January is the traditional month for new starts and resolutions, but with the economic horizon still cloudy, many people will not be embracing the new year with as much enthusiasm as in previous years. Threats of redundancy and reduced bonuses could mean less optimism and, while increased spending in the run up to Christmas has boosted the fortunes of many retail firms, those in other sectors are still sitting tight to see which way the wind blows.
But while companies maybe playing awaiting game, individuals are not. The number of applications for full-time MBAs has gone up exponentially in the past six months--people are choosing to use the current economic climate to take time out and get a qualification under their belt so that when the upturn comes, they will be ready.
At the same time, those with qualifications such as CIMA are in increasing demand from companies which need business managers and financial specialists who can help them to get the most out of limited resources and to manage cash flow effectively.
And, while many companies are cutting back the number of full-time employees they take on, interim management is booming. Skilled managers who can hit the ground running are in great demand--after all, when reality bites and redundancies are necessary, it is easier to hire an interim manager to make the tough decisions (page 16).
A downturn can also be a good opportunity to take along hard look...