Can’t Get No… Satisfaction

Originally posted on Healthcare Informatics

Execunet’s most recent report on executive job satisfaction should be a real wake-up call for organizations without a detailed retention strategy. During this crazy economic downturn, we’ve seen firsthand how companies have asked employees at all levels to take on multiple jobs, refusing to replace openings when other team members have left in order to shore up the bottom line. Now that the market is opening up a bit, the tides will be shifting and some of the decisions made over the past 24-30 months…well, let’s just say they may come back to haunt the employer, as workers at all levels (see table below) explore options outside their current company.

Source: 2010 ExecuNet/Finnegan Mackenzie Executive Retention Report

Here’s the dilemma – the market indicators predict high (hyper) growth, and even now the demand for talent in our sector has never been stronger. Added to the data in the graph above, it’s clear we have some very unhappy campers! If I could give employers one piece of advice, it would be to make sure there’s a detailed retention plan in place to keep the ‘A’ players fully engaged – and happy. Now is the time to evaluate their workloads, quality of work/life balance, and yes – their compensation. Spend time with each one and let them know how important they are to the success of the organization. Many employers scaled back or eliminated merit and performance-based bonuses over the last couple of years, and while that made the PandL look better, it didn’t feel good to the employee who felt it on the other end.

Recognition is often overlooked by employers and now would be a really great time to pause and thank your ‘A-Team’ for a job well done. Listen to their concerns and watch out for early signs of potential flight risk – think about the lost opportunity cost of having to replace their skill and value to your team. It’s probably far greater than you might think.

Our phones are ringing off the hook now that companies are finally beginning to hire again. That’s (very) good news if you can locate and attract great talent to help you scale your organization, but could also be (very) bad news if the talent they recruit comes directly from your organization. So many candidates that contact our firm are sick and tired of the way they are being treated and can’t wait to leave as soon as they find a new home. Don’t let your great people leave – they’ll likely be (very) very hard to replace in the short-term.

Just one man’s opinion.

The Job Market Outlook is Improving

I was very encouraged recently when I participated in a Webinar on the state of US job market. Mark Anderson, President of Execunet gave a very detailed snapshot of where the job market is today and where it is going.

While HCIT is as hot as a match and suddenly the place to be – we too have seen fewer search assignments than this same period last year and the year before. But that’s about to change. Healthcare is (again) listed as one of the top 5 sectors that will generate the most jobs in 2009. Another key metric I noted is it takes over 10 months for an executive to find a new job – regardless of their current employment status!

Here are a few highlights from Execunet’s 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report across all industries:

Employment Market Outlook
Despite the economic downturn, 60 percent of search consultants believe there’s a shortage of qualified executive talent.
The industries expected to generate the most executive job growth in 2009 include: Healthcare, Clean/Green Technology, Pharmaceuticals/Medical/Biotech, Energy/Utilities, and Business Services.
Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is on the rise, as 70 percent of all employed executives report they are satisfied with their current jobs — up sharply from 53 percent in 2007. However, this may be more gratitude than true satisfaction, as 70 percent say they are ready to listen if a recruiter calls.
To attract new executive talent, companies must appeal not only to the desire for challenging work and a great boss, but must also answer executive concerns surrounding industry prospects and job security, which together represent the biggest reason for dissatisfaction.
Executive Compensation
Total executive compensation on average decreased 1.7 percent in 2008.
Women executives showed closer compensation parity to men than in prior years, except at the top of the organization, where a 14% average pay differential is reported.
Approximately one-third (34%) of all executive compensation packages negotiated in the past 12 months featured guaranteed severance lasting an average of just over eight months. Amid increasing public scrutiny, 39 percent of all executive compensation packages featured perks, including company cars, club memberships, housing, and favorable loans — down from 51 percent one year ago.
The average executive tenure continues to decline from 3.2 years in 2007 to 2.8 years in 2008; a result of corporate belt tightening and increasing demand for different skill sets in key leadership functions.
From preparation to landing, job search is taking longer. Executives in a job search now expect to spend an average of 10.1 months searching for their next position regardless of their employment status.
Candidate Sourcing/Job Search Strategies
Networking accounts for almost three-in-four (73 percent) job opportunities uncovered by executives — trumping job websites and other forms of advertising.
Approximately one-in-five searches conducted by corporate HR professionals during the past 12 months was filled by a candidate from another industry, as companies focus on “trading up” for different skills to fill their existing executive positions.
The market is turning and whether you are looking for a new career opportunity or planning to upgrade or hire new talent for your organization – you need to develop an action plan and engage. Now.