Executives not looking for roles, but open to offers

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Most senior workers are too busy to look for a new job, but are open to opportunities offered

The majority of executives have little to no time to explore career options, but still may be open to offers, according to research from C-level job matching platform HYPER.

It surveyed 150 executives ranging from C-suite to director-level in the UK and Switzerland, and found that 84% of senior executives are too busy in their current role to look for a new position.

Despite this 68% of those polled said that they are passive jobseekers; those not actively looking for a new job but open to considering other opportunities if they arise.

Andrew Kakabadse, professor of governance and leadership at Henley Business School, told HR magazine that it is unsurprising most senior individuals are not actively looking for a job. “Search firms are looking for vacancies not people,” he said. “If you’re an executive and you give them your name you will go on a list, but that may make you unattractive to those looking to hire.

“They would rather have someone who is committed and driven, who may need to be prised out of their current job, rather than someone who is already looking.”

When it came to actively searching, only 6% of respondents said they found their current position through advertised listings.

Kakabadse was surprised the figure was this high. “The only positions you usually see listed, in publications such as The Economist, are the ones that require transparency,” he said. “Things like UN positions, or semi-governmental bodies, are often just for show with the real search going on behind the scenes.”

Carl-Manuel Brachet, CEO of HYPER, said he was concerned about a potential lack of transparency and rigour in some executive searches. “The reaction of executives to the lack of visibility into today’s senior management job market shows there is a colossal information and access gap,” he said. “Executives have little idea what opportunities are available to them and lack channels to effectively connect into those opportunities. Similarly, executive search firms lack an efficient line of sight into the executives that want to be found.”

Dorothé Tétaz Hoogendijk, president of HYPER, explained why it is important for executives to have this information. “Executives need insight into what their current job climate looks like, as well as the confidentiality to signal discreetly without causing disruption in their current role,” she said.

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