Professional Job Candidates Gaining Control, According to MRINetwork Recruiters Survey
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Professional Job Candidates Gaining Control, According to MRINetwork Recruiters Survey

February 15, 2013 // // Philadelphia - Professional and managerial talent who are rising stars in their fields have increasingly taken command of the job market, according to data from MRINetwork's ( bi-annual Recruiter Sentiment Study. Of MRINetwork recruiters polled, 68 percent defined the talent market for the professional sector as candidate-driven - a 12-point increase over last year.

This is further confirmed by the increase recruiters are seeing in rejected offers. Close to 70 percent of recruiters reported at least one job offer rejected over the last six months. The primary reasons recruiters saw for rejected offers were that candidates had accepted another offer (33 percent) or they accepted a counteroffer from their current employer (18 percent).

"Top candidates today know they have opportunities that they can successfully pursue but also that they have a great deal of value to their companies," says Rob Romaine, president of MRINetwork. "When top performers do put in notice, employers today are not so quick to say good bye. Managers are increasingly aware of how hard it is to find top talent and often opt to provide aggressive and creative counter offers for someone who they already know is a top performer rather than take the risk of hiring someone untested."

As John Lehnst, owner of Management Recruiters of Iowa City, reported on a search conducted by his office, "The candidate was offered a $50,000 raise, a guaranteed bonus and a seat on the executive committee. I would have taken the counteroffer myself!"

Companies are also accelerating their interview process to avoid losing candidates; 80.5 percent conducted three or fewer interviews before extending an offer, and in 58 percent of the searches, the time between the first interview and the offer was four weeks or less.

"Strong candidates are getting multiple offers if they are actively interviewing," says Romaine. "There is a shelf life for top-notch candidates and it's getting shorter. Companies have to act much faster to hire than they have the past several years."

This is especially true, according to Kimmel Arn, owner of MRINetwork affiliate Arn Associates, because "the length of the hiring process adds perceived uncertainty about the opportunity," and often causes the candidate to walk away in favor of a more decisive potential employer.

Romaine also notes an emerging trend that is affecting candidate availability. "Early-career professionals - those with one to five years of experience - are becoming increasingly difficult to find, and the reason isn't hard to figure out," he says. "Since many employers haven't filled entry-level positions for the last four or five years, fewer people have started their professional careers during this time. The unemployment rate for those between the ages of 20 and 24 years old is 14 percent - nearly double the rate of those 25 to 54 years old at 7 percent."

Other findings of the MRINetwork survey:

  • Newly created positions remain the primary reason for job openings (43 percent); recruiters are also seeing an increase in resignations (up to 34 percent from 27 percent in the last half of 2012), indicating that qualified candidates are more mobile.
  • Retirements continue to lag, although they have increased from last year's 2 percent to 5 percent.
  • Managers are seeing less resistance from the executive suite to fill open positions than they were last year. In 2012, 33 percent of polled recruiters said employers were not returning to pre-recession staffing levels because, despite rebounding sales, hiring managers were not getting authorization to fill open positions; this year, that figure has fallen to 26 percent.
  • 22 percent (up by 4 percentage points) of recruiters believe that staffing levels have not rebounded because efficiencies found during the recession have allowed companies to do the same work with fewer staff.
  • Recruiters still use resumes, although only as a starting point; 90 percent reported that they help a recruiter determine only whether a candidate meets the basic requirements. They also noted that most employers still insist on seeing a resume.

Romaine emphasizes that results from this study do not represent the employment market at large, but rather the management and professional segment of the talent market. "Even with the economy growing slowly," he says, "the competition for this level of talent is intensifying as the availability of talent continues to diminish."

About the MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study

The MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study is based on a survey conducted between January 3 and January 12, 2013 via a web-based survey with a total of 172 MRINetwork recruiters responding. The survey has a 6.1 percent margin of error with a 90 percent confidence. The full report can be accessed from

About MRINetwork®

Management Recruiters International, Inc., branded as MRINetwork®, is one of the largest executive search and recruitment organizations in the world. A subsidiary of CDI Corp. (NYSE:CDI), a global provider of engineering & information technology outsourcing solutions and professional staffing, the MRINetwork has approximately 700 offices in 35 countries.




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