Survey Finds Executive-Level Job Searches Taking Longer

In a survey of senior executives in job transition, DBM, a New York-based human resources consulting firm, has found that the seekers are taking significantly longer today to land a job than at any other time over the last seven years. The data was gathered from about 650 senior-level executives who attended DBM's Center for Executive Options over a five-year period. The length of time to find a new, senior level position in today's job market is in excess of 12 months as opposed to about seven months in 1998. In addition, job tenure is decreasing. Average tenure has dropped from a high of 17 years in 2001 to 12 years in 2003, with 31% of those polled overall having been with their previous employer for five years or less. "Top jobs are taking longer to find and are more difficult to secure," says Denis St. Amour, president of the Center for Executive Options. "Decision makers are scrutinizing senior level applicants more closely. The good news is that organizations are looking for greater accountability. The bad news is that with increasingly shorter tenures, executives are under pressure to produce near-term results -- perhaps at the expense of longer-term success." Other outcomes that influence senior-level professionals experiencing a job search include:

  • Downsizing: In the years 2001-2003 year-to-date, 18% of executives were in transition due to a downsizing, versus 6.1% in the years 1997-2000.
  • Age: Average age of senior executives is decreasing from 50 to 46 years.
  • Compensation: Average compensation upon re-employment, while relatively stable for the last five years, has dropped 21% year-to-date from 2002.
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