Where Are The Jobs?


Last week, Maria Bartiromo interviewed me about employment and the 192,000 new jobs added in March in the U.S.

In that interview, which you can see here, we discussed the ebbs and flows of executive hiring demand by industry which we track at Korn Ferry.

It matters because executive hiring can be a leading indicator of overall hiring. In fact, for every new executive job created, often five or more support jobs will be created and filled.

So, with that in mind – here is how we see the labor market now.

Big Picture Labor Market

The macro economic market has not changed in a few years – and we are not seeing real job growth – in fact, don’t expect it, this is no longer the “new normal,” it is just “normal.”

Normal equates to “Slow Growth. Fast Change.” By that we mean that overall economic growth is slow, yet changes in business are fast. Fast means that industry business cycles are shorter and the way we do business changes quickly. For example, five years ago, only a few businesses had major operations in the cloud – today every business does. This = “Fast Change.”

Where are the Jobs?

  • Financial Services continues to grow. This is telling because it indicates that the investment economy is climbing back.
  • Consumer industries are steady and still in a bit of a recovery from a lackluster holiday retail season. Look at leisure, which is down. The conspicuous consumer left the economy amid the Great Recession (Slow Growth) – he or she is still not back and buying. In fact, when we talk to executives, consumer spending, by far is the one factor that would lead to more hiring.
  • Life Sciences continue to grow. Pharma and Biotech continue to be up. Healthcare is still a hot area.
  • Industrial. While most sectors are up, Industrial hiring is slowing a touch overall. The reason? Energy is a strong portion of the business – hiring was at a fever pitch for the last year and only now is taking a breath and leveling off.
  • Technology is still in growth mode across the board. Convergence (carriers of voice, data, video) while slowing has been at a break-neck pace and only now has cooled off. It is growing, just not at the same clip.

One More Note on Hiring

We can tell you that all areas are hiring – yet all hiring is spotty and strategic. In a slow growth, fast change market – employers pick their opportune spots.

Great Employers Hire Using the Three As

Hiring and talent management has become a strategic weapon – if companies do it right, “The 3 As of Talent Management” become their guide.

a. Access. Employers access their business strategy

b. Align. Employers align a people strategy with the business strategy

c. Adapt. Employers seek to find the people that can adapt and execute

Tip: Before you walk into a job interview, or any conversation with an employer find out about the employer’s business strategy.

If you can’t find out, ask about their business strategy. Then explain how you have contributed to achieving business goals in your previous work.

Have Learning Agility? – Will Get Hired

For employers, finding people who can simply execute is not enough – the new effective worker or executive must have learning agility.

This means he or she can adapt to a changing environment in real time.

Today, you need execute and adapt on the fly. It’s like building or rebuilding the plane while it is in the air – in a fast change environment, you can’t afford to land.

You need to be quick on your feet and show employers why you are agile – how you have adapted on the fly – and why you have the capacity to continue to learn.

If you do – you’ll get hired.

Now go out there and be agile. Learning agile.

[Photo Credit: daily sunny on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]

This post appeared on the LinkedIn Influencer page of Gary Burnison on April 10th, 2014 and can be viewed there by clicking here.
Gary Burnison is the CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive talent management firm. He is also a New York Times best-selling author, having written three books: LEAD (Wiley 2013); The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership (McGraw-Hill 2012); and No Fear of Failure (Jossey-Bass 2011). Burnison is one of less than 300 top voices selected to be a LinkedIn Influencer, allowing him to be followed by LinkedIn's 225 million+ members and to write directly on the LinkedIn Influencer platform.