Study: Execs Closer to Equaling Last Salary

October 9, 2003 ( - In a possible sign of a slowly strengthening job market, unemployed executives did a bit better at capturing a salary equal to or better than their old one when they got back into the workforce, according to new data.

The Challenger Job Market Index, a national quarterly survey of 3,000 discharged executives and managers by international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, found that 84.4% of respondents equaled or bettered their salary in the July to September 2003 period.

That was the highest since the second quarter of 2001 when the average was 91%. According to Challenger, it was common before the economy turned down to see nine out of 10 jobless managers and executives win equivalent or better salaries. Between 1995 and 2000, for example, the annual average was 90.2%.

However, as the economy sank, so did that average. In the seven-quarter period ending June 30, 2003, the average was 79.5%.