Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

Executive Mobility 2007


According to Marci Alboher ( I am a career slash: In addition to being a career consultant I am head of marketing for the global trade association for executive search. The career work I do is typically focused on women in mid-life who are struggling to either a) get back to work after a hiatus to raise kids, or b) are simply looking for more meaning and connectedness from work and life.

My position at the association is a perfect complement to my private client work as it keeps me abreast of trends in the senior employment market. We do plenty of research in the area of workplace flexibility, and I am really noticing a sea change. I regularly hear from corporate HR executives about their need to find top performers in what is shaping up to be a very serious talent shortage. This is of course great for those of us seeking flexibility and work situations that speak to our multiple interests.

One of the prevailing terms of the senior job market today is Executive Mobility, which refers to the attraction and retention of senior executives–something companies have a very big vested interest in. We’re in the early stages of a major Talent War, since 80 million Baby Boomers will be retiring and will be followed by just half that number of Generation X’ers. So we’re seeing companies stand up and take notice–it’s a seller’s market. And this is of course good news for talented, seasoned executives of all stripes.

So what does mobility look like in 2007? It’s looking pretty traditional. We recently conducted research with senior executives through, the online executive talent database of my association–the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). Our research revealed a global trend among senior executives. While executives surveyed view high job mobility with some caution, traditional values about tenure and job loyalty remain well ingrained.

Seventy-one percent of respondents have been in their jobs between one and five years, with 59% having worked for between 4 and 7 organizations during their careers. Eighty percent are between the ages of 35 and 54, so we are talking about Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers. The question is whether we are going to see mobility trends change, in particular with younger people. I believe we will. The generation in their teens and twenties today (Gen Y or “Millenials”) is more concerned about making life the priority than any other generation in history.

But Generation X, currently in senior roles, is leading the way, as they bring with them an insistence on flexibility in the workplace to better accomodate work, family and outside interests. They are also the first generation to experience predominantly dual-income households, where the burden needs to be shared more equally between men and women. In the US today, 75% of households have dual earners. In Europe, dual income households outnumber single income households by two to one.

For those who want to improve their work lives today, or create a seamless balance between working and living, creativity should be your guide. Formal programs to help employees create work-life balance are offered by many large organizations and have been for a long time; but more and more career experts are encouraging individuals to craft their own scenarios–provided a business case can be made. I’ll be providing more specific information on this topic, and meanwhile, encourage comments.