29 Sep 2021
Without a doubt, so far this year had been one of the busiest we have ever seen at Carlin Hall. Whether it was the beginning of the Great Resignation or demand from last year, our clients were inundated with mandates. As we head into Quarter 4, we take a closer look at key trends shaping the Executive Search industry in 2021 and beyond.
Flexibility and Remote Working
Flexible working hours were already a growing trend prior to the pandemic but now they are seen as a real advantage by candidates assessing their options. Employees seem to really enjoy the idea of having the flexibility to choose where they work from and being able to balance their personal and professional lives.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that generating results is more important than physical presence in the workplace. While some companies have returned to the office full-time and others continue working from home, the vast majority allow their employees to work from home two or three days a week.
The hybrid model seems to be a perfect balance according to executives surveyed by PwC at the beginning of the year. While 83% of executives said that pivoting remote working in their organisation was a success, nearly two-thirds (62%) felt that their teams would need to be in the office from two to four days to maintain the strong company culture.
Organisations have realised that flexibility in the workplace is both possible and effective. As such, leadership teams are looking for new ways to motivate remote workers. New executive positions within businesses such as Chief of Remote Workers are not surprising anymore.
Simultaneously, as flexibility and digitalisation increase, organisations are more and more willing to develop their operations across countries and look for candidates across borders. It gives Executive Search Consultants more scope to work on international mandates.
Diversity and Inclusion
While for some Diversity and Inclusion remains a catchy buzzword without sufficient action to back it up, we can truly see that companies are investing more time and money to achieve more diverse teams within their organisations.
That’s because companies are more and more convinced of the benefits of diversity. Apart from providing equal opportunities and creating more engaged and harmonious teams, data indicates that diversity is also better for the bottom line. A study by McKinsey indicated that ‘companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians’. Another research from Catalyst showed that companies with higher levels of gender diversity have lower levels of absenteeism and employee turnover.
Organisations have realised the value of diverse groups of executives at the leadership board to make better decisions. As such, providing candidates from under-represented groups for leadership roles has become a strategic priority for most businesses.
What is particularly interesting is that companies are now finally starting to speak out about diversity not only in terms of gender, race or ethnicity but also social class.
Technology, AI and Data
Executive Search has traditionally used to be people and experience-driven area. Since lockdown measures reduced face-to-face contact, video interviewing, tech-based profiling and online psychometric test have become the new norm in the industry.
However, the most dynamic technology-driven trend in the market is the rapid adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support the expertise of the consultant. AI is used mainly to interpret large candidate datasets, inform hiring decisions and reduce human bias within the process.
Although we believe that technology cannot completely replace the consultant, we are sure it can help to make more informed decisions backed by data. That is because AI doesn’t involve any biases when screening and assessing candidates. Yet, we need to remember that the processes rely on machine learning programming and achieving a highly objective and effective hiring system requires time.
With over 774 million members, LinkedIn is no longer an optional tool for executive recruiters but one of the main channels of sourcing, attracting and hiring talent. Gone are the days of reaching candidates via phone calls and emails. Now, consultants tap into social media to enhance their networks, do a direct search and seek new possibilities. LinkedIn is also a unique opportunity for one-to-one engagement with candidates.
While in contingent recruitment social recruiting has become a standard and some companies even started accepting TikTok CVs, we’re curious to see how the trend develops in the Executive Search area. It’s definitely the phenomenon we’ll be observing further.
Technological advancements and the Covid-19 pandemic have forced the Executive Search industry to change, and we’re excited to see how the trends will be shaping the market as we’re approaching 2022.
As the market is candidate-driven again, there are many options and strong positions to choose from. Looking forward, we expect Q4 to be extremely busy, with continued growth in Technology, Healthcare, Private Equity and Financial Services.
If you would like to further discuss the trends in the Executive Search market with one of our experienced consultants or have a confidential conversation about opportunities available to you, we look forward to hearing from you.
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Written by Monika Wozniak