Here's the second part of BusinessWeek
Online's third annual utterly unscientific
hiring-outlook survey of employment experts.
Following are edited comments from several of
them. (See BW Online, 1/2/03,
"Hiring Outlook, Part One" for an
introduction to and the first part of this
Nosal, co-head of the CEO practice for
executive-search firm Korn/Ferry International
in Silicon Valley
I think we're seeing a pickup in activity in
the industrial-products sector and continued
strong growth in life sciences. That would
include medical device, biotech, and other
service providers. I'm also hopeful that we'll
see a little bit of an updraft in financial
services and technology, but I think those are
going to lag the other areas that I've
The most active high-end recruitment activity
is at both the board and CEO level. Many
organizations continue to plan for succession
at the CEO level. And many organizations
continue to have problems, so they will be
changing their CEOs. And many of the board
participants aren't the right board
representation for these companies.
Sales positions will be in demand, especially
for executive vice-presidents and senior
Martin, CEO of Martin Partners, an
executive-search firm in Chicago
Biotech continues to grow. Construction
related to defense and security continues to
grow. You have to add new rooms for better
safekeeping of databases, for instance. And
you need to add more network security.
Engineers are in demand on the construction
side. And you will have a need for programmers
on the software-security side. You have
insurance growing because of the increasing
need for terrorism insurance. Energy is
expected to grow, as we're worried about
global instability. Nanotechnology is going to
There's a need for more -- or at the very
least better -- chief financial officers. You
have to make sure your CFO is up to snuff
because companies want to avoid WorldCom
situations. More documentation is required
now, and more minutiae to be considered.
The bottom line is a return to longer hours
and more work. The candidate may be looking
for lifestyle, while the employer, in search
of profitability, is looking for longer hours
and more work. The real question in 2003 is:
Who wins the battle?
Zimmerman, a partner at New York City-based
financial-services and real-estate search firm
"To hire one head, you fire one head"
In the financial market, hiring will depend
on the stock market itself and on the economy.
If the market stabilizes and begins to rise,
you will see growing confidence. As a result,
you will see firms begin to hire. From an
investment-banking standpoint, everything is
dependent on the market. I think there's a
feeling that things will be somewhat better in
the second half of 2003.
Some areas will continue to see hiring
activity, including investment banking related
to health care and financial institutions. If
interest rates stay low and there are still
questions about credit and bankruptcies, the
credit-derivative area will remain in a growth
mode. Restructurings and reorganizations will
continue to grow.
You won't see a lot of growth in the number of
financial-services professionals in 2003. What
you'll see is an upgrading of quality -- to
hire one head, you fire one head.
Keeley, executive director of the
career-opportunities center at Carnegie Mellon
University's Graduate School of Industrial
Administration in Pittsburgh
My best guess is that across the country, most
second-year [MBA] students are facing a poor
job market. What we hear from recruiters is
that most of their companies are going to be
pretty reluctant to open the purse strings.
Looking into my crystal ball, I think two of
the first areas that will pop back -- and it's
only because they're so bad right now -- are
high-tech manufacturing and consulting. To go
from zero to anything is a great improvement.
The consulting firms that recruited here [most
recently] were Bain, Booz Allen, and McKinsey.
The only other group was
PricewaterhouseCoopers. This is a place where
you would typically get a broader segment. We
used to get a lot of niche firms like
DiamondCluster and A.T. Kearney. Those firms
aren't recruiting right now.
The two groups of students we think are having
the biggest challenges are career changers and
international students. When supply exceeds
demand, employers are less willing to train
career changers and less willing to go to
battle with the government to get an
international student [a work visa].
Neal, managing partner at the Broadmoor Group,
an executive-search firm in Dallas
"Clearly, the trend is for people who are
We've seen a tremendous increase in
executive-level search assignments in the last
45 days -- at least a 100% increase over last
year. I'm assuming that there's more optimism
out there. The industries that we're seeing
activity in include building supplies, certain
segments of information technology, especially
in the data-storage area. We're also getting
more board searches. Biotech is another hot
area. In telecommunications, wireless is
seeing some growth.
A lot of jobs are sales jobs. You're going to
have more sales and development positions as
businesses upgrade their sales forces. A lot
of the jobs are for the top executives in an
organization. Companies are also upgrading
Clearly, the trend is for people who are more
proven -- people who have been there, done
that. Salaries, meanwhile, are pretty flat.
They're not jumping ahead.
Lambert, a managing partner in Irvine, Calif.,
with Christian & Timbers, an
"Optimism is being mitigated by the
possibility of war"
What we're seeing is a very minor uptick in
requests for our services as we go into the
first quarter. There's still a very high level
of uncertainty about where the economy is
going. Optimism is being mitigated by the
possibility of war in the Mideast. Our most
forward-thinking clients realize that we're in
a ceasefire in the war for talent. They're
building up their bench.
A lot of our demand is for the
been-there-done-that executives -- those in
their mid 40s to early 50s with 20-plus years
of operational and execution-oriented
experience. Right now, the demand is for
people who can make things happen, not for
people who can provide visions. What matters
is what you can do for me in the next quarter.
I place a lot of senior-level human resources
executives. Some potential candidates lose
sight of the basics in HR. There's a demand
for people who have built a talent-acquisition
and management process that gets their
companies the best people and who have
developed rewards systems that work.
The hot job right now is chairman of the audit
committee for a board. I'm doing two of those
searches. It's basic. CEOs have to sign off on
financial statements, so they want an
audit-committee chairman they can trust.
Albright-Smith, director of career management
at UCLA's Anderson School
For the kind of recruiters that tend to do
hiring on campus for investment banking,
consulting, and marketing, we're seeing hiring
pretty flat compared with last year. We're not
hearing them talk about it picking up, either.
Those [students] who weren't recruited on
campus are looking at biotech. I think that
we're also going to see an increase in hiring
by entertainment companies. It isn't explosive
growth, but it's increasing. Slowly but
surely, the industry is paying more attention
to MBAs. And as more MBAs get into the
industry, it opens up to future MBAs simply
because of networking.