Tomasz Lisewski: Overall the executive job market showed a good recovery, however it was a mixed bag by industry. While aviation, hospitality, traditional retail and automotive continue to suffer, our clients kept landing in growing industries like tech, financial services, healthcare, and e-commerce. We have seen a positive surprise from education / non-profit and government becoming top 5 industry. As well as energy, construction and real estate coming up in the top 10 industries where our clients have landed in 2021. I expect this trend to continue in 2022. I think this is the Barrett Group’s strength—to help our clients transition to industries that are growing.
Peter Irish: Well, I certainly agree with Tomasz that we all have a lot to be thankful for given the background conditions. We’ve just completed our annual All Industry Update that covers about 3.6 million C-level and VP executives on three continents. And indeed the churn rate was about 4.3% overall, and higher in Europe.
Of the businesses we have looked at in detail so far, Financial Services is by far the largest. It comprises banking, investment management, accounting, tax advice and insurance. About 400,000 executives work in this business in our respective geographies. And there was significant movement throughout 2021. Black Rock, for example, tops the bill on growth at 12.5% increase in the number of executives. But in absolute terms JP Morgan added more than 500 in the period and CitiBank another 360.
Peter Irish: My perspective is that the so-called unpublished market is pretty much always alive and well. There are always managers and owners wracking their brains in their spare time for how they can solve this issue. Or take advantage of that opportunity. Or resolve some bubbling crisis. We help our clients appear like Johnny on the Spot at the right time. So that even when the role is not yet fully defined and certainly not advertised, our clients can step in and present a solution while they help to define the role. This gives our clients huge leverage in negotiating their compensation along the way because no formal package has been predefined for a role that has just been created.
Peter Irish: Well, perhaps that is not quite true. We saw a huge influx of clients in 2021 but I think that could be because you are doing a good job marketing our services, Marion. More executives are becoming aware of career management and taking advantage of it to proactively manage their own careers.
Tomasz Lisewski: I must admit that the results exceeded my expectations with three-fold increase in the number of clients landing in the region. It happened across the European Union: Benelux, Germany, France. But also Italy and Spain, as well as the UK, Switzerland in Europe and UAE and other GCC countries in the Middle East. The key driver for that was our consulting team’s expansion, giving us a presence in all key markets.
Peter Irish: New York City remains the number one location for executives worldwide based on our data. There are some 260,000 C-level and VP executives there and this number is up about 2% against prior year. Los Angeles is number two in the ranking at about 180,000 followed by San Francisco at 99,000 and Washington DC at 96,000. But these latter three show relatively modest growth of just 1.3-1.8% per annum.
Frankly, we expected a rather modest increase in the The Barrett Group’s US business in 2021 due to Covid-19 and the economy at large but are pleased to report massive growth—50% more clients—as well as excellent landing and negotiation results. We are actively helping clients pivot to higher quality jobs that better fit their lives and, of course, pay more.
Peter Irish: I’m an avid reader of the Economist, so much of my data comes from that source. I think there are a number of broad themes to keep an eye on. First, there is Omicron or, more generally, Covid-19. The newest variant is proving extremely transmissable and this is causing disruptions to holiday plans, international travel, and most importantly filling hospitals with symptomatic infection. It may be that Omicron is less lethal than Delta, but it is still too early to say. What experts are saying is that the vast majority of infections and deaths are among unvaccinated people, so get vaccinated and get boosted.
Peter Irish: The second major theme I see going forward is economic. We hear the Federal Reserve in the US beginning to tighten the money supply as a precursor to eventual rate hikes in 2022. Inflation has spiked of course and the big question is whether this is a temporary increase due to supply chain shortages or whether it is a longer term effect perhaps related to too much stimulus. Don’t forget how many trillions have been pumped into the economy by various central banks in 2020 and 2021.
On the other hand, there still seems to be considerable pent-up consumer demand as people simply have not been able to spend discretionary income due to the pandemic and some governments are continuing to contemplate further stimulus.
Peter Irish: The Economist questions whether there is in fact any lasting uptick in resignations based on the data. But I can certainly understand if, given all of the effects of the pandemic from remote working to home schooling to being closeted in your home without recourse to dining or entertainment. This has to have an effect on society. We are told that there is an increase in clinical depression, for example, and one of our advisors was recently touting a fundamental change in how executives behave as a result of the pandemic based on their psychographic profiles.
Tomasz Lisewski: That’s a great point, Peter. I talk to dozens of executives every week, and I find that job satisfaction is more important than pay check for more and more people. I hear many executives value the purpose-driven organizations and the right cultural fit is very important. That’s also something our research team can assist with giving more background about a hiring company and hiring manager.
Tomasz Lisewski: The reality is that candidates are not very likely to land an executive job on the internet, because the published market addresses more junior roles. Interestingly enough it’s even less likely to land the desired role via traditional recruiters or head-hunters, because most of the time they don’t have the right order. Fully 75% of executive jobs are in the unpublished market, and that’s where The Barrett Group focuses and that’s why we have a 90% success rate.
Peter Irish: It’s simple. Most executives still do not know that services like ours exist. They think their only option is to send a resume to an on-line ad or to a recruiter and hope for the best. Properly coached, our clients do land jobs through these approaches—about 25% of them to be precise. But it is far and away the unpublished market where most of out clients land, because there they can essentially participate in the creation of unique and interesting roles that fit the employer’s and the executive’s needs—a kind of co-creation, if you will.
Peter Irish: Yes, Marion. That is our experience over more than 30 years here at the Barrett Group. Whatever the economic situation, businesses continually reinvent themselves and adapt. And when they do, they alter their organizational structure and design. They continuously need new and/or different executives with different skill sets or behavior profiles. Relatively speaking, there is always a vast unpublished market for executive roles—if you know how to tap into it.
Peter Irish: Tomasz is perfectly right. I’ve used career change tactics five times in my life personally and even hired the Barrett Group in 2014. We can help executives find their next opportunity much faster and at a higher compensation level than they can on their own. But I would like to emphasize the qualitative aspect.
We make the world a better place, one client at a time.
And that is extremely rewarding.
Tomasz Lisewski: Q1 and especially January are the best time to start the job search, because the market opens up, new budgets are available. Therefore if someone wants to change careers, the time is now.
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