Senior Executives Alert! Proceed with caution in 2006

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In the not-too-distant past, ascending the corporate ladder assured management professionals a bigger office, a healthier compensation package and a more secure future. Today, however, executives are being told: “Don’t get too comfortable in that corner office and don’t buy that new boat you’ve always dreamed of because your job is just as vulnerable as everyone else’s.”

Ford R. Myers, president of Career Potential, a career consulting firm based in Haverford, Pa., sees several trends taking place with regard to senior-level executive job stability and security. Among them are:

Contract positions. More and more positions, even at senior levels, are now being offered on a contract or temporary basis. This trend puts the responsibility on executives to consistently promote and market their skills for the next opportunity and the one after that.

High-pay hiring freeze. Companies are still very careful about making any hiring decisions regarding high-paying senior management positions. Executives need to demonstrate just how they will enhance the company’s productivity, efficiency and profitability—or they probably won’t get the offer.

Outplacement cutbacks. Executives are receiving smaller career transition programs than ever before from the large outplacement firms. Most are getting no career transition programs at all. “The attitude toward senior-level executives and the role they play within a company has drastically changed in recent years,” says Myers. “It’s my job to help re-instill the client’s confidence, analyze his or her strengths and weaknesses, and ‘repackage’ that individual for the current job market. In the end, the majority of my clients are actually thankful for the experience and land jobs that are a much better fit for them than those they had previously.”