How long do you expect your executive job search to take?

One month? Three months? Six months?

It turns out, many senior executives are spending longer than anticipated searching for their next role.

51% of candidates have been searching for their new role for more than four months with 1 in 10 still searching after a year.

What affect is this having on executive candidates? Well, other than the predictable stress responses and financial worries, candidates are actually lowering their salary expectations the longer they spend seeking a new role.

Why are senior level candidates struggling to land a new role?

Here’s where it gets interesting…

Recent independent research into the senior level jobs market highlighted an astonishing ‘disconnect’ between what candidates and executive recruiters perceive to be significant obstacles in the senior executive job search.


  • Senior level candidates believe there is a lack of suitable vacancies available. However, recruiters argue that too many candidates are dependent upon advertised jobs. Only 37% of candidates think their next role will come from the unadvertised jobs market. In reality, 70% of senior executive positions can be found in this ‘hidden’ jobs market – that’s 63% of candidates competing for 30% of all senior level jobs. Could it be that candidates are simply unaware of available opportunities?
  • Candidates believe issues working with recruitment agencies to be a significant barrier, explaining that recruiters do not return their calls or provide feedback and act as a ‘blocker’.
  • Some candidates state they have difficulties communicating their value to recruiters or potential employers and many recruiters’ responses echoed this. What’s surprising is how recruiters expand on this, with many revealing their disappointment at the quality of CVs they receive from senior executives. On the other side of the coin, just one job candidate saw the quality of their CV as a significant obstacle in their job search.
  • Many candidates saw the way their age or experience is perceived as a significant barrier; recruiters did not.
  • Candidates sometimes feel they lack the ability to network effectively and/or they are held back by the size of their existing network. Recruiters agree that many candidates must develop their networking skills to succeed, stressing the value of effective networking as an important life skill, to extend networks through tools such as LinkedIn and not rely on ‘out of date’ connections.
  • Many candidates consider themselves to be well-prepared – and recruiters disagree! They say candidates frequently need work to get them ready for a new role. Recruiters suggest that candidates are failing to identify the areas where they require skills development.
  • Many candidates attribute the lack of success in their job searches to external factors that are outside of their control: a lack of jobs; discrimination; recruitment agencies; etc. Recruiters argue that many of the obstacles holding candidates back centre on job search skills and awareness and therefore, can be overcome with professional guidance. As one recruiter explained:

“Self-awareness is the difference between those who are prepared and those who are not”.

What's really holding you back in your senior executive job search? [Infographic]

Independent research has revealed a surprising disconnect between senior level candidate and recruiter perceptions of the significant obstacles faced in the executive job search

Want to know more? Claim your copy of the independent research report ‘The Executive Job Search: Candidate and Recruiter Perspectives Revealed’. Click here to download now.