FOR A PROMPT RECOVERY
It is well known that, in times of instability, accuracy and excellence regarding strategic roles are vital. Carefully selecting good decision makers/managers can have a great impact on the performance of an organisation. If it is rather true in favourable times it becomes absolutely necessary in times of economic turmoil. Making an error is not optional, and the Executive Search confirmed that the market is mainly recruiting professionals with consolidated experience so that companies feel secure and they are able to benefit from this investment as quickly as possible.
Employers mainly require sales or management profiles, or even technical ones, like Engineers. This combination is explained by the need of associating financial management with obtaining results in terms of sales. Recruitment needs in Brazil and Portuguese speaking countries, counter-cycle economies, justify the search of Engineering profiles.
On the other hand, senior Human Resources professionals or professionals linked to the Services sector were affected, because the support areas in many companies were transferred to shared services centres. Some profiles have even seen their strategic component lost in recent years, which is why they were not required bearing in mind the current crisis.
Consolidated experience and excellent references are making employers more demanding. The market does not have room for easy solutions or amateurs. Similar to 2009, profiles associated with Renewable Energies, continued to be in demand. The dynamics for this market should remain untouchable, as modern companies committed to environmental responsibilities promote sustainability policies. As this trend is a recent one, the Portuguese market is not yet mature enough to meet the growing needs of these types of professionals. Therefore, identifying relevant experience in the Renewable Energies area is an issue.
We have found that the variable component of salary packages was increased for top Management positions and the opposite has happened with fixed salaries. Awards and bonuses were always dependant on the performance and were always attractive for top management positions. This way, professionals are held accountable for the results of their strategies and decisions. Fringe benefits have also been taken into account, as they do not represent a significant financial effort for companies, but are truly valued by candidates when analysing job offers.
Nevertheless, salary motivations alone do not explain changes which occurred in the Executive Search market. The importance of wages seems to decrease as professional experience increases. Other factors, such as the consistency of the company and the job description are now being taken into consideration. During the economic crisis, we have not come across many companies that are able to offer a salary increase which attracts profiles with consolidated experience. The prestige and challenge of the project ends up motivating the candidate more than the financial factors. In more radical cases, top management professionals chose to give up on a good part of their salary for personal satisfaction and the quality of life that certain projects have to offer.
Prudence should be a word of order yet again in 2011. Moreover, the profiles in demand are likely to be similar to those required in 2010. For instance, professionals working in the Financial, Marketing, and Sales sectors are likely to be the most popular, which does not however necessarily imply an increase in the salary package. The trend will clearly be an improvement of the variable component as well as fringe benefits.
The dilemma facing major public works makes a prediction related to top management engineering positions impossible. These still await the development of governmental decisions and the constraints of the economic crisis.