NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite an uneven global environment, executive hiring remains steady in sectors with predictable growth and where leadership gaps exist, according to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook, released today by Boyden Global Executive Search.
“Companies are facing challenging markets and are prepared to hire leaders who can effectively steer them through the ‘new normal’,” said Trina Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “In developing regions, organizations are looking for senior executives who can apply strong global experience to further drive growth opportunities in local markets.”
“We saw a good amount of search activity in Europe at the finish of 2011 even with heightened nervousness among many companies,” said John Ellis, Managing Partner of Boyden UK. He noted the continuation of this trend in early 2012.
John Holland, Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco, noted that Silicon Valley has now seen eight straight quarters of growth in terms of executive hiring. “We are seeing a great deal of movement in the top finance position within small-cap companies. As companies become bigger and more complex, many are looking for experienced CFOs who can deliver results.”
Venture-backed companies are offering senior titles and higher salaries to entice top public company executives who are more interested in joining start-ups in an improving economy. “Companies are also being very specific about the level of experience they want,” said Martie Bond, a Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco. “Very few are willing to make an offer to an ‘up and comer’ right now.”
“The interactive entertainment and digital media sectors have strong executive demand right now,” said Daniel Grassi, Managing Director of Boyden Atlanta. Recruitment of Chief Marketing Officers, Heads of Digital Marketing, Consumer Acquisition and In-Store Acquisition as well as executives with the talent to monetize social media are being prioritized, he added.
In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), job growth is being driven by infrastructure consolidation projects and initiatives like machine-to-machine offerings from mobile operators, according to Andreas Landgrebe, Managing Director of Boyden CEE and Austria. “Operators need to re-invent their business plans due to increasing data traffic and decreasing revenues per user, whilst also strongly cutting their cost structures for infrastructure and marketing.” The highest demand is for executives who can transform the business from being a data pipe for Google and Apple back to a value generating model both for classical telecom operators and their suppliers.
Dinesh Mirchandani, Managing Director of Boyden India, expects that Information Technology (IT), Information Technology Enterprise Solutions (ITes) and Business and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (BPO/ KPO) will continue to grow in 2012. Economic uncertainties in Europe will force those operating in sectors such as banking-related IT and retail to approach hiring strategy with caution, he added.
“There is a tremendous pent-up demand but an insufficient talent pool for executives in nearly all the natural resources sectors,” said John Byrne, Managing Director of Boyden Chile. Many top global companies connected to development, including coal, steel and copper, have significant hiring plans for 2012 across Canada, Latin America, Australia and Asia. Management is particularly needed in Engineering, Technology, Project Management and Sales, according to Mr. Byrne.
Michael Catlow, Managing Director of Boyden Australia, added that management hiring involved with Resources, Engineering, Mining Supplies and Heavy Industrials sectors remains strong. “We are now seeing companies tighten the guaranteed fixed component of overall compensation packages even as high caliber candidates want more guarantees before moving from their existing roles,” he explained.
The Agribusiness sector is expected to shift in Argentina as the commodity economy moves forward to a more value-added model beyond basic exporting of soy, grain and corn. To support this framework, domestic and international companies in food processing and related sectors are expected to hire CEOs, CFOs, Operations Directors and Marketing Directors, according to Pedro del Valle, Managing Director at Boyden Buenos Aires.
“The landscape of financial services has changed due to the credit crisis and government uncertainty,” said Jeanne Branthover, Leader of Boyden’s Global Financial Services Practice and Managing Director at Boyden New York. “Firms are still evaluating their strategic options for 2012. Many are eliminating entire functions or departments such as M&A, investment banking and proprietary trading to clean up and deliver their balance sheets. Major institutions will look leaner in hopes of becoming more nimble and opportunistic.”
Large firms are moving back to their traditional models. Overall compensation for the sector is down 25 to 30 percent and deferred compensation packages will be in place for the long-run. Many Wall Street firms are limiting payout and changing compensation formulas to reduce expenses. This year companies will continue to invest in Wealth Management, Asset Management, Risk & Compliance and Technology, added Ms. Branthover.
“Sales and marketing executives are in demand in Canada as financial services companies look to drive growth by building customer loyalty and delivering customer value in an uncertain economy,” said Janice Detta Colli, a Managing Director at Boyden Toronto. “In the last few months, there has also been a real emphasis on corporate customers compared to a more retail-based focus last year.”
Neil McKay, a Partner of Boyden UK, noted select companies are increasing market share in M&A fees but fee generation cannot make up for the difference in the fall off in sales and trading revenues.
He added that banks can’t lend to “buy” market share in the fee income business and thus there will continue to be retrenchment from Investment Banking activities in some universal banks. In line with global sector trends, seasoned senior bankers in Natural Resources and Financial Institutions remain in demand, whereas little activity is expected in the Retail and Media sectors.
“We expect intense competition for executive talent in risk, compliance, control and treasury functions in European emerging markets as financial institutions continue to strengthen and ‘upscale’ in these areas,” said Eva Kingston, a Partner of Boyden UK.
In Sub Saharan Africa, executives with strong experience in Consumer Finance and Mobile Banking are being recruited at a premium, added Ms. Kingston.
In Asia, however, bank hiring has slowed down. Institutions are increasingly opting to outsource jobs for contract-based projects, according to Gina Ong, Partner of Boyden Singapore. “Companies are awarding increasingly smaller salary increments as the overall job market moves from being candidate-sparse to an employer-sparse one.”
