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BlueSteps 2011 Executive Mobility Report

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Senior executives are open to new career opportunities, and expect to make lateral moves as competition for executive job opportunities increases. This survey of senior executive members of BlueSteps was conducted from March 1st – April 1st 2011, and received 1,348 responses, including 48% from the Americas, 32% from EMEA and 20% from Asia Pacific. See the end for key trends in the emerging markets. 

Fewer Opportunities for Upward Growth as Executives Seek Lateral Moves

73% of Senior Executives Considering New Career Opportunities, But Not Expecting a Promotion

The BlueSteps 2011 Executive Mobility Report shows that 73% of employed senior executives are actively seeking new job opportunities this year, but the majority expects it to be a lateral move. In marked contrast to the 2009 Executive Mobility Report, where 34% of executives expected to stay at their level for just one year before progressing upwards, 65% of executives are now saying they plan to stay at their current level for the next three to five years.





The global job market for senior executives, while picking up dramatically since the global recession of 2008, varies greatly by region. Executives in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions report having more opportunities than they had 5 years ago (40% and 46% respectively) whilst respondents in the Americas said they have fewer opportunities (45%).

Peter Felix, President of the Association of Executive Search Consultants and BlueSteps.com, commented “Senior executives around the world are eager and ready to make career moves after waiting out the recession and the unstable economy of the last few years. That said, trends in the senior executive job market are making it more difficult to move up the ladder quickly, especially in the West where many executives have put off retirement. Trends in the Emerging Markets are slightly different - with the growth of multi-nationals in these regions, executives have more opportunity than ever, and can therefore progress their careers faster.”

The report shows that 58% of executives around the world believe there is now more competition for executive level jobs compared with 5 years ago, with the competition changing to include younger and out of work executives. A large percent of female respondents (46%) feel they now have fewer opportunities for senior level positions than 5 years ago.

Despite the growth in cross-border opportunities and the strength of the emerging markets, 2011 findings show a slight decline in the willingness to relocate internationally for a career opportunity (down to 63% in 2011 from 70% in 2009). Relocating family remains the biggest concern about relocation (47% in both 2009 and 2011).

Regional Trends:

  • Indian executives are looking to progress far quicker than the global average - 65% of global respondents plan to stay at their current level for the next three to five years, whereas 66% of executives in India are expecting to progress after only 1-2 years.
  • Indian, Australian and Chinese executives are some of the most mobile executives in the world, with 92% of executives in China, 87% in India, and 70% in Australia willing to relocate overseas for an executive position.
  • Brazilian and Chinese senior executives are the most optimistic about the executive job market - 59% in Brazil and 57% in China report an increase in executive opportunities since 5 years ago. Far ahead of other nations, just 27.2% of executives in the US (and 37% of all respondents) feel they have more opportunities now compare to 5 years ago.

A full copy of the AESC’s Q1 2011 State of the Executive Search Industry report is available upon request to AESC / BlueSteps members and the press - contact cpielow@aesc.org.

About BlueSteps.com

BlueSteps.com is an online career management service for global senior executives. As an exclusive service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), BlueSteps enables senior executives to make their career profile accessible to over 6,000 retained executive search professionals who are members of the AESC, and use the database as an additional resource in their candidate and source identification process. BlueSteps members can stay informed of executive job market trends and news via the BlueSteps Career Channel, and use a variety of tools and resources to facilitate the successful management of their executive career path. For more information, please visit www.BlueSteps.com.

About The Association of Executive Search Consultants

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the worldwide professional association for the retained executive search industry. The AESC promotes the highest professional standards in retained executive search consulting, broadens public understanding of the executive search process, and serves as an advocate for the interests of its member firms. For more information, or to download the AESC Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, please visit www.aesc.org.

The AESC also offers www.executivesearchconnect.com, a service for the HR community offering industry information and tools to assist with senior executive recruiting, including access to the AESC membership directory.

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