Manager Employment Search Time Drops

January 14, 2004 ( - The amount of time that managers and executives spend looking for work is plummeting, a leading indicator that the employment picture may be improving.

The median job search time for jobless managers and executives fell to 3.9 months in the fourth quarter of 2003 from 4.2 months in the previous quarter.John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the outplacement firm supplying the data, sees this as a positive sign that the employment rebound is underway.

“It could be some time until job search times drop significantly, but the fact that they are dropping at all is a sign that demand for these workers is increasing. This is important because improved hiring for managers and executives is an important indicator that the economy is gaining strength,” Challenger said in a news release.

As evidence of this upward tick, Challenger points to data released by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing higher paying industries created 293,000 managerial and professional jobs in December. In 2003, BLS data shows there was a net 1.37 million management, professional and related occupation jobs added to payrolls.

Even though new jobs may be happened upon in a shorter time frame,more employers were paying less in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter. Only 77.8% of the fourth-quarter jobs paid equivalent or better salaries versus 84.4% in the third quarter.