June 1, 2023

Companies are more flexible to deal with the shortage of executives

Companies are increasingly finding it difficult to recruit executives. This is revealed by a study by the Association for Executive Employment (Apec) published on Thursday. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the 1,150 companies surveyed believe they had difficulty recruiting these profiles in 2022, i.e. 14 points more than in 2021.

“We are at a historic peak”, points out Gilles Gateau, the general manager of Apec. “Whether on the difficulties of recruitment but also on the volumes of recruitment, we beat the years 2018-2019, before the crisis” of the Covid, he underlines. In 2022, companies hired 308,300 executives, exceeding for the first time the symbolic threshold of 300,000 recruitments. On average, they took twelve weeks to recruit executives in 2022 compared to nine to eleven weeks between 2020 and 2021. The IT and R&D engineering sectors are particularly experiencing difficulties.

The Director General of the Association explains this unprecedented situation by the strong recruitment needs, but also by a labor market “a little more volatile” than before the pandemic. “At Apec, we don’t really find that there has been a ‘great resignation’ in France, as in the United States, but on the other hand, the desire for mobility among executives is greater than before, it’s a reality,” he says.

A balance of power favorable to the candidates

To cope with this new balance of power, more favorable to candidates, 91% of companies have relaxed their selection criteria, first and foremost remuneration. The majority (62%) of employers have increased the remuneration provided for the positions to be filled, and most have agreed to recruit less experienced (50%) or less technically competent (51%) profiles.

On the other hand, on the “very French” criterion of the diploma, only 31% of the companies agreed to make concessions. “In France, this remains a benchmark to which companies are very attached,” underlines Gilles Gateau.

Seniors hardly benefit from this new situation in the labor market. Less than half (43%) of companies say they are ready to hire someone older. “This shows that there is still a long way to go to remove the prejudices that can weigh on more experienced executives, who are deemed to be more expensive than others and less aware of new technologies”, deciphers the director of the ‘Apec.

Recruitment methods have also evolved. The traditional cover letter-resume combo has lost its appeal. Thus, only 56% of employers asked candidates for a cover letter in 2022, compared to 67% in 2021. A development that Gilles Gateau attributes to the influence of new technologies: “Tomorrow, a large part of these letters will be made by ChatGPT, they will not say much about the candidate and will therefore not interest the recruiter, ”predicts the director of Apec.

On the other hand, these tools are massively exploited by recruiters to find potential candidates: 78% of companies have used social networks to recruit executives. It is now the second most used recruitment channel, just after traditional job offers.

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