A great time to grow, while it is a zoo out there
Posted Sunday, July 14th, 2013
No Tags

Published in SatNews Worldwide Magazine, May 2013, Bert Sadtler, Senior Contributor

To assist with career and leadership issues, SatMagazine asked Bert Sadtler of Boxwood Executive Search to provide his insight. Boxwood is a management, consulting recruiting firm with offices just outside of Washington DC and in Bradenton, Florida. Boxwood’s services involve job growth, maximizing the performance of critical, senior level talent and addressing the shift in the recruitment and compensation paradigm for employers.

·      Why is the employment scene like a zoo?

·      How does Darwin play into this equation?

·      What makes this a great time for employers to make exponential gains?

With the first quarter of 2013 in the history books, three employment-related trends are worthy of mention. Our information comes from industry conversations in multiple settings including the recent March SATELLITE 2013 Show in Washington DC.

It’s a Zoo Out There

Influences that include sequestration, the continuing resolution, political leadership conflicts and government spending reduction initiatives have contributed to a challenging start to 2013 for the US SATCOM Business Community.

The US Government has been forecasting growth in jobs across the country. However, the feeling within US SATCOM is that only a few companies are hiring senior level talent while more companies are narrowing the number of their senior level employees to address a challenging business climate. For the employers who are hiring, they feel there is a plethora of available, qualified talent “on the street”. One comment coming from numerous exhibitors at the SATELLITE 2013 show was, “About every other person walking up to our booth was carrying their resume and either looking to return to being employed or looking to change their current job.”

The talent comes from areas that include:

–       Employment transition through corporate rightsizing/downsizing

–       Actively employed but pursuing options because their employer has announced cost reductions

–       Actively employed but open to options since their employer has been talking about challenging times and potential budget trimming

Today’s SATCOM employment landscape could be likened to:

Unlocking the cages in the zoo, opening the cages and then standing back while all of the released zoo members stampede toward the “We-Are-Hiring” sign. Note that this comparison of zoos includes a full range of both desirable and undesirable inhabitants. Yes, too many candidates can be just as big a problem as not enough candidates.

Hiring challenges for critical senior level talent has shifted from attracting the best talent to filtering out multiple candidates who are not a fit in order to focus on the selective few candidates who could become finalists for the eventual hire. Now more than ever, employers are under pressure to get it right. With the large number of available candidates, employers are challenged to filter candidates through a structured and accurate process. For some established employers, hiring just one or two critical senior level people could be the difference-maker in banner earnings for years.

Only the Fittest Will Survive

So what does this have to do with Natural Selection and how does Darwin factor in? Charles Darwin is known for his Survival of the Fittest evolutionary theory and natural selection. Within the current marketplace, the strongest, fittest employers will out-survive weaker competitors. Meeting company goals is very challenging for today’s employers.

As an example of challenges, the US Federal Government has become further delayed in awarding contracts. Compared to the historically faster moving, smaller dollar contract award Commercial Market Sector, there has always been contract related delays from the Federal Government. Most recently, the time of delay has have stretched from a few months to up to 12 months or more.

Employers with a limited understanding of the Federal Government contract award timeframe may become frustrated from the delay. Weaker employers may not be able to financially afford to wait up to 2-3 times longer for a contract award. While this is unwelcomed news for most employers, it is not unwelcomed news to all. Through Darwin’s theory of evolution only the fittest will survive as the ranks are culled.

Good Conditions for Growth

Yes, businesses may feel that dark clouds have been rolling in with rain in the forecast. Remember, during rainy periods, the umbrella and poncho businesses do well.

Thus, there is opportunity for the fittest to grow. It can be argued that the current conditions offer the fittest employers the opportunity to exponentially grow:

–       The ranks have been thinned, leaving an uncluttered, more clearly defined competitive landscape and ideally a higher probability to win contract awards

–       Top talent who recently would have rejected an alternative employment opportunity has a new level of receptiveness to seriously entertain their options

–       With the successful winning of new business and the successful recruitment of top talent, competitors are faced with great difficulty in responding by trying to upgrade their own new talent or grow revenue through investing in campaigns for bid responses

Adjustments are a natural force in the business world. Everyone has to make them. For the US SATCOM Sector, many of today’s adjustments have a negative reactive response. For the employers who can decisively and deliberately add critical talent and successfully pursue new contract awards, this might be regarded as a time to make giant steps forward while facing little opposition.

Happy hunting…….(if you can)…….