Job Market Projections in the Upcoming Months

Research. Numbers. These are the ingredients that fuel our instincts and power our experience. For many years, ExecuNet has been conducting our Executive Job Creation Index (JCI) and Recruiter Confidence Index (RCI) surveys.  They are recognized indicators of how quickly companies are creating jobs and searching to upgrade their talent.

The RCI continues to hover at just about the 50 percent level in early 2016. This is down from about 60 percent in March last year and the 80 percent level shown in 2007 (when the market was particularly strong). It also is clearly up from the bottom, at 37 percent, during the last recession in 2008.

What this index means is that 50 percent of executive recruiters are “confident or very confident” that the executive job market will improve in the next six months.

Historically, when this index is above 50 percent, it is very bullish for the executive job market and recruiters are seeing many industry sectors hiring and moving forward. When it is below 50 percent, it is bearish. Combined with our Executive Job Creation Index (JCI) you get a picture of the overall marketplace demand. As of February, 2016, the JCI stands at a +10. This is down from +30 in March last year when companies were starting to gear-up hiring. It is up from 0 in November 2011, when hiring was flat. Remarkably, 54 percent said they would be interested in “trading up” with new hires for existing talent, so there is a latent demand for top talent.


The fact that our RCI has hovered around 50 percent for the last two years indicates recruiters are not anticipating a significant increase in hiring or economic activity, nor do they expect significant decline.  Recruiters overall predict assignments will grow at about nine percent this year. Last year, they were predicting 17 percent. So that is a decline in overall expected demand in the next six months versus last year.

Our surveys of executive recruiters also pinpoint that the top five industries showing the most potential for growth for the next six months are:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Technology
  3. Pharmaceuticals/Medical Supplies/Biotech
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Business Services

Functions in greatest demand:

  1. Business development
  2. Sales
  3. IT
  4. Marketing
  5. Operations Management

Historically, this index has been a leading indicator of the economy. We are not seeing indications that the economy will significantly strengthen or decline over the next 6 to 12 months.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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