In a previous blog I wrote about three positive 2014 hiring trends. For the sake of balance, in this blog I'll explore the other end of the spectrum -- a negative trend. Without putting on rose colored glasses I will close this writing on a positive note (for I think this trend comes with a silver lining).
The negative hiring trend that I will focus on concerns the experienced CFO -- the CFO that has, "been there and done that." This individual has held the title of CFO and has earned between $150,000 and $250,000, but is currently unemployed.
Here is a true-life example of one of these CFOs. This individual ran a beautiful career. They started in the Big 4 -- went to work for one of his clients, and grew from auditor to North American CFO over a 20 year span. Unfortunately the company was in an industry highly damaged by the recession. At one point U.S. business was down 90%!
The company could not keep the North American CFO and moved the responsibilities to the parent company's location over-seas. This left an outstanding CFO unemployed in an industry that was far from thriving.
He would like nothing more than to move back into a CFO role. There is little doubt that he would be exceptional in a new industry. But there are several issues keeping him from re-emerging in that role. First, there is a lack of movement at the CFO level (CFOs are not changing jobs and few companies are making decisions to replace their sitting CFO). It is hard to get a CFO job when the CFO jobs are few and far between.
Second, there is a perception that hiring an unemployed person is risky. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it is very much a reality. Many companies are concerned about unemployment gaps.
Third, companies are still concerned about cash. Even when a CFO states that they will take less money, companies are concerned that this is only a temporary fix -- once the market turns around the hired employee will bolt to a higher paying job. They are extremely reluctant to take this risk. Therefore, the strong trend is to hire an "up and comer" -- a person without experience that could grow into the role. [Whether this is a good hiring strategy is the source of another blog].
This leads to a very frustrating market for the unemployed CFO. Unfortunately I have never seen a market that is tougher on this experienced executive.
But here is my positive take on things -- since the economy is improving, these CFO candidates are in a very short line for future employment. True, companies are still at a cross roads -- unsure on whether to hire (especially for an upper level position). The problem is that there is not enough talent to go around.
The market itself is creating an environment that demands business owners, or anyone that wants to get work done, to look to creative resources. I believe this will be (in part) in the utilization of the "over qualified" CFO.
After all, this is a resource that can step in and provide great value for a company. Yes -- there will be issues to confront regarding salary, flexibility, position in the company, and tenure, but those are things that intelligent companies can work through. By accessing these highly experienced CFOs the savvy companies will be able to better position themselves in this upswing market.