The Economy – How is it Impacting Cameron-Brooks Candidates’ Career Searches?

We are staying in close contact with all of the candidates enrolled in the Cameron-Brooks Development and Preparation Program during this unique economy.  Whether or not you are enrolled in our program, this posting will provide you with information on what economic trends Cameron-Brooks is seeing.

One cannot escape the constant news of doom and gloom economy.  For those considering a career transition from the military to business at this time, you have every right to be concerned.  We are continuing to see companies from a broad range of industries with a variety of positions pursue the hiring of talented junior military officers who are well prepared for the transition and a new career.

Yes, the economy is continuing to decline and more importantly the unemployment rate continues to climb.  However, the unique difference in this downturn is that companies still face a future shortage of labor and especially leaders.  There are 77 million Baby Boomers and only 48 million Gen Xers.  Experts predict that 30 million people will retire from leadership positions in the next 5 years and in fact they estimate 8 million retired in 2008.  Only 3 million entered the workforce in 2008.   In the IBM Global Human Capital Study of 2008, companies ranked leadership capability as one of their top workforce challenges.  The study even states, “Over 75% of companies indicate building leadership talent is a significant challenge.”

This bodes well for the JMO who has had significant leadership training and development and real world experience.  I have heard from companies over and over again that it is cost prohibitive for them to try to duplicate the same type of training in their organization.  Companies have a choice then to hire outside of their organization from a competitor, train someone in leadership from within, or hire a person with strong leadership experience (JMO).  Currently our clients are thinking long term, identifying their need for future leaders, and using a trusted source like Cameron-Brooks to meet that critical need.

This does not mean the transition is easy.  In fact it is difficult.  The bar has risen significantly.  In order to get over that high interviewing bar, one must have an excellent strategy of being very open to a wide variety of careers, industries and locations.  We highly recommend not narrowing down in any area with the exception of quality/leading companies and developmental positions that fit your background.  As Roger Cameron says, it is much easier to maneuver your career within the company than from the sidewalk.  This means, don’t wait for the perfect opportunity in this market, get your foot in the door, be a top performer and then move to the ideal area.

Next, preparation is key.  Companies want leaders who, as one company told Chuck Alvarez today, “Punch more than their weight.”  This means they want candidates who have read about business, applied business principles in their military career, know themselves, and are ready to make an impact.  The level of your interview proficiency is an indication of how well prepared you are for your transition, so you will need to be ready for challenging interviews as well.

Bottom line;  Economy is down, unemployment is up, but the demographics pose an interesting problem because companies need leaders for the future.  We do have clients with needs, but the bar is high and you will need to have a successful strategy and preparation plan. 

At Cameron-Brooks, we work closely with those enrolled in our Development and Preparation Program (DPP) to develop that strategy and prep plan.  We believe, “The will to prepare to win is more important than the will to win.”

Joel Junker