Where's The Hiring, Mr. Hiring CEO?

Half full versus half empty. Certainty versus uncertainty. Jobs versus spending.

Businesspeople seated side by side
John Cumming | Digital Vision | Getty Images
Businesspeople seated side by side

Those are a few hiring battles Gary Burnison trying to reconcile as the CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the world's largest executive recruiting firm.

“It's this virtuous circle or vicious cycle, depending on how you want to look at it,” he told me after he broke KFY's earnings on Worldwide Exchange. “Out of income comes spending, out of spending comes jobs, out of jobs comes more spending.”

For that spending, Burnison has told me before (like almost every other CEO guest host who sits next to me on set) and tells me again that in order to create jobs, there needs to be more certainty.

But what about the certainty from a more predictable tax policy? I asked him, isn't that good enough to put your money where your mouth is?!

“No, that's not going to be the certainty. The certainty is demand,” he said.

“If you look around many economies around the world, people are hurting,” Burnison added. Right now, there’s one person looking for a job in 30 percent of the households in the US, he said. “In this country, we haven't created jobs in a decade.”

So, is hiring firm, um, hiring? Yes, said Burnison: “We're selectively hiring. We are investing in the business. But we're careful.”

To exacerbate the dismal unemployment rate — the national rate still hovers at around 10% — are the problem that many Americans face with spending, according to Burnison, noting Americans spend $4 for every $3 they make.

“There are significant issues,” he said. “We have overspent as a country over the last 20 years and that has to be dealt with first.”

Significant issues? Sounds vicious to me.


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