Economy Gives Execs Job Jitters

Mar 24, 2003 (07:03 PM EST)

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An overwhelming number of executives have the job jitters.

A survey of 1,185 executives by career-management firm ExecuNet reveals that nearly seven of 10 senior managers are concerned about the future prospect of their present jobs or careers. "As the economy continues to struggle, the prospect of a job loss looms larger for more and more executives," ExecuNet CEO Dave Opton said in a statement accompanying the survey's release Tuesday.

Why the concern? Nearly one-quarter cite dismal prospects for their companies; one-fifth see possible mergers, layoffs, and reorganizations; and 16% allude to poor industry prospects.

Today's executives tend to be job hoppers. The survey finds that 72% of executives have had three or more jobs in the past decade. Only 30% expect to remain in their jobs for more than five years, while 40% predict they'll move on within the next three years.

Opton says these tenure expectations may be overly optimistic because a separate survey of 323 recruiters reveals that 18% of executives don't survive their first year in a new position.