In an increasingly globalized world, how can you put yourself in the front running for the top positions? In this follow-up to "The Impact of Globalization On Executive Job Searches and Economic Prosperity”, I provide some tips and hints from readers and recruiters on how to succeed in your job search in today’s difficult economic environment and harsh employment market.
In my prior article, I wrote about researcher David Gray’s decade-long research that indicates the highest-paying executive jobs in some organizations have increasingly been influenced by large institutional investment firms. His research indicates that many of these firms’ focus on short-term, "quick fix” investment outcomes has resulted in the replacement of the most experienced executives with younger, less expensive, more malleable junior managers. And as Mr. Gray predicted in his writings over two years ago, these changes have in turn created corporate cultures that devalue competence, wisdom and analytical thought, in a trickle down effect from their executive management teams. The result: firms and even entire industries where quantity and low cost win out over innovation, quality and customer satisfaction.
In a follow-up interview, Mr. Gray noted that well-qualified executive job applicants over age 35 “should not beat themselves up over what may appear to be illogical results in some firms’ final candidate selections. As frustrating as it is to these individuals, they should realize that these situations will eventually correct themselves” in the marketplace, he says.
In fact, Gray says he is seeing in his research some early signs that some firms are starting to realize the cost of hiring junior and inexperienced executives. These costs include quality issues impacting major consumers, lawsuits, lost market share, insidious decline and in some cases, bankruptcy. Or, we can look to the financial investment markets' meltdown for a prime example.
Until the market more broadly forces companies to again value long-term loyalty, experience and innovation, experienced job seekers will have to work hard to differentiate themselves and get jobs in such a volatile employment market. Mr. Gray, CIO's readers and recruiters shared the following suggestions for making sure you're one of the final candidates on your targeted firms' wish lists.
This tip is by far the most obvious solution to this problem, and the one suggested most often by recruiters I polled. As one executive recruiter put it, “Why would anyone want to work in an environment like that?!” Instead, look for industries and firms that third-party analysts have evaluated as “recession proof”, “best places to work”, “investor top buys”, or any firm that Warren Buffet invests in. Mr. Gray offers three ways to help job seekers identify organizations that value short-term profits over long-term experience, innovation, quality and customer satisfaction, in order to avoid them:
1. Research the firm’s finances, and especially their investors and shareholders. If the insider and institutional amount to over 75 percent of the total public float, especially if only one or a few institutional investors, that is one indication to look deeper. With such a large volume of ownership in very few hands, this has the potential to create an oligopoly-like control internally, which in turn could foment the kind of corporate executive culture Mr. Gray describes.
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