NEW YORK--()--C-level executives who protect the bottom-line while leveraging key growth opportunities are in great demand, according to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook, released today by Boyden Global Executive Search.
“Companies understand that leadership and senior management remain critical investments”
“Companies understand that leadership and senior management remain critical investments,” said Trina Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “However, they are increasingly selective in recruiting global talent. This is reflected in their due diligence activities and adherence to the requisite experience defined as essential to key leadership roles. Companies are not compromising on any aspect of talent acquisition and development.”
The environment for energy in the US and the Americas remains turbulent, despite current buoyancy in the sector. “Companies continue to sharpen focus around performance and must count on CEOs and CFOs to deliver results,” explained Jim Hertlein, a Boyden Board Member and Managing Director of Boyden Houston.
“Oil and gas companies face sustained pressure to identify operational excellence and many are being forced to search for external expertise in order to boost current bench strength,” said Robert Travis, Board Member of Boyden and Managing Director of Boyden Canada.
Preparing for the future is deemed critical on both sides of the Atlantic. Exploration and Production (E&P) companies have made recruiting the next generation of talent a critical mandate, though they need time to transfer knowledge to that group. Similarly, European energy companies are also looking to develop new leadership ahead of expected retirements, added Mr Travis.
As oil and gas companies continue to invest in “unconventional” assets, the battle for talent intensifies. Extracting commercial value from shale and tight gas investments requires a different operating methodology to that traditionally applied to conventional assets. Operators are seeking talent with a more “manufacturing” biased mind-set. Increased investment in unconventional assets is also driving demand for business development and commercial professionals, according to Andy Baggus, a Partner of Boyden UK.
In Norway, there is a great need to recruit VPs of Engineering, VPs of Business Development as well as commercial and project managers with subsea experience, according to Kaare Bringa, Managing Partner of Boyden Oslo.
In UK’s industrial sector, there are signs of building confidence and a general sentiment of “managed uncertainty” following the success of the London Olympics and the German economic recovery. Companies are putting greater emphasis on “near sourcing” from markets such as Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, and the Czech Republic due to more competitive supply chain costs compared to Asia-Pacific, according to Toby Lapage-Norris, a Partner of Boyden UK.
Manufacturing companies, in particular, not only continue to seek to appoint COOs and VPs of Supply Chain, but also Chief Marketing Officers and VPs of Commercial, who have the ability to shape and stretch the customer proposition to bring in new business, Mr Lapage-Norris added.
Latin America has become a preferred destination for companies that are seeing decreased activity in other areas of their global business. “Chinese, Indian and particularly European investment continues to be significant in the areas of mining and commodities, which are making up for slowdown in other sectors,” explained John Byrne, Managing Director of Boyden Chile.
Helen Xia, a Managing Director of Boyden Beijing, noted a few bright spots for hiring in China’s industrial and manufacturing sectors. “We expect a strong need for local company CFOs and business development executives to drive M&A,” she said. “In addition, there is high demand for scientists and project leaders to set up new labs in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. Expatriate candidates with experience in quality control and knowledge management are also being sought.”
“The US financial services sector has gone through tremendous change in 2012, which will continue into the post-election period,” said Jeanne Branthover, Leader of Boyden’s Global Financial Services Practice and Managing Director at Boyden New York. “As a result, many companies are cautiously waiting to see what will happen in November before determining areas of actionable execution. Their actions will translate into hiring, creation of new products, increase in M&A and more certainty in advancing strategic initiatives.”
Financial Technology (FinTech) continues to be the leading sector of growth as a result of financial institutions creating new products to gain market share and build revenue. Leadership changes at the CEO level as well as department heads will continue through 2013 as companies strive to acquire and retain superior talent to lead their businesses, added Ms Branthover.
Janice Detta Colli, Managing Director at Boyden Toronto, expects to see increasing search activity in FinTech, marketing and private banking as financial services in Canada opens hiring in the new year. More generally, “companies are being extra careful with the due diligence and scrutiny of top candidates to ensure the executive is the right fit,” Ms Detta Colli added.
Magdy El Zein, Managing Director of Boyden Middle East, expects hiring activity to pick up in September, after a traditionally quiet summer, as companies plan for a more robust fourth quarter and year-end. “On-going economic woes in Europe are producing an increasing supply of candidates seeking opportunities in the Middle East and Asia. Employers, who are aware of the pressure on salaries in Europe, are looking to offer lower packages to these candidates,” he added.
“In Eastern and South Eastern Europe, senior executives are being recruited for new streamlined retail banking formats such as shared services, as well as consolidation and merging of leasing businesses into the banks,” said Andreas Landgrebe, Managing Director of Boyden Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
“Hiring activity across most US retail sectors increased in the third quarter in connection with retailers’ guarded optimism on sales improvement trends to date,” said Howard Gross, a Managing Director at Boyden New York. “E-commerce businesses continue to be the fastest growing segment in terms of both sales and hiring increases, reflecting consumers growing on-line shopping activities.”
In particular, demand for mid- and high-level marketers specialising in digital/social media continues to be strong, noted Doug Ehrenkranz, Managing Director of Boyden Houston. “We are also seeing activity skewed to small- or mid-sized companies focusing on products which have real or perceived health benefits, in particular organic and natural products.”
“In Europe, economic uncertainty is contributing to longer lead times for searches as companies wait to find the perfect fit for open positions and candidates are less reluctant to move from current jobs,” said Dirk Friederich, Managing Partner of Boyden Frankfurt. “With internet and e-commerce capabilities becoming important assets for retailers, additional B2C experience is more attractive than a pure B2B play.”
A soft third quarter is impacting hiring plans in retail, export manufacturing and, more recently, resource sectors in Australia. E-commerce, online retailers and digital roles continue to be the focus, according to Michael Catlow, Managing Director of Boyden Australia. In this environment, there have been constant challenges to executive remuneration and thus desire from senior candidates for a higher fixed component and less at-risk in salary packages.
John Wong, Managing Director at Boyden Shanghai, commented on the economic slowdown in China which has lowered consumption across the board and consequently reduced hiring in the consumer retail sector. Government spending in infrastructure-related industries is expected to be a positive catalyst for the Chinese economy in the fourth quarter.
“Healthcare globalisation trends are increasing demand for executives with global market knowledge and the ability to manage and grow businesses across multiple geographies,” said Kerstin Roubin, Leader of Boyden’s Global Healthcare Services Practice and a Partner of Boyden Austria. “Technology and innovation are drivers of growth across the sector.”
In the US, the accelerated pace of development of companion diagnostics continues. Executive talent capable of transformative leadership will be highly valuable to companies needing to bridge the chasm between therapeutic and diagnostic development teams. The market for R&D and clinical/regulatory executives with a successful track record of leading teams will be increasingly competitive, according to Trevor Pritchard, a Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco.
The push toward genomic based/personalised medicine is driving the frontier of next generation sequencing, data aggregation and analysis to define statistically relevant information and leverage cloud based technologies. “The talent challenge sets a high bar to find executive teams with the best marriage of leadership in life sciences/healthcare and technology experience and perspectives,” said Lori Christiansen, a Managing Director at Boyden San Francisco.
Corporations in the US and UK continue to look for ways to deliver on bottom line growth through improvements in productivity. This has different implications for hiring in these companies and those who supply technological solutions to them.
“An important focus for US corporations today will be to determine how they can best adapt business processes to leverage and integrate current technologies, especially in the areas of network management, data management, enterprise mobility and mobile-centric applications and interfaces,” said Jane-Scott Cantus, a Managing Director at Boyden Washington, DC. “This focus requires CIOs and CTOs to be business-savvy in addition to being technology-savvy.”
“Corporate customers in the UK today are looking for ways of cutting overheads by implementing innovative technology solutions,” said Mark Soden, a Partner of Boyden UK. “This has led to an increased level of search activity with a particular focus on recruiting individuals that are customer-focused and well-networked.”
“Small- and medium-sized technology companies are once again adding or refilling top marketing positions for Chief Marketing Officers or VPs of Marketing,” said Martie Bond, a Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco. “These companies are projecting revenue growth as the economy improves and understand that they need top-notch marketing talent to help them better promote and differentiate their products.”
Credible senior relationships with target customers are essential for regional sales and management roles as technology vendors seek to broaden their client scope and increase the share of wallet with large accounts, according to Andreas Landgrebe, Managing Director of Boyden Austria and CEE. “They are looking for true ‘hunters’, both on the executive as well as account management level.”
