Survey: Senior Managers Can be Unemployed Nine Months Before It Adversely Affects Career Prospects

MENLO PARK, CA -- In the current economy, being out of a job for an extended period no longer carries the stigma it once did for top managers, according to a new survey. Executives polled felt that, on average, a senior manager could be out of work nine months before his or her career prospects were adversely affected.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with 150 senior executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, “How long, in months, can a top manager remain unemployed before it hurts his or her career?” The mean response was nine months.

“Despite pockets of opportunity, the job market remains challenging, and extended searches aren’t unusual,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “Most hiring managers recognize the economy has sidelined many outstanding people. In fact, some companies are taking advantage of the current employment environment to hire experienced workers who would not have been available one year ago.”

To take advantage of these job opportunities and stay marketable, McDonald advises management-level candidates to remain active professionally through project work, volunteering in an area of interest or by taking classes to keep their skills current.

These five additional tips also benefit the senior-level job-seeker:

  • Be flexible. You may not find a job that is an exact match with the one you held before. Explore ways to apply your expertise in new areas and highlight your transferable skills.
  • Network effectively. Make sure your network includes people at varying experience levels as well as those outside your industry. Use social networking websites such as LinkedIn to extend your reach.
  • Know the company. The more you can uncover about a business’ strengths and weaknesses as well as its corporate culture, the better you can tailor your application materials to the firm’s exact needs.
  • Consider relocating. Be open to opportunities in other cities or states, particularly if your skills are highly specialized or few job openings exist locally.
  • Stay positive. Finding a management position can take longer simply because there are fewer positions available at any given time. Try not to become discouraged or it will undermine your confidence. 


Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at



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