Something big has happened in the world of career management, and most people either do not see it or don’t think it will impact them.

My response:  First, you need to pay attention.

My second point:  Yes, it will affect you in ways that could impact your livelihood.

My third, and most important point:  You ignore these changes at your peril.

Let’s take a look at this big change.

There are fewer executive and management positions.  The competition is intense.

There are fewer executive and management positions.  The competition is intense.


The time-to-hire, which for years had floated anywhere from four to six months, has expanded now from eight to fourteen months or more.

Increasingly many of the best jobs are not listed.  They are filled based on a referral from a trusted source. When they are posted online, applicants must navigate cumbersome and inconsistent automated hiring processes, including Applicant Tracking Systems, which evaluate incoming resumes and make initial decisions regarding qualification and suitability.  On average, seven out of 10 resumes submitted online, are eliminated before ever being seen by human eyes. The odds for success with an online application, currently range from 150 and 2o0 to one.

Passive applicants, those people who might be interested in a job if they were aware of its existence, were usually a smaller percentage of candidates for any management or executive job. Now, with high-speed applicant sourcing scanners sweeping through LinkedIn profiles, corporate recruiters can find hundreds of potential passive applicants in a matter of minutes. 

Unlike their brethren from the white shoe executive recruiting firms, corporate recruiters historically never called potential passive applicants who worked for competitors. They didn’t have time.  Besides making those types of sourcing “cold calls” to steal talent felt somehow unethical and at best uncomfortable.  Their strength in applicant sourcing was grounded in that highly sophisticated, time-tested process called “post and pray.” 

In my earlier life, as a search firm recruiter, I once had a healthcare Human Resource Vice President add to a long and unrealistic list of selection criteria that they did not want me to steal talent from other hospitals. I got that provision eliminated from the  ‘’rules” I had to follow in a private, jaw-dropping meeting with the HR executive’s boss, the CEO. 

With these automated applicant sourcing scanners, combined with the increasingly obvious fact that more managers and executives are looking for work than there are available jobs, you should realize the competition for the “listed” jobs just got more intense, dramatically worsening your odds for success with online applications which is exactly how the majority of managers and executives attempt to find a job.

When you pull these factors into focus, the level of delusion in the ranks of management and executive job seekers is astounding.  This finding is based on dozens of interviews I have conducted with managers and executives over the past two years. It is as if an executive touches a hot pipe even after being warned not to.  As the executive nurses the palm of his burned hand, he explains why he ignored the pipefitter’s expletive-laced warning: that this particular pipe hasn’t been hot for years. 

The old days and the old ways of finding a management or leadership job, extending back more than 75 years, are over.  Active Career Management (ACM)is now, and forever more, will be essential to achieving sustainable professional success.

Career Boot Camp Planned for April

ACM will be one of the focal points of the YourCAREER Community boot camp scheduled for April.   This three-hour event will cover the essential elements of career management, from building a Value Brand Statement and an ATS-friendly resume to Networking 3.0, mastering the art of the job interview, managing a job search, planning a career change, and overseas employment.

This three-hour event, produced by JohnGSelf.Com, is being planned for a Saturday morning. Admission will be free.

Watch for the save-the-date announcement on Thursday along with additional details regarding the complete agenda as well as some great guest speakers.

Excitement Brews Over AI-Driven Cost Cuts

Saudi Wealth Fund leaders returned to Miami Beach last week for their Future Investments Initiative gathering.

Well-heeled investors, including the ex-president’s son-in-law and several cabinet secretaries, were in attendance. Also there were Michael Dell, the former SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure, the private equity mogul Robert Smith, and Gwyneth Paltrow (who is raising a venture fund.)

On the subject of AI, Andrew Ross Sorkin, who produces the New York Times’ DealBook column, reported that  “Artificial intelligence was a major topic on and offstage. One executive told DealBook that people weren’t fully appreciating how many layoffs the technology will bring.  Another recounted conversations in which other corporate leaders spoke excitedly about A.I.-driven cost cuts, Sorkin wrote”

This reporting from DealBook notwithstanding, the number of jobs that will be lost to AI remains uncertain, like so many other things in today’s economy, including whether we will, or will not have a recession. 

I have found that CEOs who run public companies periodically like to talk about reducing headcounts or the potential for plans for layoffs in the future because it is music to Wall Street’s ears and bumps up the share price.

Many Americans Believe the Economy Is Rigged

Writing in a guest essay for the New York Times, Katherine J. Cramer and Jonathan D. Cohen report that many Americans they have interviewed believe the economy was created by the rich and powerful “to benefit themselves and have left others with too little or nothing at all.” (If you are not a Times subscriber, you may encounter a paywall notification)

Ms. Cramer is a co-chair of the Commission on Reimagining Our Economy at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Mr. Cohen is a senior program officer at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

“When experts talk about the economy, they often focus on issues that many Americans feel have little effect on their lives. Growth and productivity are important, but they are not everything. The nation needs to focus less on how the economy is doing and focus more on how Americans are doing,” Ms. Cramer and Mr. Cohen wrote.

I believe that is a big reason that President Biden’s polling numbers on the economy are troublesome for his re-election.  In a recent Gallup poll, 45 percent of Americans rate the economy as poor; 63 percent say it is getting worse, not better.  When asked how they were doing economically, 63 percent said high prices pose a severe or moderate financial hardship, according to Gallup’s January poll.

If AI automation does drive the elimination of thousands of US jobs, this belief that the economy is rigged will only be reinforced.  It will be a heavy lift for politicians or anyone else to explain to hard-working Americans that this mysterious magic that has upended their lives is not inherently bad.