February 24, 2004: Based on feedback from client firms that represent more than half of the Global 1000, Cornerstone International Group * (world’s 4th largest search firm) is projecting at least a 15% increase in new hires at both the senior-executive and middle-management levels in 2004.
Around the world, major employers are increasingly asking various Cornerstone offices to propose on searches from middle management up to and including Board-level and C-level executives (CEO’s, COO’s . CFO’s. CTO’s, etc.). As of January 10, 2004, client requests in December have already resulted in double the number of new January searches, as compared to all of January 2003, and this is only a third of the way through the month. Also, new client requests for proposals in January should bring comparable increases in February searches.
If this trend continues, Cornerstone International Group may break its previous growth record set in 1998 of over 500% revenue increase compared to the previous year. As we all know, the subsequent years have included one of the more serious financial downturns experienced by the world economy in the last 50 years—a downturn that has stifled new hiring at all levels, by large and small employers, alike.
For over 30 years, Cornerstone’s management committee has studied the decision-making behavior of those who have hiring authority in both for-profit and not-for-profit client organizations. A conspicuous symptom witnessed in the last three major economic downturns (1979-82 Recession, 1990-93 Recession, & 2000-03 Recession) has been indecision by upper and middle level hiring authorities.
“During these recessions, our loyal clients have not given recruiting assignments to our competitors, but they have also have not given us many recruiting jobs either.” says Vincent Wan, Chief Operating Officer of Cornerstone. “They have been indecisive, even when they had important jobs that were vacant.”
Apparently this symptom of indecision during recessions also is seen during the course of recruiting projects. According to Cornerstone’s Chairman & CEO, William Guy, “Even when we were retained and our clients had paid us significant fees, many decision makers were slow in actually hiring one of the final candidates presented. They liked the candidates, but the hiring authorities procrastinated in tying the knot.”
But all that is changing according to Cornerstone’s observations. With nearly 100 offices strategically positioned in virtually every major business center of the world, Cornerstone has an excellent perspective to see trends in new jobs, especially for middle to upper management positions. The indecision seems to be disappearing, which is a great sign for predicting positive economic conditions throughout 2004 and beyond.