Many Execs Get the Ax Quickly

June 27, 2002 ( - US companies not only continue to fire people, but are doing it quickly, a new report said.

According to the study by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, discharged managers and executives last for fewer than five years on the job on average. A third of fired manages don’t even get two years.

The Challenger report said manages and executives lasted 4.8 years – down 38% from 2000 when average tenure was 7.7 years.

Between 1996 and 1999, the tenure among discharged managers and executives averaged nine years, peaking in 1999 at ten years.

“It used to be that average performers could survive at a company for years, if not decades, by maintaining a low profile and meeting minimum expectations,” said chief executive officers John. Challenger. “That is no longer the case, not in such a competitive global marketplace.”

According to Challenger, those most likely to survive frequent job cuts increasingly common in corporate America these days are those who practice the art of reselling themselves throughout their tenure.

Likeability Factor

The decision on who stays and who goes in a downsizing often comes down to the likeability factor – basically, how well people are liked by their supervisor. The likeability factor, however, is not predicated solely on personality. It is also highly dependent on how well a supervisor is informed about your accomplishments, Challenger said.

The Challenger Job Market Index is based on a quarterly survey of 3,000 discharged managers and executives in the US.