Mid-Quarter Executive Jobs Report (May 2021)

Mid-Quarter Executive Jobs Report: Why clients come to us, what they want, and where they are landing.

We continually celebrate a number of keywords here at the Barrett Group.  One of them is “appreciation” because we have much to appreciate. Particularly the consistent increase in the number of executive clients choosing to utilize our services, because they see that it works.

So let us celebrate them in this Mid-Quarter Executive Jobs Report by exploring who they are. We will also explore why they come to us, and where they are landing.

Psychographically, our clients are predominantly high D and high I in DISC terms.  That means they generally show behaviors related to extroversion, dominance and influencing, whether in their natural state or under stress.  In fact, the only significant change under stress is that the C, or Compliance behavior, increases, indicating a greater interest in details.

Of course, we are speaking generically about a client set in the hundreds and any individual will vary some from the average.  Still, overall, they are motivated first and foremost as individuals. Expressing their individualism and not necessarily seeking to conform (as opposed to traditionalists, aesthetes, or theoreticians).  Think of this simply as a “me first” attitude and you won’t be far wrong.  Their secondary motivation involves being utilitarian, i.e., pragmatic and results oriented.

This makes perfect sense to us because career changers must be self-motivated and willing to self-promote.  We can teach these behaviors and train them via coaching, but most of our clients self-select toward these traits up front.

Financially, our clients migrated significantly north in 2021 vs. the first five months of 2020. (See the “Clients by Income Range” graphic.)

Clients by Income Range

For example: in 2020, 50% of our clients claimed to earn $100k-$149k annually whereas in 2021, this rose to $150k-$199k.  The difference at the 75% of clients mark was even more profound, rising as it did from $150k-$199k into the $200k-$299k range. 

Does this mean that more, higher-income executives are seeking our help?  Yes.  That’s what it means.

Why is that?

We have the sense that in 2021 more clients are in search of a new industry and/or role due to an underlying dissatisfaction with their post-pandemic position. (As opposed to their heightened need for security as the pandemic bore down upon us in the first half of 2020). The data our clients provide is hardly quantitative enough to be statistically valid for the general executive population. However, it does seem to support this view.

More clients emphasized these specific motivators this year:

  • At my age a career change is necessary
  • Decreasing likelihood of a promotion
  • An abundance of stress on the job
  • Comfortable but want a change
As mentioned above, these motivations indicate a desire for improved quality of (professional) life more than they indicate a need for increased compensation. This corresponds to our underlying suspicion that executives at this point in 2021 are essentially dissatisfied with their current circumstances.

Reasons for Making a Change

Well, if those are the factors motivating them, why then did these clients come to us? And what were their expectations coming in?

Look at the 2021 results in the “Why Choose the Barrett Group?” graphic.  These are the hallmarks of people wanting to change career tracks. As opposed to simply wanting to earn more money or gain a promotion.  That is fundamentally what they wanted: a career change.

Why Choose the Barrett Group

Fortunately, transitioning is one of our specialties.  Here’s how one client put it who recently transitioned into the burgeoning education technology industry:

“I was so busy working that I never spent time getting clarity on what to do next in my career or reflecting on what I brought to a position. There came a point in my sixth year when I felt strongly that there was more that I wanted to do[…] I needed an executive coach to help me be really clear about what I wanted. I am near the end of my career and wanted to be very intentional about my career change,” said Elfreda. “Mentors have helped me throughout my career, but I knew a professional coach would help me develop a formal strategy. Coaches also bring a greater level of accountability, so the likelihood was greater that I would follow through on my strategy. I saw this as an investment in me – a gift to myself.
[Read More – Elfreda, 2021 – VP K-12 Strategy]

What are we achieving for our clients?  You can read about this every week on our Front Line Report but here is a summary of the cumulative impacts so far in 2021. (See the “Hiring Line Activity YTD 2021” graphic.) 

Hiring Line Activity YTD 2021

This is an ever-changing snapshot, of course, and the main reason that there are so many interviews is that we typically help our clients achieve a choice of offers, not just one, take-it-or-leave it option.  This also enables improved compensation as we coach our clients actively to negotiate and improve their offers.

Our Client Concierge, Waffles Natusch, recently reported for example an increase of $50,000 due to one client’s active renegotiation of an offer as VP and General Counsel in California.  We can usually add tens of thousands to any offer due to our 30 years’ experience and the more than 100 compensation items in our tactical toolbox.

Now, where are our clients landing?  We also track this by industry and can definitely see some trends emerging in 2021 that are distinct form 2020.  Mainly, manufacturing has returned as a major industrial sector for our clients, though financial services, technology and health care remain very strong, too.

Clients' Landings by Industry

Every week we speak with our career change specialists to reflect on the motivation for clients who have recently joined us.

Overwhelmingly, we find that clients, sooner or later come to the realization that the executive job market has become too complex to rely on the old “I’ll try this myself first” strategy.

Many seasoned executives admit to us outright that they have not looked for a new job in decades and have no idea how to get started.  Others are career change veterans who also realize that we do this every day so of course we are better at it than the average executive who changes jobs only once every few years—if that.

Do yourself a favor.  Before you waste your valuable time knocking around in a market you may not really understand, give us a call and let us accelerate your career change in our next Mid-Quarter Executive Jobs Report.

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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