jobsAccording to the latest ExecuNet survey, recruiter confidence declined in August reaching a level almost as low as it was after the debt ceiling crisis last year. The confidence level hit 35 percent for the month while 70 percent of executive recruiters blamed external conditions as the cause behind an executive hiring shortage.

The survey, polling 152 executive recruiters, found that 36 percent think that the pending presidential outcome and the lack of measures taken in D.C. to avoid an impending “fiscal cliff” were the most prominent factors slowing executive growth. Another 22 percent said a rise in consumer confidence would spur hiring growth while 12 percent reported that a remedy for the European debt crisis would improve growth.

The survey found that the top external factors for stimulating executive job growth include, in order of popularity: the outcome of the presidential election; a surge in consumer confidence; an agreement reached to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in Washington; a resolution to the European debt crisis; and an improvement in the national GDP growth rate.

“It seems clear that the lack of leadership in Washington is leading companies to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude toward executive hiring. And, with executive hiring normally being a leading indicator of other hiring, this is not a good sign that there will be growth in the next six months,” said Mark Anderson, president and chief economist of ExecuNet. “If there is a bright spot to the situation, recruiters indicate that only about three percent of companies anticipate eliminating executive jobs in the next six months, which remains very low by historical standards. So, there is not an expectation that things are worsening, just that companies are not looking to add jobs without knowing the future environment in which they will be operating.”

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