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World: Executives in demand as CEO optimism improves

05 July 2013

Sustained CEO confidence due to stabilising global economies and growing digitalisation and e-commerce have resulted in an increase in talent acquisition in key sectors, according to the Boyden Executive Outlook.

“CEOs and decision makers have only recently gained enough direct confidence to add talent and invest more in human capital growth,” said Trina Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “In a number of markets, particularly in the US and the UK, organisations are undertaking increased senior executive hiring in key sectors.”

“Companies of all sizes are focusing on attracting marketing and sales leaders who have been in larger companies earlier in their careers and have a background in data analytics,” added Gray Hollett, Chief Marketing Officer of Boyden. “Leaders with experience in lean and efficient organisations are also being heavily recruited.”

“Recruitment of CEOs in the energy sector is very active,” said Jim Hertlein, Boyden Board Member and Managing Partner of Boyden Houston. “We’re also seeing a notable uptick in demand for CEOs of Smaller independent companies in the $50 million - $200 million range.” Mr Hertlein added that rising demand is linked to many private equity firms divesting, or where different leadership is needed, as companies move to a new stage of growth.

The expansion of energy companies into sub-Saharan Africa continues at a brisk pace, with companies that are well established seeking to improve efficiency of operations, working capital and stakeholder relations as top priorities. Thus, COOs, Country Managers and Supply Chain Management roles are in demand, according toToby Lapage-Norris, Managing Partner of Boyden UK.

Elsewhere across the broader industrial landscape, additional common themes are building. “In particular, COOs and operations executives who combine manufacturing and broad commercial perspectives and skill sets are in high demand,” said Mr Lapage-Norris. “The ‘Amazon effect’ of delivering outstanding customer service is becoming the norm now in the industrial sector as well. Getting closer to customers is the primary driver and the digital platform is playing an ever increasing role in the way industrial companies shape their commercial strategy.”

Central and Eastern Europe has become a growing hub for manufacturing production, attracting more talent from Western Europe and the US. Priority positions include COOs, General Managers and Supply Chain Directors. In Poland, in particular, the growth of “Aviation Valley” is increasing demand for top talent and the recovery of the German industrial sector are added catalysts.

In China, the industrial sector remains fairly robust and recruitment remains brisk for Country Managers, Managing Directors and Senior Sales Executives.

In the Middle East, infrastructure-related activities remain vibrant with oil rich countries continuing to invest in mega projects, which is a trend that is expected to continue.

In Latin America, hiring in the infrastructure sector looks favourable, mainly because of the approval of new laws regarding the expansion of ports.


In Europe, the huge shift from traditional retail toward e-retail has created a growing demand for talent involving Logistics, E-Commerce Marketing, Indirect Sales Management and Web Management positions. Hiring activity is focused more on the optimisation of management structures through the replacement of executives instead of hiring for new positions altogether.

Companies continue to push for executives who can maximise global growth as the domestic market lags. With the rapid changes in digitalisation, companies are further integrating digital marketing with their traditional global businesses, creating an uptick in demand for roles such as Global Head of Digital Innovation, Digital Marketing Directors, Commercial Directors and Social Media Managers.

In Latin America, marquee family-owned businesses are starting to expand beyond their local shores as ‘multi- latinas’ and adapting to growing regionalisation and globalisation. Companies are looking for executives with strong track records and research experience to gain more intelligence on their consumers.

In Hong Kong and China, there is steady demand for management talent in the consumer and retail sectors. In general, consumer goods companies are increasing their recruiting for Heads of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing in particular. In addition, luxury retail brands continue to require talent at all levels

In India, the consumer sector has modestly expanded and increased purchasing due to government schemes in rural India. The sector is currently growing at 15-16% year over year, and is expected to continue to increase, he added.

Financial Services

“Across the globe, several financial services functions have shown a hiring uptick since the beginning of the year,” said Jeanne Branthover, Leader of Boyden’s Global Financial Services Practice and Managing Partner at Boyden New York. “Previously, companies were only replacing critical talent, but now real hiring has begun.”

Wealth Management, including Private Banking, Ultra High Net Worth and Family Offices, as well as Private Equity, Technology, Digital Marketing and Insurance are growth areas for search in financial services. Senior Private Bankers, Trust & Estate Specialists, Wealth Strategists and Compliance Officers are positions with increased activity. Also, a shift in infrastructure toward social media and digital marketing has boosted demand for Chief Digital Officers and Heads of Online Marketing,.

As the regulatory environment becomes more onerous, financial services companies are on the lookout for professionals with the skills to help navigate the increasing and constantly changing regulatory environment. However, estimating the return-on-investment of hires in compliance management is always a challenge because of the difficulty in estimating the amount of investment needed.

In Latin America, the development “multi-latina” companies experiencing growth includes the expansion of financial services companies in the region, as demonstrated in the recent announcement of Chile’s BCI acquiring City National Bank of Florida. With the growth of some institutions, an increase in search assignments for positions in Trade Finance, Investment Banking, Treasury and Wealth Management is expected.

As Central and Eastern Europe manages through another consolidation period, banks, in particular, are looking for new CEOs who are able to restructure and wind down the activities of their defaulted assets. Also, the so-called ‘bad banks’ are seeking interim managers for their boards who are able to troubleshoot and reduce debt exposure in the shortest period possible.


“The healthcare industry in Central and Eastern Europe is overall more optimistic, but still very focused on the financials,” said Kerstin Roubin, Leader of Boyden’s Global Healthcare Services Practice. “The cost sensitivities of the market have forced the industry to adapt and re-organise their processes to derive more synergies but the demand for medicine and devices is still growing.”

Senior level finance and scientific executives with deep industry background and global vision have become priority recruits. International track record and change management capabilities are becoming increasingly important skills in hiring decisions, but the industry is open to career changers as well,” added Ms Roubin.


In Greater China, demand for senior talent remains positive as well. According to Jed Van Voorhis, a Partner at Boyden Greater China, “Hiring remains steady in Taiwan as electronic companies continue building operations here. Specifically, data centre management is an area of growth as companies continue to move operations from Europe to Taiwan,” he said.

In Singapore, the demand for senior leaders has been strong, with US and European companies focusing their energies on Southeast Asia as the next growth market.

In India, companies in e-commerce, cloud, social media and big data analytics are doing well, particularly due to rapid growth in mobile and a vast young and upwardly mobile population that is not averse to adopting newer technologies. Overall, organisations are creating a sharper differentiation in salary increases between their key talent and the rest of the workforce,” he added.


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