A lot can change in six months. Since the start of 2022, the global economy has been buffeted by international conflict, supply chain shortages, mixed economic numbers, and frenetic turnover in the labor market. The C-Suite has not only been expected to mitigate material risk during all this uncertainty but also to replenish their ranks due to increased attrition and expand the executive roster with a growing list of C-level roles.

The JM Search team has been fascinated by the developments thus far and has been reviewing the economic and workforce landscape to get a sense of where the rest of the year will take us. With our decades of experience as an executive search firm, we have been pouring over the news, statistics, and perspectives from thought leaders to gauge which 2022 executive search trends the C-Suite and executive boards need to embody to thrive. Here are the four touchstones we believe you should keep on the radar.

1. Past Performance Is Not the Only Indicator of Future Results

The Economist refers to the current season as an era of “predictable unpredictability,” where watershed events can change the game with little forewarning. Past performance will still offer analytical insight, but we’re entering a new era where precedents are not the reliable predictors they once were. When complex systems like the economy or job market bring uncertainty to the business landscape, corporations need to recruit a new generation of leaders who bring fresh, creative, and outside-the-box perspectives to the C-Suite.

The Board of Directors will need to prioritize leaders who work and live outside their comfort zone. In a survey co-organized by Google, they identified an essential attribute for the next generation of C-Suite leaders: an experimentation mindset. According to the survey, 70% of executives at digitally leading companies can claim this mentality, compared to only 47% from digitally emerging companies. Furthermore, adaptability and innate curiosity are critical qualities for not only weathering turbulence but achieving financial, operational, and growth goals.

Where a candidate’s previous experience with your industry, environment or company size was once a nonnegotiable prerequisite, this is no longer always the case. Instead, in addition to the characteristics mentioned above, organizations should be evaluating executive candidates on their acumen with tried-and-true strategies, as well as their history of pioneering an effective plan of attack in novel circumstances.

2. Surge in Demand for C-Suite that Can Navigate Changing Markets

The current stock market continues to give investors mixed signals – and executives are contemplating how unpredictable the road ahead will be. A Qualtronics survey indicates that while 93% of C-Suite members are concerned about a recession or further inflation, 83% expect their company revenue to increase in the next year, and 66% expect overall organizational growth.

With these mixed sentiments, organizations need the right blend of executives to navigate volatile and changing market conditions. Moreover, they need to be prepared for success in both bull and bear markets. However, with increased turnover and a diversifying C-suite, organizations are faced with unprecedented demand for executive talent—and short supply.

In the wake of the most challenging days of the pandemic, many tenured executives chose to reprioritize their lives, resigning from their positions for retirement, new opportunities, or different lines of work. A Deloitte survey finds that 70% of the C-Suite is considering quitting for a job that better supports their mental well-being. As a result, more organizations need to prepare for succession or backfill positions.

Additionally, enterprises are recognizing the value of a diversified and expanded C-Suite. A LinkedIn study of hiring decisions from September 2020 to August 2021 shows a variety of positions growing in demand. A small sample includes:

  •  Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer (111% Growth)
  •  Chief Underwriting Officer (71% Growth)
  •  Chief People Officer (61% Growth)
  •  Chief Legal Officer (53% Growth)

We’re also seeing growing demand for Chief Information Security Officers, roles that are elevating discussions about cybersecurity and helping organizations enhance their all-too-vital cyber governance.

With such high demand, we anticipate seeing more executive teams leveraging their professional networks, exploring alternative options, and turning to trusted executive search professionals to accelerate their hiring timelines.

3. Location, Location, Location

Executives are redefining the workplace of the future. A Forbes survey of 30 executives showed just how diverse the response of organizations can be. Whether it’s a full return-to-office, remote model, or hybrid approach, business leaders must consider the long-term hiring implications of each and design the right model for their industry, business, culture, and even individual roles.

Two years ago, executives were grappling with how to answer the question of location. Today, they are making decisions and carving go-forward paths. That said, organizations need to remain receptive to adapting their work model if necessary, relying on a well-rounded view from the executive team. Here’s just a snapshot of the considerations:

  •   The fixed costs of real estate, leasing, and other physical property
  •   The fabric of the company culture
  •   Employee collaboration and engagement
  •   Talent acquisition

Most all these considerations and their subsequent policies will determine the type of candidates you can attract to your business, whether they are required to maintain proximity to an office location or can function from remote offices. No one-size-fits-all approach will work, and every model must be tailored to the organization. The Board must work with business leaders to build a cohesive, responsive model based on the sum of their experiences and expertise, as well as the desires of their employees and the evolving expectations of this dynamic world.

4. Executives Increasingly Reluctant to Consider New Opportunities

Candidates, particularly passive ones, are becoming increasingly selective amid changing market environments. At the executive level, the quality of the opportunity from the standpoint of compensation, benefits packages, growth potential, company culture, and challenges is extremely important, as the costs associated with changing jobs are higher in today’s volatile market.

This is where a trusted executive recruiter can add a lot of value, shaping the perception of C-Suite candidates and aligning a company’s value proposition with a candidate’s goals and requirements. A well-seasoned executive recruiter knows how to truly partner with enterprises and candidates to ensure the best possible outcome for both, marrying together their mutual long-term success.

In this current type of market, many companies are having a hard time “closing the deal” on their own. Even organizations with robust, experienced internal recruiting teams are finding themselves facing a great deal of unexpected occurrences and surprises that are coming up during (and after) the offer process (e.g., extensive negotiations, counteroffers, etc.). These dynamics can be extremely challenging to navigate and once again highlight how a seasoned executive search firm can add value, helping the C-Suite to scale despite the challenges of the market, now and in the future.

To stay up-to-date on trends shaping the executive talent landscape, subscribe to our blog for additional insights.

Insights in your inbox

Stay up to date on the latest trends and insights shaping the executive search landscape from JM Search’s Blog.