Job Outlook from World’s Largest Executive Recruiting Firm, Korn/Ferry

SUSIE GHARIB: For more on the job outlook, we turn now to Gary Burnison,
CEO of Korn/Ferry, this is the world’s largest executive recruiting firm.
He’s also author of the “12 Absolutes of Leadership.” Hi, Gary.

GARY BURNISON, CEO, KORN/FERRY INTERNATIONAL: Hey, Susie.

GHARIB: So you heard Suzanne’s report saying that the unemployment
rate has dropped now five straight months in a row. From your perspective,
is the job market improving?

BURNISON: Well, it’s improving, but I would say it’s kind of a
comparison, you know, of an F-16 versus a heavy cargo aircraft. I mean,
the plane is off the ground but it’s certainly not the way it was in the
’80s or ’90s or mid 2000s. I mean, we’re lacking the jet fuel which is
really this consumer spending. But directionally, yes, it’s getting
better.

GHARIB: So tomorrow, if the employment reports that’s issued in the
early morning from the Labor Department comes out way really strong number
showing American businesses are hiring, would you feel like we’re on the
right momentum towards an improvement in the job market?

BURNISON: Well, we’re headed the right way. But I’ve said for some
time this is a Nike (NYSE:NKE) swoosh. And I was listening to Treasury
Secretary Geithner talking about, you know, foreign shocks in Greece.

I mean, corporate — I spend a lot of time with corporate CEOs.
They’re not investing because of Greece, that’s not the reason. The reason
is because there’s no growth in the top line. CEOs are trying to derive
innovation, but the consumer is just not there.

In terms of foreign shocks, I think what people are discounting and
the impact on Americans is China. I mean, China’s economy — I spent two
months there, living there, China’s economy has cooled substantially by
design because inflation was so high. But that could have a big impact on,
believe it or not, American jobs.

GHARIB: So tell me, you talked to a lot of CEOs, and what are they
telling you, whether it is the China effect or what is going on in the
U.S., what are their hiring plans?

BURNISON: Well, right now, I mean, they’re struggling. There is a
fight for growth and relevancy. They’re trying to drive the top line.
Corporations are sitting on a lot of cash and that’s really good news.
But, you know, people are — you know, more for less.

I mean, they’re expecting more out of the workers today than they’ve
ever, ever had. But at some point that will run its limit. And there will
have to be hiring. But the hiring is going to be much different than it
was 10 years ago.

GHARIB: We have less than a minute. From your experience what trends
are you seeing in where there are pockets of hiring? What are the sectors
that are hiring and where are the weak areas? Real quickly, Gary.

BURNISON: Yes, well, I’ll tell you what is very hot right now is
convergence, you know, companies trying to sell their products through
social media, digital, anything like that is very hot. If you’ve got any
of those skills, employers are hiring. That’s for sure. Life sciences and
health care, another very, very good area.

On the other side of the barbell is financial services, a great deal
of uncertainty with the regulatory, you know, Volcker Rule and all of that.
That is not a good place. But life sciences, technology, digital media,
very healthy today.

GHARIB: All right. A lot of good information. Gary, thank you so
much for coming on the program.

BURNISON: Thank you.

GHARIB: And we’ve been speaking with Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn/Ferry
International (NYSE:KFY).


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