How to keep moving on up

FOUNDING DIRECTOR, INTEREXEC

CONTRARY to popular belief, there is very little wrong with the senior executive recruitment market at the moment. By senior executive, I mean salaries over the £150,000 mark. The dark shadows cast by the current economic climate are mainly affecting employees on the lower rungs of the career ladder – the higher end of the market is positively booming in comparison.

Certainly, the market is nowhere near where it was at the start of 2008, however, it is much better than 2010. The upturn started in November 2010 and since then the number of unadvertised vacancies (headhunted vacancies notified to us) has increased every month with roughly a 25 per cent increase overall.

The financial services sector is also fairly robust in the top end of the market as the need for experienced executives has not abated, and in certain areas has increased dramatically as those with skills relevant to both a bull and bear market are in short supply.

My main message, therefore, is don’t be put off by the doom and gloom if you are earning a salary in the upper brackets; the market is buoyant and it could be a good time to make your next career move, especially as many employees are not making that move, meaning that the basic principles of supply and demand are kicking in.

If you can achieve a lot in your current position or can see a forthcoming promotion over the next year, these are good reasons to stay put, especially as the job market may well continue to improve during 2012.

If, however, you don’t expect your career to develop where you are then you need to get started on planning a move, otherwise you are effectively wasting the next year of your career and diminishing your credibility.

A career is like the proverbial ladder – it may be vertical, or 45 degrees, or might even just be flat, but it has a finite lifetime, and exists at an angle which is decided at a surprisingly early stage. It seldom bends upwards naturally, although it can bend downwards, so it really is important to keep developing it.

Having supported hundreds of senior executives over the last 35 years my advice is:-

● identify your personal needs and

● define your ideal target

● identify your skills and

● ensure they entitle you to that target

● prepare your CV geared to that target.

While these may seem common sense rules, the majority of executives fail at least one and can waste time and opportunities by lacking focus, which causes woefully poor execution.

Kit Scott-Brown is the founding director of InterExec, a “confidential agent” for senior executives earning £150k to £1M+.