Upsidedownsizing (Part One): Fight or Flight

It is understandable when executives who might otherwise like to make a professional change hear about rising interest rates, downsizing in the tech sector, and possible recession on the horizon that some pull their heads in like a turtle and wait until it’s over…

…except that missing the action completely is not a helpful career management strategy.  In fact, accessing the full market as our clients do they are seven times more likely to succeed than working with an executive recruiter alone.

You see, more than 60 of our executive clients landed targeted positions in a recent ten-week period that included the Christmas holiday and New Year’s. 

Here is a sampling of the titles they earned:

  • CFO
  • CEO
  • Director Marketing Strategy
  • VP Operations
  • HSE Supervisor
  • VP Data Centers
  • Director of Finance
  • President and Partner
  • Head of Internal Audit
  • Director, Fleet Operations
  • CIO
  • COO
  • VP Communications
  • VP of Space Weather

    Their compensation ranged from $170,000 base up to $450,000 with bonuses all the way up to $100,000 not to mention relocation allowances, PTO, and stock options. As usual, we were able to help most add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more in total compensation. One ambitious player actually added €80,000. See our Front Line Reports for the weekly update on our clients’ success.

    Meanwhile, Q4 2022 posted a surprisingly robust GDP growth rate of 2.9% (annualized) “a solid end to a topsy-turvy year in which the economy contracted in the first six months, prompting talk of a recession, only to rebound in the second half.” (See source.)

    “…in the consumer-driven U.S. economy, a recession is all but impossible as long as households keep opening their wallets. So far, they have done so. Consumer spending rose at a 2.1 percent rate in the fourth quarter, down only slightly from the third-quarter pace.” (See source.)

    In Europe, Bloomberg reports Germany will “…Quash Recession Fears with 2023 Forecast” (See source.)  “Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Bloomberg last week in an interview that he was sure Germany would escape recession this year despite the energy crunch triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Diversifying gas supplies had been critical in helping to keep the economy running, he said.”  (See source.)

    2023-01-30_Upsidedownsizing_1_Demand for Executive Talent (January 2023 per LinkedIn).png Fight or flight?

    In fact, numerous locations continue to experience high or very high demand for executives in general (see chart) while specific industry segments vary considerably, both up and down in terms of their respective hiring demand. (See our Industry Updates for more details.)

    Why are our clients seven times more likely to succeed than if they work only with an executive recruiter? 

    That is because most positions are never advertised.  Fully 75% of our clients land in this “unpublished” market by applying our tried and true techniques developed over more than three decades of career management success.  Another 15% land in the published market (i.e., online ads) by adopting our methods so as to avoid the pitfalls most people suffer when they attack the market without a clue.  Lastly, 10% of our clients land through the recruiter market, i.e., filling jobs for which an employer hired an executive recruiter. 

    And let us not forget that veritable executive jobs engine the private equity market.  We have reported extensively on how this market has gained in importance over the past years as a major avenue for professional advancement, and nothing has changed in this picture.  For example: “The PitchBook Platform recorded around 140 senior departures from PE firms in the [European] region in 2022 as many executives either sought out opportunities with a new firm or, in some cases, launched their own.”  The article goes on to highlight a number of high-profile executive moves.  (See source.)

    Our clients also land juicy roles at PE portfolio companies, too, of course, as we reported in Life After Landing.  And while there have certainly been changes in the underlying dynamics, some industries continue to prosper while others retrench.  The trick is to identify the currents and always Look for the Rising Tide.  To help executives winnow through the tsunami of information we will continue our examination of the current Upsidedownsizing trends in three follow-up articles highlighting turmoil in the tech industry, winning and losing industries**, and whether to stay or go in your current position.

    So how does it feel to be proactive in your career search (instead of hiding and hoping)? Should you choose fight or flight?

    Here’s how one recently landed Barrett Group client explains it:

    “The [Barrett Group] angle, of course, is NOT to ask for help, rather to offer support to others or just connect with them. It took a while to get my head wrapped around it, but it got easier. Barbara [his career consultant] pushed me through it, and it was rewarding.”   “I thought it would take me 12 months to find a job, but it took only three or four. Landing even a month earlier than 12 months would have made investing in TBG worth it, so landing this quickly was fantastic.”  [Ray White, VP Marketing Operations 2022]

    We cannot promise that your search will take four months.  The average for those who landed in 2022 was 27 weeks.  We can promise to help you be proactive in ways you may never have even thought of before.  So if you are facing the question of “fight or flight,” why not hedge your bets with more than 30 years of Barrett Group career management experience at your elbow?

    Peter Irish, CEO
    The Barrett Group


    In this particular Blog “executives” will generally refer to the Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Managing Partner, General Counsel, Head, and President titles.  Unless otherwise noted, the data in this Update will largely come from LinkedIn and represents a snapshot of the market as it was at the time of the research. 

    Is LinkedIn truly representative?  Here’s a little data:  LinkedIn has more than 800 million users.  (See source.) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 20th year.

    **Undeniably, renewable energy is one of the current winners and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  If you have not yet considered migrating in that direction, you may wish to do so soon.  Our most recent Industry Update on Energy explains why.

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