Market Signals (Week 14)

Because of how we work when supporting our clients, we have a very uniqueglimpseinto how over 5000 Executive Search companies and almost 20 000 decision makers react – the majority of which being located in Europe – that’s how many people our clients have contacted in the last 5 years; and we collect and analyze how they respond; and we observe if and what kind of trends there are to leverage them into better career management & more effective job search methods.

Before there are trends, there are signals which we usually keep to ourselves. But these are not usual times, so we decided to share these signals by the end of each week. If the country / context is important, we’ll add them. Otherwise, we’ll keep it general for confidentiality.

This week, we reached out to CEOs and HR Directors, that we know personally, to take the temperature. Below you’ll find the shortened quotes in no particular order. But this time we’ll start with a KPI that gives a quite good feel of the overall trend on the job market:

Number of published job ads on LinkedIn

Note: some job ads might have been taken off LinkedIn, not because the recruitment process was put on hold or canceled, but because they are costly, especially if you have dozens of them. A company might have wanted to simply cut costs and move to more cost effective alternatives. Some local job portals are offering substantial discounts.

Note: the numbers are collected each Monday afternoon – so at the beginning of each week. As of next week, we’ll extend the monitoring to 36 European countries which we’ll show as above and additionally as clustered regions: CEE / Iberia / BENELUX / DACH.

Collected Quotes from CEOs and HR Directors

The vast majority of executives are with market leaders in their respective industries. By default, the board members are members of local boards; if not, we’ll indicate the exception.

Construction: so far, we are not affected. I actually see an increase in public tenders to protect workplaces. We dont plan any layoffs in April or further. Having said that, we all know how dynamically the situation can change.

Tobacco company: no layoffs planned

Energy company: no layoffs planned

Major bank: no layoffs planned

Automotive: so far we are not planning any layoffs. We have optimized our costs immediately and are on hold. W dozen plant workers won’t have extended contracts starting May.

Insurance: we are actually recruiting as we are launching new products.

Chemical: we sell and produce components of hygiene products which have accelerate now, but we do predict a drop in demand which will have organizational consequences. But no decisions / plans have been made yet.

Transport in public sector: we are serving the public and dont plan on any layoffs.

Financial institution: no layoffs planned.

HR from a start-up: our investor pulled out overnight. 50 good people are now unemployed.

Facility management (Regional HQ in AT): all recruitment processes frozen.

B2B Services: we are doing everything thats possible to share the cost cuts as a team collectively and in solidarity. We dont want to fire anybody until this is really the last resort.

Pharma: no layoffs planned.

IT outsourcing: no layoffs planned.

Medical devices: no layoffs planned.

Pharma: no layoffs planned.

Food producer: we are affected by the crisis as well. However, being a food company, sales are doing very well. So there are no plans to dismiss employees. We actually should attract more workers in order to keep the factory running.

Advertising company: we are doing everything we can to retain the whole crew, especially knowing how difficult the job market currently is. We are urging our employees to take advantage of their holidays. The next steps will be to reduce working hours and only if these measures don’t help, we’ll do lay-offs.

Transport / infrastructure (Australia): we have had to let staff go and have retained only essential workers. We also have customers not paying us, they’re not answering phone calls or replying to emails. I’ve been told I am now on 50% salary but I think that will become zero % salary in the next month or two.

Clothing / retail: as a company, we’ve decided to go for a 20% cut in salaries as an alternative to letting people go.

Pharma (HQ in CH): we do not plan to dismiss any employeesat least not now. We consider putting some departments and teams on short time schedules for a month or two.

B2B Services: we are actually hiring.

Infrastructure: we are not planning any layoffs. We will fight that actively as long as we can. We have enough financial reserves to be OK till the end of May. Then we’ll look at cost curring and then maybe, it the situation warrant – only then will we look at dismissals.

Healthcare: we have just completed a restructuring process; no more layoffs are planned.

Food production: we are not planning on any lay-offs and are continuing with all recruitment processes, especially bluecollar workers.

Energy sector: it seems that we are not planning any layoff so far.

Building materials: all stable on our side. What will happen in the future, we don’t know.

Infrastructure: we are in the lucky industry that transports goods. We are obviously not having any record results, but we are stable and we are able to retain our team. And let’s not forget – we are among the biggest players – as the old local saying goes: before a fat man loses weight, a thin one… you get the drift! We are financially prepared for what comes.

Pharma: we are not planning on any dismissals. We are working remotely. Our company’s first priority is the health and well-being of our employees and our patients. We produce life-saving medication – that requires double-effort and commitment, especially now.

Food production (sweets): so far there is still demand for our products and we hope that won’t change any time soon! Our only concerns are risks related to running out of raw materials or lack of workers in case somebody contracts the virus and we’ll have to quarantine the entire crew. We are looking at solutions to tackle the potential challenge of having to recruit a lot of people in a very short time. As to white collar workersno immediate changes for April and May.

Automotive: we are focused on protecting every work place.

And two candidate quotes:

Global Head of HR: regarding the job search at the moment nothing happens to be honest – though I had a lot of interviews, the majority with Executive Search Consultant.

CEO for Regional Role: one recruitment process is moving ahead. I had my final round interview. I’m just wondering if a major corporation would make a final hiring decision without ever having met the executive-to-be-hired in person. How would relocation potentially work? Or fully remote on-boarding?

Market Signals published thus far:
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22