Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Executive Careers: The Impact Of Wall Street Layoffs

Our phones were busy yesterday. Lehman's bankruptcy, Merrill's takeover and AIG's woes proved to be a "trauma trifecta" that sent executives all along Wall Street into panic mode.

A potentially deep and wide job recession just became a reality and the upcoming number of job losses in financial services look to be staggering.

A sector that has already taken a beating, with reductions at JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, UBS, AXA and others, is about to receive a knock-out blow to the career options of many of its senior employees. For the first time, I'm witnessing a palpable fear regarding re-employment prospects.

Where will all these executives find work?

This time really is different

Losing jobs is not new in financial services. Firms have experienced tough times before with large-scale layoffs and reorganizations hitting “the Street” in the 80’s, 90’s and as recently as 2002 into 03.

But this wave is unique. The players are leaving and the game is changing.

Lehman’s bankruptcy is the largest in U.S. history. Bear Stearns disappeared over a weekend. The Merrill Lynch bull, synonymous with Wall Street, will become a monument to the past. In a very short time, we’ll learn how many more financial giants will fall……or shrink.

That market has already absorbed about as many jobs as it can and as layoffs continue, will reach saturation. For many, transitioning out of financial services will be difficult.

Those who make it will undoubtedly face a pay cut.

With an ongoing credit crunch, those smaller employers that have been the traditional engine of job creation for decades in this country, will have difficulty expanding.

Limited expansion results in limited hiring.

And as the economic downturn continues, Wall Street’s financial losses translate into Main Street’s job losses. It already started with HP’s announcement yesterday of 24,600 job cuts.

More competition for fewer jobs results in longer job searches.

Innovation trumps tradition

A “by the book” approach to career management works in a traditional job market. However, we’re headed into uncharted waters.

All indicators currently point to a dramatic corporate “belt-tightening” for the balance of 2008 and right into 2009. Just as these times won’t be business as usual, they are no longer times for career management as usual.

Today’s job climate requires an executive to spend more time planning and managing his/her career. Horizons must be widened. “Out-of-the-box” options should be identified, researched and explored. Multiple contingency plans need to be developed. Now more than ever, career management is a challenge requiring self-awareness, creativity, meticulous planning, commitment and a measured dose of risk taking.

Or do nothing and panic when the pink slip arrives.


Raymond said...

Despite all the stats, I see a ton of high paying jobs posted on employment sites -

http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to the perfect job)

These folks will find more work

Anonymous said...

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