment!   Some takeaways from the conference that I’d like to share with you:   Social Recruiting Hype is Still Outstripping its Utility Social media still hasn’t gained significant traction as an effective recruiting resource.  While 70% of corporate recruiters are using social media to source candidates, only 3% of executive hires come from this source, according to Donna Weiss from the Corporate Leadership Council (CLC).  I wonder if we might be quibbling a bit on the definition of “source” in these data, but if accurate, the message to corporate recruitment leaders is clear: if your recruiters are spending a good amount of their days trolling on sites like LinkedIn, you’re probably not making the best use of their time.  Candidates, too, need to get out of their home offices, breathe some fresh air and schedule a...