It would be impossible to have missed the apocalyptic headlines predicting the breakup of the Eurozone or the division of Europe between rising and falling economies. But what is often not discussed is how the imbalance of European economies is likely to lead to greater mobility amongst executives. So how will this affect Europe?


From Greece to Germany
As most know, executives in the 50 European countries are able to cross national borders for work without the need for a visa. This has allowed organizations to move their executives around at ease and executive recruiters to source executives from the top organizations across Europe, without worrying about the bureaucracy of borders. Talent has been able to flow into its correct place, regardless of the location. However, while some countries are being seriously affected by the downturn and others are recovering, there is a risk of a skills imbalance as top senior executives follow the best executive positions wherever they may be. That is, executives are more likely to consider relocation if there are no opportunities at home, but seemingly plenty in countries abroad, especially if no visa restrictions apply.

In addition, while concerns such as relocating family etc. are still strong amongst the executive community, prolonged downturns such as the one we are experiencing, is likely to strongly reduce resistance to relocate. For example, when asking executives on LinkedIn regarding relocation to as far afield as Brazil, one executive replied ‘if there continue to be no opportunities in Greece, we would all consider Brazil’.

The same problem is facing executives across Europe (and some countries worldwide). For example, in Ireland 120,000 Irish are expected to emigrate by the end of 2011. Considering the population is only 4.5 million (April 2009, Central Statistics Office), losing 120,000 is likely to have a huge impact on the ability for Irish companies to hire local talent when the effects of the recovery are truly being felt. Thus, one problematic effect of increased executive relocation to strong economies is that talent vacuums will be left in failing economies as the best executives move abroad. However these problems should reduce with time - the strong tradition of mobility across Europe should resume as economies regain stability in 2011 and 2012.

Greater competition
In addition, Competition for executive jobs in strong economies is also likely to become fiercer, as the number of jobs created cannot match the talent influx. Rather than viewing this as a negative, these economies are likely to benefit in the long run as they attract the best and brightest from across Europe, and lure those non-residents home. On a side note, increased diversity has often been suggested to increase innovative thinking and creativity – exactly the qualities needed to lead organizations out of the economic downturn. And as we hear from cries across Germany, it is often the strong economies that are benefiting from the eurozone and talent mobility who support their struggling counterparts. If they do well, so do we.

For Executives Looking to Relocate
Mario Ceretti, Regional Director of Southern Europe, TRANSEARCH International, recently highlighted that Italian executives should open themselves to job opportunities abroad during the economic downturn, especially because Italian management experience is valued across the world. This positive outlook of branding yourself according to your regional career experience applies to executives worldwide, as national-specific experience or native language abilities are often highly valued by hiring managers and executive recruiters.

It should also be noted that executive search consultants are often asked to search internationally for executive job candidates to ensure that the top executives from across the market are attracted to their organization. Therefore, building your network across Europe and maintaining relationships with international executive recruiters will strongly benefit your move if you decide to relocate.

Read examples of executive jobs filled on BlueSteps to see the international scale most executive search assignments have, especially at the senior level.

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