High Demand for Executive-Level Talent Keeps Unemployment in C-suite Low

By Staff Report

Aug. 1, 2011

While the unemployment rate remains high, so does the competition for executive and management-level talent—especially for chief executives and human resources professionals, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for chief executives, including chief financial officers, is 2.6 percent, followed by HR managers at 2.8 percent, accountants and auditors at 3.5 percent, and financial analysts at 3.8 percent, according to the BLS’ second quarter unemployment report.

“This demonstrates which positions are most in demand,” said Brandi Britton, district vice president at Robert Half International Inc., which is based in Menlo Park, California. “The outlook for HR is good because as companies are adding staff they need someone to handle those functions like HR assistants and managers.”

But employers are becoming more particular about the skills candidates bring to the table.

For HR professionals, education and experience are important, but companies are placing a premium on demonstrated accomplishments, Britton says.

“They are looking for someone who can show that they’ve helped a company save money, whether it’s by filling positions quickly or identifying trends where the company is spending money in unnecessary ways.”

Perhaps the most dramatic change in job demands can be seen among CFOs, she says.

“CFOs do so much more than they did in the past. They are now CFO and COO. They are very multifaceted.”

Indeed, according to an Accenture study released in January, 80 percent of CFOs said their role is expanding beyond finance to include information technology, HR, production, customer services and marketing.

Attracting these multitalented workers means companies will need to step up their game by investing time and money in management systems and techniques to connect with passive job candidates, said Jim McCoy, vice president of ManpowerGroup Solutions in Milwaukee.

“Employers are responding more quickly to applicants and communicating regularly,” he said. “They will be buying more sourcing capacity, and we’ll see them hiring more researchers to track down candidates.”

In fact, that’s exactly what the Association of Executive Search Consultants predicts in its Member Mid-Year Outlook Report released in July.

“The general management/CEO/COO function is expected to see the greatest shortage of talent worldwide in the second half of 2011, followed by business development and then engineering. In order to keep up with the demand, over half the search firms surveyed plan to hire more consultants and researchers between July and December 2011.”  


Rita Pyrillis

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Slow rehiring of child care workers may stymie employers’ return to workplace plans

For parents of young children, a full return to the workforce means having to find quality, affordable ...

child care, compensation, COVID-19, employee engagement, hiring, human resources

workforce blog


Jushi Holdings builds its workforce in the cannabis industry despite pandemic

A broad assortment of talent is finding a new home at Jushi Holdings and in a cannabis industry burning...

cannabis industry, hiring, Jushi Holdings Inc., pandemic, Safety, training

workforce blog


Regulating recruiting amid constant technological innovations

As the competition for talent rages, complex recruiting systems using AI face compliance questions of t...

artificial intelligence, bias, business ethics, data privacy, HR Tech, talent acquisition, tech ethics