Back News  /  May 2014

Research shows that top managers in Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) are particularly open to changing jobs

·    One third of company leaders is actively seeking a new job
·    Misconception of the current employer has caused disappointment
·    The results are high recruitment costs, prolonged vacancies and an absence of strategic

Hamburg 14th May 2014 – the results of a study carried out by InterSearch Executive Consultants show that one third of managers from small to medium sized enterprises (500-1000 employees) are actively seeking a new job. A further 40% would be open to new offers. By comparison, seen across all sizes of company (100-5000 employees) only 18% of senior managers are actively seeking a change. Interviews were carried out with 150 company directors, senior managers and divisional heads.

The figures are surprising because, in general, SMEs are regarded as desirable employers: the study further reveals that managers in SMEs have based a conscious decision in favor of their current employer on this factor. 78% of respondents stated that the corporate structure of SMEs played an important or very important role in leading them to chose their current position. “Candidates often underestimate the importance of personal chemistry in SMEs, particularly those where the owner has an active management role” says Thomas Bockholdt, Managing Partner of InterSearch Executive Consultants, who specialize in personnel consultancy for SMEs.

SMEs and multinational corporations have very different company cultures

“If a manager is on the same wavelength as the boss, then everything can work out fine: if not, then in the long run, the manager will never be happy with the customs and practices of that company” says Bockholdt, who draws attention to the fact that the culture of an SME will be influenced much more strongly by individual leaders than is the case in a multinational corporation. “Even a sideways move to another department will not solve the problem, because the boss usually gets involved in every area” according to Bockholdt. This specific conflict is also highlighted by an earlier InterSearch study: it shows that 31% of personnel decision makers have ended a contract with an employee because they failed to fit into the company culture.

Structured support is particularly important in new leadership positions

Unplanned terminations and frequent voluntary moves can have serious consequences for a company. “Six figure recruitment costs, vacant leadership positions and a strategic vacuum can cause serious damage to a company´s performance” says Bockholdt. In a further study carried out by InterSearch, 42% of companies stated that a recruitment process can take six months or more: only 12% of cases took less than three months. Many premature personnel changes could be avoided if the candidate and the company were able to take a more open approach to one another during the recruitment process. Beyond this, a good on-boarding concept and structured processes help to retain managers. “Well thought out support in the first months is particularly important for leadership roles. A regular and open exchange of views helps both parties to ensure that mutual expectations are being met – or can be met in future” says Bockholdt.

Background Information

For the study “A Change of Job in Top Management”, 150 interviews were carried out with company directors, senior- and middle-managers. Respondents were asked online about the likelihood of a job change, which aspects of a change are most important for them, and how they experience the recruitment process. The respondents came from companies with upwards of 100 employees in the Trade, Service and Industrial sectors.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

We specialize in the recruitment of managers and the systematic analysis of management potential with a focus on the “Mittelstand” – medium sized national and international organizations. The company was founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personnel Consultancy” and has offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich with over 30 employees. Today InterSearch Executive Consultants belongs to the international InterSearch network with more than 100 offices in over 50 countries.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0