Study: Top Execs Willing to Jump Ship for New Jobs

New analysis of data from a decade ago finds 52 percent of executives were willing to pursue a new job if contacted by a recruiter. That could matter now because the economic cycle is in much the same place as it was then.

Back in 2002, more than half of executives were willing to actively consider a new job when contacted by a recruiter, according to a new study. It’s a finding could be relevant in today’s post-Great Recession workplace, one of the researchers says.

It’s a little troubling that more than 50 percent are willing to search.

Monika Hamori of IE Business School in Madrid and Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business analyzed raw data from a leading executive-search firm from a decade ago that included responses from top managers at financial-services companies in the New York City area. Executives were asked if they had ever been contacted about a position elsewhere, and if they agreed to be candidates for the job, and 52 percent answered the questions affirmatively.

“It’s a little troubling that more than 50 percent are willing to search,” Cappelli told The Wall Street Journal.

A blog post by Cappelli notes that the individuals contacted typically weren’t told what organization the job was for. Executives were given a “bare-bones description of the ‘opportunity’,” he wrote, before being asked if they wanted to be considered. Saying “yes” meant agreeing to moving forward in the process—being asked to submit their resume, be interviewed for the position, and supply references.

The study found that a large majority of those who said agreed were from high-ranking executives. “Almost two-thirds of executive vice presidents said ‘yes,’” Cappelli wrote in his post. “Less than 30 percent of ‘managers’ say ‘yes.’”

Executives working for companies with good reputations were less likely to consider an offer, the analysis shows. However, the study found that the more moves someone had made in his or her career—“not just across companies, but across functions or industry segments,” Cappelli said—the more likely the person was to look for another job.

“International assignments are strongly associated with the willingness to search, perhaps reflecting the old wisdom that individuals in such roles feel cut off from the rest of the organization,” wrote Cappelli. Uncertainty due to major changes in the current work environment also was also a contributing factor, he and Hamori found.

Interesting, but what does that have to do with 2013? Possibly a lot.

“Although the data in the study is over a decade old, Cappelli said the economy today is in a similar place in the business cycle as it was in 2002, when the U.S. was recovering from the dot-com bust and subsequent recession,” according to the WSJ post.

Have you considered making a move like this in the past? Let us know your take in the comments.


Daniel Ford

By Daniel Ford

Daniel Ford is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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