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Signs of Life in the Job Market?

November 05, 2012, 02:00 PM

Everyone knows the depressed global economy has negatively impacted the entire job market.  And,  many of the large, mid-sized and small banks and commercial finance companies have made it clear that hiring will remain soft  for the foreseeable future (compared to other recoveries). The result is countless commercial finance professionals are feeling the strains of this economy more than ever, and some of my colleagues tell me they see little hope of a turnaround anytime soon. To further exacerbate the problem, the economic data released weekly is like watching a rollercoaster – creating more and more uncertainty about the job market for just about everyone. You can’t really blame these professionals for wondering if the employment market in the finance industry will ever improve.

I remember being told when I was in credit training with First Fidelity Bank and then again later when I worked as a credit analyst for GE Capital, that economic downturns happen about every 7.5 years and that I wouldn’t understand the negative impact a downturn could have on borrowers until I had underwritten multiple loans or leases during and after a recession. Well, I’m quite a bit older now and by my calculations, I have been through a few more downturns than I should have during my career. So that math didn’t seem to work too well.

Surprisingly though, no one ever mentioned the impact an economic downturn could have on the job market in the commercial finance industry. The effects of this downturn on our industry have been profound in many ways. Each economic downturn creates its own set of pain points, but this one has created more pain than anyone ever imagined – and for a sustained period of time.  And the commercial finance industry has been right in the middle of it all.
 
Many people in the finance industry have experienced difficult times in their careers from behind their desks, but until the past few years, not many commercial lending and leasing professionals had ever experienced what it takes to literally recreate themselves in order to survive such difficult times.
 
But, things seem to be turning toward the positive in the job market, albeit slowly for finance professionals. And we will survive this economic nightmare, find our footing, and charge ahead full steam as we have done in the past – remember the 1970s?
 
Signs of Life in the Job Market

The fact is that prosperous times have outnumbered depressed economic periods in our history, and the good times in our industry will soon return – the signs of growth in our industry are already evident. Over the past six months, I have heard rumors that the hiring market for seasoned commercial finance professionals was starting to turn around, but I had personally seen little evidence of this uptick in hiring.  So, this week I called a few seasoned and respected executive recruiters (who are also friends) and asked them how their business was going. (I too was once an executive recruiter in the equipment leasing industry.)

Each told me that for the first time in almost four years, they are seeing increased activity in the hiring market for newly created positions – not just replacement positions. And these open positions are across multiple functions including business development, operations, asset management and credit underwriting.  So, while times are certainly far from good, they seem to be moving in the right direction.

While it is certainly more difficult to find a job in this industry today, the fact is, the job market for commercial finance professionals was also quite bad a few times in the past. But, we survived then and we will survive now – because commercial finance professionals have this uncanny ability to create opportunities in good times and in bad. And in true fashion, the industry is starting to create again.
 
Today’s job market has become what is commonly referred to as an “employers’ market”, but I believe the playing field will start to level in the not too distant future. I certainly understand why many of you who are unemployed may not believe this today, but, if history repeats itself (which it tends to do), we are on the footsteps of a new beginning in the commercial finance industry.

The ability to create opportunities for success is a defining characteristic of commercial finance professionals – so why would I believe anything else?

Founder / Publisher / Chief Executive Officer | Equipment Finance Advisor
Michael Toglia is the Founder, Publisher and CEO of Equipment Finance Advisor.

Michael Toglia's experience in commercial finance spans over 30 years having held various roles in senior management, business origination, capital markets and commercial credit underwriting. Prior to entering the publishing industry, Toglia served as Vice President of Capital Markets and as the National Sales Manager for both the Equipment Finance and Asset-Based Lending Divisions of Textron Financial Corporation. He also held various roles with General Electric Capital and CIT Group.

Toglia served as the Executive Director/CEO of the National Equipment Finance Association from 2018-2020 and has been an active member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association having served two terms as a member of the Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee.

Toglia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance.

Contact Michael Toglia at 484.380.3184 or mtoglia@equipmentfa.com.


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