Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who Cares About The Loss Of Executive Jobs?

Does anyone in government care about the loss of executive jobs? It sure doesn't seem like it.

I’m not talking about people making seven or eight figure packages but those at the VP and Director levels who are in the $100K+ range that upper end job sites like Exec-U-Net and The Ladders court.

Those are the folks that drive their local economies and the ones who are losing their jobs in droves. And when they’re not working or are worried about their income – a lot of other people experience their pain.

Where’s the help

Yet, while there’s plenty of talk about job-creating stimulus packages, you’d have to look long and hard to hear about any sort of coordinated government effort to help senior management find employment.

Of course, it’s tough to muster much sympathy for corporate executives these days.

Americans are outraged over the often obscene bonus and separation packages they saw awarded to failed or short-term executives. Those deals smacked of greed, arrogance and extravagance.

But the unintended consequence of that outrage is that all those that share the title “executive” wind up getting painted with the same brush no matter their level of compensation or quality of their work. And the government, who offers numerous job finding initiatives for entry and lower level positions, has done little or nothing for management job seekers, let alone executives.

There’s no bailout for them. They’re treated as the last holdover of unfettered capitalism and left to their own ingenuity and market forces to survive. They may use new technology to help find jobs but they employ the same techniques they’ve used forever.

20th century approach

Today, instead of reading the papers for ads, executives scour the online job boards; instead of contacting headhunters by regular mail they use email and instead of spending time in libraries researching companies, they are hunched over computers combing through company web sites.

The result is that while the tools may be different the process remains agonizingly slow. And the longer these people remain out of work, or fearful about their jobs, the greater the negative impact on the economy.

What can be done

So much more can be done to help executives find jobs but only government, working at the local, state and federal level has the clout to make it happen. Yet, there has never been a real government effort to facilitate movement between executive level employees and corporations.

One stop information on all companies in a given geographic area; a centralized data base listing jobs and consulting projects, announcements about company initiatives that would attract appropriate talent and entrepreneurial incubators are just a few of the ways government could help.

Today’s executive job seeker follows the same steps that career professionals have been parroting for over 40 years. And in a market like this, that’s simply not enough.

What we need is the commitment, resources and sway that only government can provide, to bring the executive job finding process into the 21st century and offer the assistance these people and our economy, so desperately need.

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