Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Long is Too Long to be Unemployed?

In the current economy, being out of a job for an extended period may not carry 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, developed by Robert Half Management Resources, asked 150 senior executives from the nation's 1,000 largest companies: "How long, in months, can a top manager remain unemployed before it hurts his or her career?"

The mean response was nine months, but there were differences in responses based on industry segments. Among the 24 finance industry professionals in the poll, 37.5 percent felt a four-month stint of unemployment was enough to hurt your career. Nearly a third, 29 percent, felt it would take 10 to 12 months of unemployment before you were stigmatized.

"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."

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