Ops director posts are hardest to fill

Never
mind the chief exec or chairman, when it comes to a sudden senior personnel
departure, the hardest person to replace is the operations director, according
to a new survey.

Interim
management consultancy Executives Online asked 114 director-level executives
which job function is the hardest to fill.

Almost
one in five said that a good operations director is the most difficult person
to find – and is even harder to replace than the much vaunted finance director,
nominated by 16 per cent, or the all-powerful IT director, suggested by 15 per
cent.

Only
2 per cent said that the chairman is the hardest person to replace when they
leave an organisation, while the chief exec faired little better securing just
7 per cent of the vote.

Norrie
Johnston, managing director of Executives Online, is not altogether surprised
by the findings.

He
said, "Although those responsible for corporate strategy are very
important, at a time of economic downturn companies really value the practical
hands-on skills which drive the day-to-day business forward. If good operations
people suddenly leave a company, the bottom line impact can be immediately
felt. As a result, companies are taking care to hold on to these people –
leaving fewer of them in the marketplace when job vacancies come up."

Executives
Online’s study bears out this view, with 33 per cent of those surveyed
reporting that holding on to good staff is the top priority in times of
recession.

In
addition to companies taking care to retain their personnel, the corporate
changes that many companies are embarking on are creating an additional demand
for good production and operations personnel.

Johnston
explains, "Companies are continually looking at ways to reduce their cost
base, increase their output, streamline their operations and increase their
margins. Good operations and production personnel are crucial to the delivery
of all of these strategies, which is why they are in such demand."

Executives
Online, which has over 200 highly experienced operations directors and senior
managers on its approved register and available for placement, has seen a 100
per cent increase in demand for people with production management skills in the
past three months.

By Mike Broad

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