Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

How Not To Be Down in a Down Market


I’m generally pretty good about maintaining a positive attitude and I know what to do to keep my equilibrium. But man, reading the paper these days makes you want to jump off the nearest bridge. There’s just endless bad news.

The thing that always makes me feel better is getting more information so I can make better decisions and advise my clients more effectively. To that end I’ve been interviewing retained search consultants about their businesses, and while many say that their clients are waiting until January to make hiring decisions, I wanted to share with you that there are still some bright spots within certain sectors.

To give you an idea, in one of the hardest hit sectors, financial services, Betsey Wood of Global Sage told me the following: “Senior roles continue to be needed, but they are changing. There are fewer pure “management” or rainmaker roles, as opposed to hands-on leadership and continued P&L responsibility for clients, even at the most senior levels. For example, in terms of retained search, there’s a lot more emphasis on specialized sales jobs. There is definitely a collapsing and merging of different pieces of the silos. We’re being asked to introduce talent for multi-asset class sales platforms, requiring a different type of salesperson, someone who can cross-sell both fixed income equity and derivative products, across a diverse range of institutions in a specific country or geography.”

Management consulting is still doing fairly well, and restructuring is booming. HR consulting is healthy as companies more and more frequently outsource those functions. And healthcare is holding its own and will continue its upswing as people live longer and catastrophic illnesses become more manageable as chronic conditions.

If you are currently employed, the most common recommendation is to stay put; it’s too risky to make a move right now, unless you absolutely have to. This is the time to shore up the good will of your employer by working more efficiently and taking on extra projects that may bring you additional experience and exposure at your company. If you’ve been laid off or have been out of the job market for awhile, you may want to consider re-tooling your skills to become more relevant in today’s market. There are plenty of creative ways to do that and they don’t have to include earning a higher degree.

Taking positive action usually makes people feel better, as opposed to wallowing in misery and spending too much time watching the news. So get out there and take a step; it will only make the next steps come more easily and you’ll feel good that you’re doing something to enhance your future.