Jobless Execs Could Stay That Way for Months

March 9, 2009 ( - The vast majority of executives predict it will take job seekers more than four months to land a new job in the current cratering economy, a new survey finds.

A Korn/Ferry news release about its latest Executive Quiz said 83% of respondents estimate a job search of more than 16 weeks, while 43% say signing up with a new employer will more likely take seven months or longer.

According to the announcement, only 29% of survey respondents have ever required more than three months to find a new career opportunity in the past.

Responses from nearly 1,000 unemployed executives to the February 2009 poll indicate that many are just beginning their job search. Twenty-eight percent have been unemployed less than a month, 36% have been jobless less than three months, and18% indicate they have been searching for career opportunities for seven months or longer.

“In the executive ranks, lengthy job searches are not confined to poor economies. It takes time to find the right cultural and functional fit for each position and each candidate,” said Cheryl Buxton, global managing director of client services for Korn/Ferry, in the announcement. “We counsel both our clients and candidates to be patient in the search process, and the current economic environment only reinforces that need.”

Forty-three percent of unemployed executives say they have either considered or are already going back to school to wait out the downturn, with most jobless executives looking at educational opportunities considering MBAs (23%) or other advanced degrees (16%).