The job market is up, I am excited to report. Any of you who are social networkers on sites like LinkedIn or who follow the job boards have probably noticed a definite uptick in activity in the last month or so. Quantitative jobs in particular have experienced a healthy surge (remember, statistics is the sexy job of the decade). So while other sectors of the job market may still be struggling, with the few exceptions noted below, your opportunities are on the increase and your marketability is strong.

I suspect we are seeing the last gasp of the recession’s grip, and I have noticed more than a handful of recent layoffs hitting some groups in marketing science and research. As we all know, the year had a gloomy start with many wide-scale layoffs hitting even the quant groups. Then, most of the summer was quiet – no job openings, but no significant layoffs either. Now, however, some companies seem to be making headcount cuts in a last ditch effort to hit margin goals. In my opinion, this is short sighted, but I expect it will be offset by a solid return to hiring in the first quarter of 2010.

So, what’s up with Burtch Works? That seems to be the question of the day. Why would I leave an established firm and start a new one now, during a recession? One reader even asked, “Are things that bad in the quant profession?” As I stated at the top of this post, quite the contrary — the job market in our industry is looking up, and my decision to start Burtch Works was based in part on having already weathered two recessions and recognizing the potential opportunities and challenges into the future.

While it may seem a bit counter intuitive, some of my best recruiting years have come directly after a recession, just before the market begins to take off. As you may have heard, “small is the new big”. Efficiency and flexibility are more important than ever, and both are easier to achieve in a dynamic, nimble environment than as part of a huge corporation. Lots of information — often too much information — is available to both job seekers and companies looking to meet their staffing needs. But it takes experience to separate the wheat from the chaff. My value to clients and candidates alike comes from a proven ability to sift through those mountains of information to get the right people into the right jobs — in a timely, efficient manner.

Burtch Works is my vision for meeting the unique executive recruiting needs of the quantitative and marketing professions, and we are open for business. I have been surprised and overwhelmed by your words of encouragement and good wishes as I begin this new venture. It’s a thrilling, hectic time, and your support means the world to me. Thank you! Together, I’m sure we will build something great.


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