The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC); the primary world association of the professional executive-search sector, of which Dasein is a member; recently published the BlueSteps Job Outlook Report 2016, in which the market’s optimism for the sector is analysed. The data presented reveals that, globally, optimisim amongst executives has fallen 10.9% since 2014. The survey listened to 837 company board members, presidents and vice-presidents from 75 countries.
Adriana Prates, president of Dasein and member of the AESC Council of the Americas, participated in the study representing South America. In the following inteview, the leader talks about global economic trends, the main challenges executives are currently facing and the competencies needed to remain releveant in a climate of uncertainty. She also gives some tips for those who wish to find a position in growing markets.
What global economic trends do you see having the most impact on executive jobs in the coming year?
With global GDP being relatively less concentrated in the developed countries and almost 40% coming from unstable and emerging economies, without a doubt, this adds to the climate of uncertainty. On the other hand, these aspects can influence the job market in a positive manner, which has grown slightly on a global level, as in times of uncertainty; there is an increasing need for very skilled and highly qualified professionals. This favors executives who are more open to mobility, as in order for many of them to grow, they must must work far from home, in a world which is increasingly influenced by local political and economic factors, which can affect the global economy. The rising wealth of once emerging economies creates a new market that requires new investments and turns business competitiveness and human-capital qualification into two key factors to success.
How can an executive best present him/herself to get noticed by executive search consultants in today’s marketplace?
There is no magic formula; therefore, the building of a solid and sustainable carrier over the long term continues to be the best business card for Executive Search Consultants to identify those professionals who most stand out in their respective segments. Tied to this is the importance of managing one’s professional image. It is just as important to BE as APPEAR and this can be seen via awards, the consistent publication of articles, investment in a broad and qualified contact network, and the efficient management of social media channels.
What would you rank as the major challenges for executives at the moment, and what executive skills are in high demand considering those current challenges?
In terms of major challenges, I would bring out the stability of developed economies, which could slightly reduce their search for new professionals; as well as the uncertainties of emerging economies, which generate both risks and opportunities. With regards to the skills needed to face these challenges, I would highlight a strong global intercultural knowledge associated with unquestionable resilience and reputation, because we are living a moment during which, in most cases, there won’t be a second chance for executives, who will need strong planning ability and meticulous execution to get it right the first time.
Why do you think most executives valued executive coaching and digital/social media training over other forms of additional training/education? Do you agree that this is the best way for executives to stay relevant in the job market, other than on the job experience?
The search for Executive Coaching is widely recognized as an excellent development strategy given it involves an individual and customized approach, which significantly accelerates the development and correct and effective positioning of these executives in the job market, supporting them in their search for better positions and new growth opportunities.
In terms of the concern regarding Digital/Social Media, this is relevant due to it being the support tool that many economic groups use to identify and analyze the behavior of these executives in the digital world. It is important to have an online presence on platforms such as Linkedin and BlueSteps. However, formal education should not be overlooked, as it continues to be an important indicator of the progress of a good professional.
There appears to be a very negative sentiment in South America for the year ahead. What do you think executives in this region can do to navigate such a difficult job market?
The pessimism surrounding the year ahead does exist. This is partly due to the sensation of impotence that the executives feel in facing the chaotic scenario that has been established by the political system and government, which could lead to the feeling that little can be done to mitigate the problems. There has been a clear breakdown between the political and business spheres, which has disadvantaged many business sectors.
It is necessary to bet on individual growth capacity. Obviously, the creativity and flexibility to adapt to new segments, work areas and opportunities are decisive to the professionals ability to remain in the job market. It can not be denied that aspects such as population growth, industrialization, urbanization and the improving quality of life of emerging countries will lead to a greater search for basic products such as food, energy, water and commodities. These items will heat up the entire economic chain, both locally and globally, creating good opportunities in various sectors of the economy.
If you could offer one key piece of advice to today’s senior leaders, what would that be?
Executives need to pay more attention to the macro and micro economy, where sectors shrink and flourish to align themselves with markets in expansion. They need to follow the mergers and acquisitions of big economic groups and take advantage of the improvements and growth of small and medium-size companies that are becoming more professional and looking for experienced professionals from larger companies. They need to become indispensable to organizations, consistently deliver excellence, act as wise and brave leaders, and leave their doors open for superiors, peers, subordinates, suppliers and anybody else with whom they maintain a professional relationship. This also includes maintaining a good relationship with executive-search consultants.
(*) The entire survey is available here: