AIMS International President Rolf Heeb about the economic situation in Lithuania and Latvia

Translated from Vadyba Business Magazine

President of the international executive search company AIMS International Rolf Heeb states that businessmen?s expectations in Europe are recovering and companies start employing more management staff. He advises Lithuanian businessmen to seek international cooperation experience, to strive to evaluate global tendencies and to integrate faster into international markets. Mr. Heeb has been working in executive search business for 25 years and he says that during this time he noticed tendency of this sphere to reflect businessmen?s expectations: when the number of clients is increasing, it is likely that businessmen are preparing for the growth and for this reason are searching for new people. On the contrary, the decrease in the number of clients means that business is facing difficulties and is planning lay-offs. ?If our business is growing, it indicates the expansion of the sector, which needs new employees, or of the whole country. This year looks better than the last year. Indeed, our business is like an indicator of the economic changes?, – optimistically says the speaker.
Analysts Change

According to Mr. Heeb, business situation of this year reminds 2006 or 2007 and determines an adequate thinking of manager. During the years of business expansion innovators who could foresee what products will be required in the future were needed, while during economic slowdown analysts who do not think about investments but are able to evaluate which is the core activity of the company and where it is possible to save or restructure. ?It is not that important what product we need tomorrow, it is not that important how to improve sales systems since there is nothing to sell, i.e. no one is in hurry to buy. Thus, already in the last year emerged the need for competent analysts who are able to evaluate how the structures are operating, to manage costs and to leave the necessary specialists?, – Mr. Heeb tells about the management needed during economic slowdown.

Too big layoffs

This year analytical skills of managers are also necessary; however, while making the prognosis for the future, it is essential to foresee not only short term but also long term goals and seek them according to the plan. Mr. Heeb states that companies due to precautionary reasons implemented bigger layoffs than they actually needed and sometimes specialists already required the next day were laid off. This inevitably becomes a threat ? loss of necessary competent people weakens the company and it can be forced to leave its position to the competitors.

Challenge ?unemployment

Companies will need several years in order to recover from economic downturn. Mr. Heeb believes that unemployment indicators will decrease to the level of 2009 only in 2012-2013. The speaker states that in the near future the biggest headache of businessmen and politicians will be unemployment: GDP will grow, inflation will be stable; however, unemployment will also grow ? business will strive to create higher value added with fewer people. ?I think that the fight with unemployment will be prolonged for two reasons. Firstly, as I already mentioned that due to precautionary reasons companies laid off more people than it was necessary, therefore, more time will be needed to recover. Moreover, in some countries companies ? giants can go bankrupt, which would increase the number of unemployed by thousands?, – says Mr. Heeb. According to him, currently the most threatened are automobile producers and sellers, as well as bankers. A little bit less affected and currently successfully operating industries ? for example, pharmaceutical and chemistry industries, as well as traditional and renewable energy sector ? continue their investments, therefore, the speaker advises Lithuanian businessmen foresee what in the near future has perspectives in international markets and undertake it.

To international markets

Industries that are called traditional businesses of the country are more often transferred somewhere else. The speaker gives example of Denmark ? the closing of wind power station components producing factory because of the plans to establish four similar factories in China. This is done not only because of the lower costs but because of the growing need of this product in China. The speaker evaluates this decision as economically useful that proves Danish businessmen ability to evaluate international markets. ?I notice that often managers cannot step aside from the events within the country and start thinking about the international markets, about what is going on in the whole world, which has almost no boundaries anymore but a lot of cultures. I have seen the managers facing difficulties when they need to work in the international company with the representatives of different cultures. Managers of the Baltic countries are not the exception. It is rather attitude not experience problem. With a new attitude my experience will come?, – thinks Mr. Heeb. He makes the conclusion that currently the only way to work successfully is to start thinking globally and to be able to find a mutual consent with representatives of different countries and cultures. Even if the speaker says that in his job he rarely meet Lithuanian searching for a managing position in the foreign companies, he still advices our businessmen to strengthen international cooperation