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The Executive Mobility Survey, conducted by the AESC from July 12th to October 15th 2007, investigates key factors driving senior executives to make job changes. In an effort to gauge the search field’s level of understanding of these motivating factors, the survey was posed to both executive level candidates, members of the AESC’s BlueSteps, and to AESC member search firms.

Respondents to this survey included 933 BlueSteps members and 152 AESC member firms. Of the BlueSteps respondents 502 are from North America, 278 are European, 96 are from Asia Pacific, 30 are from Central or South America, and the remaining 23 come from other parts of the world. Forty three percent of BlueSteps respondents are aged 45-54 and 38% are aged 35-44.

Some of the survey’s highlights are outlined below:

Frequency of Job Changing

• Thirty nine percent of BlueSteps members surveyed have been with their current employer for two to five years.
• Thirty two percent of BlueSteps members have been with their current employer for one year.
• Both groups of respondents agreed that three companies in a ten year period, is the maximum number before one is considered a serial job changer (73% AESC members / 68% BlueSteps).

The Decision to Leave

• Respondents identified the following as extremely important in an executive’s decision to leave their current organization:
  • Lack of Career development (83% AESC members / 74% BlueSteps)
  • Dissatisfaction with senior management (66% / 65%)
  • Poor Company Values (56% / 64%)
  • Reorganization resulting in a change in their role (57% / 31%)
  • Inadequate compensation and/or benefits (38% / 55%)
  • Lack of work/life balance (21% / 28%)
The Decision to Join

• AESC members and BlueSteps Executives agreed that increased responsibility and/or a more senior role was one of the most important factors when deciding to join an organization (93% / 79%).
• The second priority (39.1%/ 46.1%) was the attraction to increased equity opportunities followed by increased compensation and benefits (40.4% / 43.6%).
• There was some disparity, however, about the opportunity for an international relocation assignment. Only 9% of AESC members felt this was an extremely important factor, compared to 22% of BlueSteps respondents.

Senior Management

• Thirty six percent of BlueSteps respondents reported that 25% of the Senior Management at their current employer had been there less than five years.
• Twenty five percent of BlueSteps respondents said that 50% of Senior Management had been there less than five years.

High Level Findings

• Senior executives maintain traditional values regarding their careers.
• Compensation is not the main driver in executive level job changes, which is interesting when compared to the AESC’s 3rd Annual Retained Executive Search Survey (July 2007) where 16% of the 140 Corporate HR Executives surveyed reported that 50% of senior executives accepted a counter offer.
• There is a disparity in opinion between search consultants and executives on the value and appeal of an international assignment in considering a new employer.
• There seems to be a senior level management tenure issue, with a large percentage of Senior Management staying less than five years with an organization.


About The Association of Executive Search Consultants

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the worldwide professional association for the retained executive search industry. The AESC promotes the highest professional standards in retained executive search consulting, broadens public understanding of the executive search process, and serves as an advocate for the interests of its member firms. For more information, or to download the AESC Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, please visit www.aesc.org.

The AESC also offers www.bluesteps.com, a career management service for senior executives, and www.executivesearchconnect.com, a free service for the HR community offering industry information and tools to assist with senior executive recruiting, including access to the AESC membership directory.

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