In India, growth sectors include E-retail, Mobile, Cloud and Engineering Outsourcing where senior and technical talent continues to be in demand.
“Contrary to current trends in the Indian economy, non-Indian nationals continue to assume senior positions with Indian companies focused on the domestic, not export, telecoms and retail market,” said Dinesh Mirchandani, Managing Director of Boyden India.
CFO/Financial Officers Practice
“With static top lines in many companies today, CFOs are increasingly being expected to deliver on EBITDA and directly contribute to earnings growth,” said Simon Bailey, Leader of Boyden’s Global CFO/Financial Officers Practice and Partner at Boyden UK. “In general, companies are hiring talent to add more resources, maximise performance or, in some cases, replace employees who are not contributing at an acceptable rate.”
In the US, there is high demand for CFOs with transaction experience, both for IPOs and private equity-related exits.
“Recent macroeconomic actions, such as the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities, have renewed market confidence and, in turn, boosted executive hiring for finance executives in the technology sector,” said John Holland, Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco. “In particular, there is an increased demand for executives to take companies public, as managements prepare for a rebound in IPO markets in the second half of 2013.”
Jane-Scott Cantus, a Managing Director of Boyden Washington, DC, added that transaction and integration expertise in CFOs continues to be important as several industries consolidate and companies pursue exit strategies for private equity investors.
“We’re seeing a notable increased activity in CFO and financial officer searches since Labor Day, in particular for CFOs in private equity,” said Meg Bradt, a Managing Director at Boyden New York. “With portfolio companies and start-ups at the point of more significant growth, ‘real CFOs’ are in greater need,” she added.
As boards face increasing scrutiny, finding mechanisms to evaluate each director’s contribution to the board is becoming even more important.
“One of the issues that boards have a hard time addressing is replacing a director who isn’t contributing,” said Sarah Stewart, a Managing Director of Boyden Pittsburgh and a board expert. “The board’s annual performance evaluation, while not easy to do, provides a routine mechanism to tackle the issue.”
“The fact that boards are smaller makes it even more important that every director adds value,” explained Tom Flannery, Leader of Boyden’s North America Board Services Practice and Managing Director at Boyden Pittsburgh. “A board evaluation not only provides directors with an opportunity to fix what isn’t working well but it can also be used to help directors prioritise focus areas for the coming year. Today, this could include paying more attention to strategic planning, risk assessment and succession, all of which are high on directors’ lists of concerns.”
“In the professional services sector, the Big Four accounting firms are competing heavily for talent, especially in strategy consulting and law services,” said Miguel Zuil, Managing Director of Boyden Spain. “In particular, they are seeking top executives to grow their consulting practices by offering integrated services that include top strategy, management consulting and, in some cases, implementation.”
In the law sector, firms are merging tax and legal portfolios to better service global clients across all corporate issues. In both cases, expertise in Finance, Energy and Operations is in high demand,” added Mr Zuil.
“The HR leader, in true partnership with the CEO, has a real role to play in ensuring that employees understand that higher performance levels are now par for the course and that businesses expect their employees to achieve more, often with fewer available resources,” said Lisa Gerhardt, Boyden’s Global HR Practice Leader and a Partner of Boyden UK.
“Those HR directors who are able to ensure that their businesses have a motivated and engaged employee base and who are able – and willing – to raise the bar in terms of performance and commitment, are in demand. Such individuals are usually role models for coping in ambiguous environments and finding innovative solutions to the pressures that organisations face on an almost daily basis,” she explained.
Greg Coleman, a Managing Director of Boyden New York, noted that HR executives are moving closer to the corner office and the boardroom.
“Changes in top level leadership in many organisations today are driving the demand for senior human resources talent, and, increasingly, the senior HR leader function is becoming a part of the C-Suite,” he said. “Whereas HR was once viewed as a staff function, it now operates as part of the management team, overseeing large budgets associated with the acquisition and retention of human capital.”
About Boyden World Corporation
Boyden is a global leader in the executive search industry with more than 65 offices in over 40 countries. Founded in 1946, Boyden specialises in high level executive search, interim management and human capital consulting across a broad spectrum of industries. For further information, visit the firm’s website at www.boyden.com.