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Survey says: Networking is Key in Job Prospecting

groupnetworkingby Chris Pavlides
Founder, Chairman and CEO
Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group
HR Performance Article & Bio

With bad economic news seemingly around every corner, more and more people – especially executives – are learning (and re-learning) the value of networking.

That’s the experience of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group (GPSEG), a non-profit association of senior-level executives aimed at fostering business contacts, supporting members in career transition and generally sharing knowledge. Its Web site is http://www.gpseg.org.

GPSEG recently completed an online survey of its more than 800 members and recorded some telling findings, which demonstrate the need for effective networking for the entire workforce:

• Sixty-eight percent of its members are currently employed.

• Half of all members say networking is very or somewhat important to helping them accomplish their goals.

• Of those members in transition, 44 percent had their position eliminated, while another 29 percent were the victims of downsizing.

● Ninety-one percent of the members reported being satisfied with their membership, networking opportunities, business development, help in career transitions and a learning/growing environment.

So, what can we learn from this data?

For one thing, we can confirm that career success is tied, in large part, to who you know. You can never know too many people or learn too much information. And while this is especially true for executives, it also applies to everyone else in the workforce. That’s why while networking groups such as GPSEG and online business networking sites such as LinkedIn are popular, social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace may also have value.

Given our difficult economic times, many of our members (32 percent), not to mention plenty of rank-and-file employees, are looking for work. To best find the job you want, you must take advantage of every resource available. Whether that’s joining an organization like GPSEG or just talking with your neighbor about a job opening, every

little bit really does help. For top executives, networking with other senior executives, although time consuming, is by far the most effective way to identify and land the next career position. GPSEG is receiving a lot of accolades from its members in this regard.

Here’s another reason why “Networking for Life” is important: Of our members in transition, two-thirds reported being in their most recent jobs less than six years.

Aside from reinforcing the value of networking, the membership survey provided other interesting information.

Although the glass ceiling may have been shattered for women, men still outnumber women in GPSEG, 85 percent to 15 percent. As might be expected with C-Level executives, most (69 percent) are between the ages of 46 and 60. Another 14 percent are between 40 and 45 and 15 percent are 61 to 65. More than half (58 percent) reported being in the workforce for 16-30 years, with the remainder topping 30 years.

Twenty-three percent of our members were CEO, president or chairman, while 21 percent held other C-level titles and 36 percent reporting being executive vice president, senior vice president or vice president. Peak salaries in the range of $150,000 to $350,000 exclusive of bonuses and other compensation were cited by 81 percent.

As far as job categories go, 17 percent of the membership was in information technology, 16 percent was in sales, 15 percent in marketing, 10 percent in finance, 10 percent in human resources and five percent in operations.

Pennsylvania residents comprise 80 percent of our membership, with 14 percent from New Jersey and six percent from Delaware or Maryland.

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