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Early Retirees Open the Door for Up-and-comers

June 14, 2005
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As senior-level executives finish paying for the kids’ costly college tuition and determine they have managed to give themselves a decent financial cushion for the future, many are taking early retirement. That’s leading to a growing shortage in the executive and management ranks, says Doug Matthews, executive vice president for global career services Right Management Consultants in Philadelphia.

Their companies, meanwhile, haven’t always kept up succession planning at higher levels, occasionally leaving key positions unfilled for a time. The shortage is having a favorable effect on people looking for work: It’s taking less time for them to get hired. For key executives, 45 percent got hired within six months, a recent Right survey found. That’s an improvement of about two months, Matthews says. In the lower ranks, too, hiring conditions are good. Nearly three-quarters of the lower- to mid-level managers surveyed got hired within three months, shaving several weeks off the time-to-hire stats from 2002 and 2003.

Matthews says the hiring environment should remain brisk through at least the first part of the summer. Moreover, hiring for management positions has some insulation against an economic slowdown, should one materialize, because companies have been slow to implement succession plans.

--Jonathan Pont

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