INTERVIEW With "Trouw" (Netherlands)
Full Interview by Perry J.
ART's Managing Director. Topic:
How Important is Money for Todays Top Managers?
Questions: In the Netherlands
there is a discussion about the income of executives getting higher and
higher.... The question is: what's the importance of money in getting
the best executives? Is money all that matters? What do executives
being headhunted ask for in general.
'Of course, everyone has a different
opinion about the relationship between salary and one's job, but one
thing that most people usually believe is that they should
be paid more than they are currently making. Some people are certain
that their company is not paying what the competion pays, because their
friends at other companies tell them so. Others just have a suspicion
that their company is not paying them "what they are worth."
'Money is probably the biggest
motivating factor for executives to leave their companies for other
jobs, with the exception of layoffs or "bad business climate." Many
people look for other jobs because they want greater autonomy, better
benefits, less bureaucracy, better management, and more growth
potential, but in most cases, companies with these characteristics tend
to be better paying. Many people will leave startup companies because
they want greater challenges and more chances of being "captains of
their own ships," but one characteristic of joining a startup is also
to potentially make much more money through stock options and a
successful initial public offering (IPO). In an ideal world -- that is,
in a reasonably good economy-- one does not always have to sacrifice
money for better life, better challenges, better coworkers. It just
might take a while to find that good balance.
'In most cases, if a candidate comes
to us and only seems interested in money, we get very nervous. We like
to see people who are interested in better compensation, but we
primarily want to see candidates who are mot'ivated to change jobs
because they are seeking more enjoyment from their jobs, more exposure
to areas that interest them, a more stable or better operated company,
an opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art technology with world
leaders in their field, etc. Our concern is that a person who
only focuses on money issues might rush into a situation that might not
be appropriate for him or her simply because the money is good. We want
to see people have a balance of a good quality of career along with
good pay. Most people want that too. In our experience, the people who
really enjoy their jobs usually do well at their jobs, and usually
their companies pay them well to stay at those companies. If, however,
there is a wrong fit between one's personal career interests and goals
and the company's requirements, the person might be less happy, might
not work to his or her best, and might simply not get good salary
raises. And then there are just those cases where a person can be enjoy
their job and company, but the company simply does not have the ability
to pay more. In those cases, usually the person has excelled to the
highest level possible at that company, and there just are no other
opportunities to grow. Those are good times to look for other jobs,
even though they might like to stay.
'Depending upon the economic situation
or regional business culture, most executives today come to us looking
for a chance to make their "vision" come true. These are people who
might have spent ten or twenty years at companies the size of Philips
or IBM who just have not been able to make their company's bureaucracy
listen to them. Or they might have been people at underfunded startup
companies looking for better funded or better managed middle-sized
companies to carry out their dreams.
'The people who come to us typically
"think bigger" than the companies where they are working, and they need
to find people with similar dreams to make their goals into realities.
These people could be dreaming of life-saving biomedical technologies,
revolutionary multimedia electronics or software, or great technologies
or services in a thousand other industries and markets. Their
motivations for changing jobs only partly involve money. These people
are mostly entrepreneurs and risk takers who believe in themselves and
in their abilities. They want to do good things during their career.
They are willing to work hard and they want to have fun while they are
working hard. Money is a factor in their lives, but most of the best
executives put money second after their success. In fact, many of our
candidates have substantial parts of their compensation dependent upon
their personal performance in fulfilling specific targets that they
themselves set with their employers. This is a very different type of
mindset from too many of those CEO's who spend a good deal of their
time sewing their "golden parachutes" while their companies do not
respond to market needs or their competition.'