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Criticaleye's Community Updates are read each week by Members, registered users, and subscribers globally. Click on any of the topics below to see the corresponding newsletter. If you would like to comment further on any of these topics, write to us via info@criticaleye.com.

Executive & NED Progression

Employment and career opportunities are clearly major issues in the current economic climate. Indeed, not a week goes by without fresh announcements of job losses and organisational restructuring in the media. But how is this playing out at board level? Is increasing uncertainty in the economy creating more movement amongst top executives? And what career opportunities are out there for c-suite executives and NEDs?

Figures show there has been little movement on boards over the last two years. Guy Beresford, Partner for Whitehead Mann comments, "Research focusing on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 shows that turnover on the board has not increased in the current climate. Indeed, the number of executive directors leaving boards in Q1 2009 has halved compared to the same period last year. Since 2007, the number of executives and non-executives leaving boards has also dropped year on year. This may show recognition from companies and shareholders that CEOs and chairmen cannot be held responsibile for collapses of share values in the current market. The financial crisis has impacted organisations across the whole economy so although in boom times falling share values may prompt the need to dispose of board members, this is not always the case in a downturn where other factors are at play."

While the downturn does not seem to be prompting major changes with existing board members so far, it is certainly having an impact on recruitment at a senior level. Organisations are now looking for different things from their executive and non-executive team. Professor Peter Waine, Partner for Hanson Green  says, "Although the number of NED appointments remains steady, the downturn has prompted a greater emphasis on age and experience than before when it comes to recruitment at a senior level. Companies are looking for non-executives who were on boards during the last recession rather than those who have only ever known quarterly compound growth." Evidently there needs to be a balance between experience and new ideas so organisations can drive growth and performance when the upturn arrives.

The desire for experience from members of the board will become even more apparent going forward. Clive Sexton, Director for Impact Executives, explains "Restructuring and M&A activity is creating some significant opportunities at board level. Organisations are going to want to ensure they have the experience and capabilities in place when the market begins to pick up to drive rapid recovery."

What is clear from the current market is that neither individuals nor organisations are prepared to recruit or take opportunities quickly. Clive Sexton adds, "In this market, employers are extremely risk adverse so instead of replacing roles straight away, they are taking more time and considering more options before beginning the recruitment process. Executives are also more risk adverse, so even if they are interested in pursuing a job opportunity they are taking longer to weigh up the risks of jumping ship and losing any security their current organisation might offer."

Executive & NED Progression

As always, we have some great insights on the issues raised in today's Community Update. The Write-up from our last HR Directors Breakfast offers some useful predictions on the recession and implications for senior executive remuneration. It's also crucial not to forget the importance of relationships when looking for a new position. Leadership Networking explores the different types of networks and how to use them effectively for career success.  

Matthew Blagg, CEO, Criticaleye