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(Editor’s note: Charley Polachi is a partner at Polachi, an executive recruiting firm. He submitted this story to VentureBeat.)

There are continuing reports that the economy is showing signs of a recovery appearing in the media, but I’ve always found the best way to verify that is to investigate myself.  And there’s no better way to do that than asking my partners from across the country and around the global what their thoughts are on the state of the economy.

Overall, the sentiment was extremely positive. Here is what they had to say when asked to describe the mood they see with their clients, candidates and investors:

Dave Mullarkey, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“The mood is positive and growth is happening. However, there is a general feeling that it’s a race right now because stormy waters are just around the corner, perhaps in 2013. … There are jobs being created and it’s a fight for talent right now.”

Mark Braithwaite, BSP (Sydney)
“In Asia Pacific, clients are bullish about the market. This region seems unaffected by the economic headwinds other regions are facing. Clients all seem to have significant growth agenda’s for their AP businesses, therefore they are aggressively growing their teams. On the flip side, clients are rightly concerned about the competition for talent and the subsequent rising costs. They are in some cases saying the constraints are not the market, but the talent they can attract.  Candidates are all saying that they are receiving a huge number of calls about new career opportunities. … The only country in our region that does not have a strong growth forecast is Japan. With that said, it is such a big economy and MNC’s still invest heavily.”

Lee Schweichler, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“The mood of clients, candidates and investors is definitely upbeat.  There is lots of excitement around new markets, new companies, new technologies, new ways to do old things e.g. storage, security.  If entrepreneurs are willing to start new ventures, then investors are willing to write checks.”

This feedback matches the sentiment in the marketplace I’ve been hearing from our clients, candidates and investors. In fact, in a recent survey we issued to candidates, an overwhelming majority said that they are receiving more offers than they did a year ago.

What’s in demand?

This is all great news. With the job market improving, the natural question becomes, what jobs are in the highest demand – and where will entrepreneurs see the most competition for qualified candidates? Here is what my partners had to say:

Dave Mullarkey, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“It is fairly diverse on my side, with jobs ranging from sales, engineering, and marketing.

Mark Braithwaite, BSP (Sydney)
“We are seeing demand for sales leadership rolls and they are the hardest to fill at the moment. The Asia Pacific regional leadership roles are problematic because Asia Pacific is a region with very diverse cultures and business practices. It is nothing like Europe, which has many languages, but the business culture is almost homogenous. The skills and experience to effectively lead the region for an MNC seems to be dominated by Australian nationals at the moment. Companies are trying to change this with little success.”

Lee Schweichler, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“Silicon Valley is seeing major job growth. There is a real shortage of engineering and development. We are also seeing job demand for the following roles: CEO, marketing, sales (but less so than one year ago).” (CFO positions continue to be in demand, as well, he adds.)

Where do things stand in social media?

It seems to be very consistent across the board that senior level management and sales roles are in demand across many sectors, but without a doubt, social media and digital space is certainly propelling this growth.  Here is what my partners had to say when I asked if social media is real or hype:

Dave Mullarkey, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“There are some unbelievable growth stories out there, however there are also a ton of train wrecks. It is very difficult to recruit in the space and compensation is too high for engineers.

Lee Schweichler, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
 “Social media is the real deal.  It’s a huge upside for companies that get the value proposition.  There is great interest in the space, particularly for enterprise social networking.  There is a major payoff for large companies to implement an enterprise social network.  I think we will see a lot of consolidation over the next two years, but this segment has 10 years of growth ahead of it.”

Has clean tech peaked?

With all the hype of the clean tech and influx of venture capital being poured into the sector I asked my partners if they thought clean tech has peaked.

Dave Mullarkey, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“We are now hopefully heading into a liquidity period for these companies.  It is needed in order to validate the space.  Hopefully a number of them can get out in the next 18 months.  However, the investment pace in clean tech seems to have slowed down.”

Mark Braithwaite, BSP (Sydney)
 “In this region, it seems to be just getting off the ground. We have not seen the frenzy of executive search activity in Cleantech here that has been happening in EU and the US until the last few months.”

Andy Price, SPMB (Silicon Valley)
“I am seeing is that new financing is geared toward capital efficient technology where IT would collide with energy consumption and create a strong ROI for users. Smart grid hasn’t yielded   any exits or home run plays.  We see big opportunities coming in transportation while energy storage is leveling off due to overfunding and low performance advantages, plus difficulty with scaling issues.”


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