Search Firm Confidence Low, But Employees At A 10-Year High

Search firms are losing confidence that executive employment will improve anytime soon, according to what ExecuNet’s Recruiter Confidence Index shows. It declined in August after a flat July. Overall, the Index has now been below 40 for three consecutive months and under the magic 50 for even longer.

What this means, says ExecuNet’s President and chief economist Mark Anderson is that companies are taking a “wait and see attitude toward hiring for the next several months.” The impending presidential election, and Congressional inaction on the expiring tax cuts and budget issues have prompted companies to be especially cautious in their hiring.

ExecuNet surveys executive search firms to develop the Index, which is a measure of industry confidence in future hiring.  A number above 50 is an indicator of job growth ahead. The current reading,  Anderson says, shows that “at this point, recruiters are not overly optimistic that the executive employment market will soon be significantly expanding.”

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From what the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data shows, search firms themselves have yet to reflect that same sense of caution in their own hiring. There are more search firm employees today than at any time in the past decade. In July, the most recent month available, there were 32,200 workers employed in all capacities at search firms nationwide.

After the start of the recession in December 2007, search firm employment rose in that first year, then declined in 2009, reaching a low of 25,700 workers three years ago this month. July’s level is a 25.3% increase since then.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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