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Issue #18 11/2017
latest news in the world of executive search from InterExec
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The latest issue of our newsletter which takes a special look at the news, issues and trends affecting international recruitment at senior level. We would welcome your feedback – please send any comments to
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There is an interesting comparison to be made in the UK between the market demand for senior executives in the older age bracket and the demand for middle management in the same age range.

While middle managers are often made redundant as they approach retirement age, the more senior the executive, the less this tends to happen. It is actually more likely that these executives will be asked to continue with the employer after normal retirement age.

This comparison is particularly evident for those seeking new roles.

Some 10 years ago, InterExec policy was to hold back offering our services to prospective candidates over the age of 55, because of the difficulty of sourcing a choice of potential placements.

Since then, the combining influences of age legislation and recession have had a remarkable impact across the UK. When business is flourishing, everybody wants to recruit younger staff, but when recession hits, firms tend to look for the experience that only older candidates can provide.

While it is still unusual to hold initial meetings with clients over the age of 65, we have bucked the trend and managed to place two clients in the UK over the age of 70 this year.

This is putting the UK more in line with policies in the USA. While much of Asia, and in particular the Middle East, have been moving in the opposite direction due to a variety of different factors, the UK is at the forefront of a movement towards a more age diverse workplace.

Kit Scott-Brown, Chairman


Data skills will solve Britain’s productivity puzzle

The UK’s data rich society has put the nation in a strong position to transform the economy, increase efficiency and create new opportunities for innovation, according to the Data Skills Taskforce. But, despite growing recognition that data is a valuable resource for companies, there are evidently cultural, educational and financial barriers that need to be handled.

Ray Eitel-Porter, chairman of the Data Skills Taskforce, said: “We want to deliver a thriving, outward-looking digital economy by bringing business, government and academia together. As our report shows, however, there is still much to be done. Leaders need to set the example by embracing data, analytics and digital. We need to work together and be creative to break down the walls that are stopping data analytics adoption across the UK.”

While some businesses have proven that combining data, business innovation and productivity works, the majority are yet to embrace the digital revolution. Almost a third of companies work with very limited data sets and rarely use analysis to make decisions.

UK economy muted in the third quarter


The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) says the UK has grown at a muted rate in the third quarter of 2017, despite progress in the manufacturing sector.

While the number of manufacturers reporting improved domestic sales and orders rose in the quarter to its highest level since early 2015, the same BCC survey also revealed the frequency of recruitment difficulties facing UK businesses, which worsened further during the same quarter.

Based on the responses of over 7,100 businesses, the survey shows how almost three-quarters of manufacturers also reported difficulties hiring staff and in services the percentage rose to its highest since early 2016.

BCC director general Dr Adam Marshall said: "The uninspiring results we see in our third-quarter findings reflect the fact that political uncertainty, currency fluctuations and the vagaries of the Brexit process are continuing to weigh on business growth prospects.”

Switzerland named most competitive economy


Switzerland tops the league in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Competitiveness Index for the ninth year in a row, placing it just above Singapore and the United States.

According to the index, the country gained its highest ever score over the past ten years of the WEF ranking. This was thanks to its ability to innovate, its sophisticated businesses, and a highly effective labour market. The report says: “Economic performance benefits from extremely strong fundamentals including public health, primary education and a comparatively solid macroeconomic environment. Its economy has a high level of flexibility, with its labour markets being ranked as the best-functioning globally.”

Hurricanes devastate US employment


Hurricane damage to Texas and Florida has put a sudden stop to the growth in US employment last month, but the 33,000 job losses in September are likely to be temporary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The monthly jobs report said that the first slide in non-farm payrolls since the beginning of the decade was the result of a “steep employment decline” at restaurants and bars and below-trend growth in other industries.

Other elements of the report were more hopeful, with figures showing that unemployment has fallen to 4.2 per cent, a 0.2 percentage point reduction and the lowest rate since the early 2000s. Statisticians had even reported that the storms had “no discernible effect” on the national rate of unemployment.

Switzerland and Saudi Arabia offer highest salary increase for expats

Expatriates moving to Switzerland and Saudi Arabia enjoy the biggest salary increases in the world according to HSBC in a report by Bloomberg.

Those who make the move to Switzerland, home to some of the biggest private banks, earn on average more than $193,000 (£144,151) - the highest in the world and 54 per cent more than if they’d stayed at home. Expats in Saudi Arabia fair slightly better with a 58 per cent increase in income.

Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, said: “Switzerland has always been a high achiever for economics. The majority of expats there are in full-time employment with improved earnings prospects. Expats in Switzerland are also some of the most confident in the local economy.”

Almost two thirds of UK employees hit by mental health issues

Almost two thirds (62%) of UK employees have taken a day off work in the last year as a result of stress, depression or anxiety, a Wildgoose survey finds.

The new survey results show that 77% of employees have experienced a mental health issue at some point in their career. Authors of the report say this is having a significant impact on productivity in the workplace. With World Mental Health Day taking place earlier this month and awareness of the severity of mental health issues growing, events company Wildgoose decided to survey employees at 250 businesses across the UK with worrying results.

They revealed that of those surveyed who have taken a day off work, just under half admitted to calling in sick with a different complaint to avoid the substantial stigma surrounding mental health at work.

Older jobseekers struggle to find new roles

Leading job board Jobsite published results of a new study of 17,000 candidates which highlight that older job seekers are being discriminated in the recruitment process.

Findings show that those in the 55-64 age group are twice as likely to be looking for a job because of a redundancy and most likely to have been looking for work for over two years. Almost half (47%) of candidates in this age group are unemployed, 13% more than younger candidates.

The urgency behind their search is clear: older candidates were found to be 15% more likely to be searching for jobs several times a day and are 50% more likely to take over a year to secure a new position.

Jobsite discovered that the worst part of the job search for older candidates is the lack of feedback (66%), with 53% claiming they never or rarely received any feedback following their applications.

Insights in brief…

  • Experts have warned young women that real workplace equality will not happen before they retire. According to the Gender Equality Index 2017, which was published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the UK’s gender equality at work has failed to shift in the last 10 years prompting fears that it could be decades before women see a real difference. Among the measures used in the report were the proportion of women in full-time employment, the availability of flexible working and career
  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Britons have record levels of life satisfaction. While anxiety levels remain the same, the report shows that levels of happiness have picked up. Experts say the results, based on data for the year to the end of March 2017, show that rising employment rates have had an impact on the nation’s wellbeing.
  • Scientists claim that workaholics tend to be less successful in the long term than their more laid-back colleagues. Research from the King’s Business School, in which the working lives of almost 200 Church of England ministers were studied, shows that those who gave up their evenings to work found it harder to focus on long-term
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