100 Reasons for Optimism
By Peter Irish, CEO of The Barrett Group
As Covid-19 resurges, regional economies prepare for a new lock-down, and some industries contemplate shedding even more jobs it is easy and natural to feel depressed and helpless. So let us share 100 Reasons for Optimism with you as a small light in a dark time.
Since Covid-19 became serious in April we have now helped more than 100 executive clients land jobs — most with significant increases in the offers due to our negotiation support and all with a huge sigh of satisfaction and relief. Congratulations, to our hard-working clients (because they did the work to achieve this) and to the Barrett Group client teams who helped them navigate the current turbulence!
So let’s pause for a moment and consider clients’ initial reasons and expectations.
Here is a comparison of those expectations in Q2 vs. Q3 2020 as well as in the US vs. Europe.
On the surface of it, the US clients apparently were less secure about their career direction in Q2 than in Q3 — completely understandable given the insecurity of the Covid-19 and economic crises — but they appear as a group to have become more secure during Q3, possibly because we are all learning to live with the new situation and find our way forward in spite of it. A clear focus on using the resume(s) as the point of the spear and on developing an effective job search campaign remain consistently evident.
In Europe, clients apparently shifted focus in Q3. Clients began identifying decision makers as a primary expectation. This is something the Barrett Group is well equipped to do with more than 12 million contacts available through our research resources for Europe alone. Demonstrating transferability remained also a high priority in Q3, as did the need for a realistic career plan.
But what happens if we look at the clients who actually landed in Q2 and Q3?
Did they have markedly different expectations than all incoming clients?
In the US the differences are more significant. It showed a reversal of the “undecided about career direction” question–a much higher share admitted to being unsure in Q3 than in Q2. This is helpful to their career prospects, by the way, because it opens up new avenues. Our Clarity Program© is the targeting step of our five-step career change process. It helps clients reflect on options and directions that can fundamentally change their career trajectory — and frequently does — toward higher income and more satisfaction, not to mention new industies.
Here’s what one successful client had to say about the Clarity Program©:
“The Clarity coach and process impacted my life the most. I came away with a totally different perspective. Career management is not about looking for a job, it is knowing what you want from life and figuring out how your job can complement that vision.”
[Erin D., 2020 — Read More]
Anecdotally, I have heard about more and more clients coming in who realize that their historical industry is suffering at least in the short term. It is also natural that transferability of expertise became a much higher priority in Q3 than in Q2.
For all of those reasons, the need for a strong resume, access to decision makers, and support in interviewing more effectively also became much more important.
In Europe, the requirements of our landed clients did not differ greatly from clients as a whole, so we will not go into that more here.
However, there was also one extremely important difference that is flavoring these results, and that is the income demography of clients that has shifted profoundly toward higher income brackets in Q3 vs. Q2.
Now the income data is, of course, self-declared and we cannot verify it. But given the compensation packages landed clients are actually earning, it seems reasonable. In the US there was a profound shift among incoming clients from the lower income brackets in Q2 ($100,000-$149,000 in compensation) toward the higher ($200,000-$299,999) and the highest ($300,000 and up).
Europe also showed a huge shift from the lower tier into the €200,000-€299,999 bracket and in particular the €300,000-€499,999 income group. The two together increasing to 62% of incoming clients from Q2 to Q3.
There are a number of probable reasons for this.
First, we are marketing more actively to this higher income group. Second, as Covid-19 and the economic crisis continue, more executives higher up the income pyramid are affected. Companies are taking the opportunity to restructure more fundamentally and this affects more executive jobs. Third, whole industries are in upheaval. Executives are not foolish when they see their ships taking on water. They consider options — such as hiring the Barrett Group to find a safe harbor. All of these factors play into this shift, which also affects the client expectations we laid out earlier in this blog.
By the way, for clients landing in Q3 the average time between signing and landing increased slightly vs. Q2 from 24 weeks to 30 weeks. This is also consistent with the higher income demographic (as we have previously mentioned: the US Bureau of Labor suggests 1 month per $10,000 of income as your probable search time under normal circumstances).
Fortunately other industries are actively hiring.
Here is a quick snapshot. It shows the key industries where clients have landed since April in order of their importance (the top ten representing 75% of landed clients). So take heart and consider polishing your transferability.
Other important reasons executives consider changing jobs is that by proactively making a change they can earn more money. For example, one client who landed this week shared this anecdote about the negotiation support we provided him:
“They [the new employer] increased the offer by $55,000… All my interim trips/housing until full relo will be covered… they are also open to covering an apartment… and agreed we could work this out in the coming weeks/months. Thanks for all your help throughout the process.”
We will report on this success story (and others) in a future Hiring Line entry. But for now, consider this: the smart money is moving to higher ground before the water rises over their heads. How about you?
The Barrett Group looks forward to adding your smiling face to our list of satisfied clients. We will continue to provide more reasons for optimism even as the clouds gather in the short term. Give us a call.
The Barrett Group