Compared to previous quarters, activity is more constrained in China with redundancies prevalent in almost every sector. “There is little activity in the financial sector, a marked contrast from what we were seeing a year or even six months ago,” said Brian Renwick, a Boyden World Corporation Board Member and Managing Director of Boyden China. “That said, most Chinese businesses are still fairly confident that growth will continue and many European and US firms continue to invest for China’s long-term future.”
In the Middle East, foreign institutions are sharply reducing their headcount due to a lack of deals in the region and in order to focus on bigger problems in Europe, according to Magdy El Zein, Managing Director of Boyden Middle East.
Executive recruitment in the US and Europe is growing modestly as the Life Sciences sector continues to face regulatory, competitive and cost pressures.
“Large cap pharmaceutical companies in the US are investing and recruiting in specialized areas such as biologics and orphan drug products despite making major reductions in force in other areas,” said Trevor Pritchard, a Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco. “Patent expirations of major blockbusters have also created growth opportunities in the pharmaceutical generics business with hiring growth in the quality assurance, regulatory affairs and pharmaceutical sciences/drug formulation areas.”
Employment growth in the US Medical Devices business in 2011 has mostly come from the diagnostics field and an ongoing emphasis on products intended for the treatment and management of chronic diseases. Attention is also being focused on personalized medicine and creating greater clinical efficiencies throughout the continuum of care, added Mr. Pritchard.
According to Kerstin Roubin, Leader of Boyden’s Global Healthcare Services Practice and a Partner of Boyden Austria, the heavy focus on research and innovation management in European healthcare is expected to create jobs overall, although specialized executives remain scarce. Long-term industry relationships are increasingly important in recruiting executives in Engineering and Technology, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Management, who are in high demand.
In Brazil, rising domestic consumption and deeper focus by multinationals on the local market are pushing growth across several life science sectors. “The bar for talent has been raised with companies seeking well-qualified executives with comprehensive skill sets that can traverse local and international markets,” said Aurea Imai, Managing Director of Boyden Saõ Paulo. “Companies, particularly well-established businesses in the pharma industry, are boosting commercial teams to take advantage of growth and curb competition.”
Alexandre Sabbag, a Principal of Boyden Saõ Paulo added, “Salaries for particular positions in marketing are being pushed to levels above most budgets as the competition for talent intensifies and cost of living in major business centers continues to skyrocket. In healthcare services, senior professionals with a strong experience in business turnaround and change management are in demand.”
In the US, retailers are adopting a cautious approach following the end of an all-important holiday selling season. Howard Gross, a Managing Director at Boyden New York, expects an uptick in C-level recruitment in the US later in 2012, as retailers’ ‘report cards’ are released and leadership changes are made.
Mr. Gross points to e-commerce as one of the bright spots in retail sector hiring. “E-commerce has consistently been delivering strong top and bottom line growth as consumers increasingly prefer to shop on-line or via their mobile phones.”
Doug Ehrenkranz, Managing Director of Boyden Houston agrees. “The coming months will yield more partnerships between retailers and vendors and will result in an impressive amount of innovation with interactive technologies available for consumers — particularly in the mobile and social realms.”
Business innovation has also become a C-Suite essential, according to Fay Voysey-Smit, Managing Partner & Global Consumer Practice Group Leader, South Africa. “The strong trend toward hiring Chief Innovation Officers continues as innovation is increasingly needed across the full business value chain.”
In Europe, slowing market conditions and rising corporate distrust will require a redefinition of the basic strategic assumptions for many companies. “The future of fast moving consumer goods and retail companies lies in the business models that better adapt to these challenging times and with top executives who can drive these business models,” said Dirk Friederich, a Managing Partner at Boyden Frankfurt.
“In the US, we’re seeing an uptick in demand for senior HR leaders with global experience, and great ability to understand challenges associated with managing a diverse workforce across multiple time zones and cultures,” said Greg Coleman, a Managing Director of Boyden New York.
“In addition, there’s been a renewed focus on HR leaders with experience in developing retention programs to stem some anticipated talent exodus once some companies rebound,” Mr. Coleman added.
In the UK, HR executives with strong expertise in employee engagement are increasingly important to ensure a “motivated and engaged workforce” is maintained. Companies are also demanding sector-specific experience and organizations are holding off on hiring until the right sector-specific executive is found, according to Lisa Gerhardt, a Partner of Boyden UK.
Compensation committees remain in the spotlight this proxy season as directors contend with new ISS compensation versus performance measurements and a second year of “Say on Pay.” “While the ISS metrics cannot represent a ‘one-size fits all’ answer, it has galvanized compensation committees and their consultants to determine how their plans line up,” said Thomas Flannery, Leader of Boyden’s Board Services Practice and Managing Director at Boyden Pittsburgh.
“The key is for compensation committees to accept the new reality and focus on clearly communicating what, how and why their compensation plans make sense,” explained Sarah Stewart, a board expert and a Managing Director at Boyden Pittsburgh.
“A number of not-for-profits in the US have started paying much more attention to their treasury function,” said Derek Wilkinson, a Managing Director at Boyden Washington D.C. “Also, a number of prominent non-profit CEOs are electing to retire, which will mean a lot more internal movement.”
By Tim Spagnola
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