Recruiters Say Your Age Isn’t Such a Big Concern

older-businessman-with-tabletWe routinely survey recruiters and executives in our network as part of our mission to keep a finger on the pulse of the executive job market. I thought I’d take a moment to share with you some of the findings from that survey.

It was particularly interesting to learn 3 of 5 recruiters are finding their client companies have become more demanding in their job specs. This means that despite a low unemployment rate, companies are making it harder to land a new role. Coupled with 7 of 10 taking longer to make decisions, it seems as though companies aren’t feeling a significant sense of urgency to fill their vacant executive spots.

Now for some good news: Age has always been a concern for executives in job search, but recruiters are reporting that age becomes a concern at 56. That number was 52 as recently as 2017. It’s a wonderful sign to see that number moving upward, as executives can contribute mightily to a business well after the traditional retirement age. In fact, in so many cases, it isn’t until one has tremendous experience, and some failures, does one reach their full potential. Good to see businesses are catching on!

More good news: 3 of 5 recruiters report that they are willing to share insights/advice with executives to maintain relationships. Job seekers, you want to take advantage of this! You want recruiters to have an open and ongoing dialogue with you. The best way to do this is to start before you are in search, when you aren’t in a position of need. With 74% of unemployed in-search executives reporting they are having difficulty connecting with recruiters, it’s imperative that you start building that relationship before you are in search mode. Share industry trends and insights with the recruiters you work with in your industry. Make suggestions of people you know who may be viable candidates for searches they are working on. This will result in the recruiter mentioning their searches to you, and one of those searches may be right for you, or if you find yourself unemployed, it’ll be much easier to say, “Hey (insert recruiter’s name), just wanted you to know I am leaving (insert company name) and looking for a new opportunity.” I believe that’s called digging a well before you’re thirsty.

Wondering where to look? Manufacturing has joined Healthcare and High-Technology in the top three industries for growth. Take a look at the top 10 industries for growth:

1 Healthcare
2 High-Technology
3 Manufacturing
4 Pharmaceuticals
5 Software
6 Defense/Aerospace
7 Transportation/Distribution/Wholesaling
8 eCommerce/Information Technology
9 Venture Capital & Private Equity
10 Telecommunications

Another option that the survey showed to be immensely popular with executives is securing a Board seat. Our survey revealed that 80% of out-of-work job seekers are exploring the possibility of serving on a Board. If you’re part of this 80%, make sure you listen to our recent Master Class Session, Landing Board Seats, to create the right approach to landing a seat; the search for a Board seat is not the same as the search for an executive job!

A robust 73% are exploring landing an interim executive position. This is an excellent avenue for high pay and once you demonstrate what you bring to the table, as a part of their organization, you will likely be presented with offers to become full-time.

A healthy 55% are thinking Private Equity is the path for their next great challenge. If you’re an executive who would like to partner with a private equity firm to acquire the company you are currently leading or want to acquire and lead a company whose ownership is prepared for exit, you’ll want to tune in for this focused conversation with Merger Partners’ Managing Director Chris Worel.

Another fantastic option, one about one-third are exploring already, is exiting the corporate train and putting your hard-earned skills to work for yourself. Doing so allows you to never again be at a company’s mercy and gives you control of your own path and schedule as you enter the back nine of your career. Many of our members have found success with Pete Gilfillan’s franchise route. While others have been happy working with Aaron Paul to find an existing business to purchase. You can think of both of them like you would a realtor; they work with you to connect you with the right business for you.

There’s a lot to be positive about in the survey, especially the increase in when age becomes an issue in job search! Stay on the lookout; next month, I’ll share what the survey said is the greatest challenge in job search.

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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