The economic slowdown is taking a toll even on the usually buoyant confidence of executive recruiters. An index that gauges just that — sampling how they feel about hiring prospects for the ensuing six months — slipped to a level that suggests there will be a decline in search assignments.
According to ExecuNet’s September Recruiter Confidence Index, only 49 percent of 161 executive recruiters were confident or very confident that the executive employment market will improve in the next six months, down from 53 percent in August and 64 percent at the end of the second quarter.
A reading above 50 indicates an increase in search assignments.
Shorter-term confidence — the level over the next three months — was much weaker, however.
In September, just 30 percent of recruiters were confident or very confident that the executive employment market would improve in the next three months. That was down from 36 percent in August, and from 52 percent at the end of the second quarter.
ExecuNet asserted that these levels were comparable to those at the end of the 2003-2004 recession.
“The market uncertainties of the last several weeks are clearly taking their toll as companies are taking a more cautious approach to hiring,” said Mark Anderson, ExecuNet president and chief economist. “The silver lining in the potentially dark cloud is that executive recruiters are still seeing job growth in certain sectors, including the high-tech, energy, and biotech industries.”