An executive unemployment crisis

Monday 25th May 2020 Justin Cleveland

Executive recruiter E.L Consult's May 2020 summary shows demand for new executive positions slowing down as more organisations are making due with what they have while management and most staff are working remotely.

That technology roles are still a hot commodity is not a surprise. Solid IT infrastructure is the only way this entire remote work concept holds together.

Marketing and distribution roles, however, have dropped significantly. As many businesses think that this isn't the "right time" to promote their products and services, they don't believe they need to rush to add to their marketing teams – or at least make any changes.

"Let's face it," said Grant Montgomery, CEO of E.L Consult. "No one in their right mind would want to put on more management staff right now, not unless they were in the health services."

Overall, finance job postings for new positions dropped 44% month-on-month. March, too, was already significantly depressed. For comparison, in April 2019 there were 598 positions advertised. In April 2020, there were just 304.

"Corporations have gone into bunker mode and only a few are looking at moving forward with new endeavours or expansions," said Montgomery. "Uncertainty is always the biggest killer for employment and investment. Until a clearer picture emerges, this will not change."

This is a particular concern for any executive without work right now. Fortunately, Montgomery observes, "Most management staff have continued to work from home and while this may mean substantial losses in productivity it is not like a typical recession where job losses are immediate – and permanent."

Individuals also reluctant to make a change

It's not just companies that are a bit shy about making moves. Individuals in reasonably stable situations are also not putting themselves out there. "In the acid bath of the current environment, individuals will also be reticent to pursue change of roles," said Montgomery.

"Very few people with management jobs would leave them at this point and very few employers would be hiring new recruits. This two-way reduction in both supply and demand of recruits and positions has created the significant fall."

How long will the hiring downturn last?

Because the coronavirus recession has been engineered, Montgomery believes that employment will pick up much faster than we'd ordinarily expect. "Typical recessions create long-term damage to industry and it takes a long time for that damage to be repaired.

"The Covid recession has an engineered beginning and end and never have world governments pumped so much into their economies as they have now."

The E.L Index was first published by E.L Consult in 1992. It tracks general and economic business trends to give a general picture of economic performance.

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