2004 Q4 Sees Exec Hiring at Fastest Pace in Three Years

January 19, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas has announced that fourth quarter executive and managers hiring was at its fastest pace in more than three years, a good signal for the economy in the months to come.

The median job search for managers and executives hired in the fourth quarter was 3.3 months, according to a press release. This is the shortest duration since the third quarter of 2001, when the median job search took three months. The fourth quarter job search was 17.5% faster than the previous quarter, when the median job search took four months. The figure, measured by the Job Market Index, peaked in the first quarter of 2003 with a 4.2 month duration.

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that there was increased hiring of managers and executives. Over 850,000 new jobs at this level were created in 2004, according to Challenger.

For 2005, financial services, health care, construction, engineering and certain areas of technology and manufacturing are expected to have a high hiring level.

These managers and executives are not sacrificing salary to get jobs quicker either, Challenger found. In the fourth quarter, 86% of those hired won equivalent or better salaries than in their last position. This is up from 78% in the same quarter of 2003.

In total, 14% of managers and executives relocated for new jobs and 44% changed industries, Challenger found.

Challenger suggested in its release that these figures bode well for the economy as senior level positions are the first to be filled at the onset of an expansion.