One in Four Companies Expect to Hire Executive Level Positions

October 12, 2011 ( - Twenty-three percent of employers expect to hire for executive-level positions over the next six months, according to CareerBuilder’s new nationwide survey. 

Consistent with hiring expectations for all workers, information technology companies are leading the way in executive hiring, with 35% reporting they’ll fill top positions over the next six months. Other areas expecting to recruit executives include health care (25%), sales (24%), professional and business services (23%), financial services (23%), and leisure/hospitality (23%).

The survey found that recruiting for executive-level positions is not necessarily an internal task. While a third of employers prefer to look for executive level candidates internally, 18% prefer to look externally, and half place equal emphasis on internal and external candidates.

One in five employers looks for a candidate with an MBA, comparable degree, or higher-level degree when recruiting executive-level positions. While prior industry experience is an important asset for many employers, 47% would still be willing to hire a candidate without it, suggesting that past accomplishments and leadership style are paramount in the executive recruitment process.

The forecast confirms that, for the most part, the right experience comes with age. According to employers, the average executive is age 41 or older. Forty-five percent of executives are between 41 and 50-years-old and 29% are older than 50. Twenty-six percent of executives are age 40 or younger.

The following are other qualities employers look for most in executive-level candidates:

•  Proven ability in addressing problems with effective solutions (74%);

•  Adept at motivating others (63%);

•  Can act with speed and agility in a changing market (55%);

•  Creativity (52%);

•  Emotional Intelligence (46%); and

•  Experience in different areas (44%).

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,696 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between August 16 and September 8, 2011.