Boyden Executive Search

This quarter’s Executive Outlook examines the state of executive hiring across industries, finding that with global competition escalating, companies are once again investing in human capital for the long haul. The energy and industrial sectors are particularly active in the US and Europe, as well as Australia, the Middle East and Africa.
By Boyden

NEW YORK and LONDON, Q4, 2013 — Companies are once again investing in human capital for the long haul, owing to stabilising economies in developed markets and escalating global market competitiveness across multiple industries, according to the latest edition of the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook, released today by Boyden Global Executive Search.

“Until recently, companies were limiting hiring to C-level and critical senior roles and remained skittish in     making long-term plans to expand management teams due to economic uncertainties,” said Trina Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “With the global economies growing more stable, companies particularly in the US and parts of Europe are investing more in hiring and talent development to ensure the right workforce for gaining a competitive market edge.”

“In the UK, there has been a strengthening of confidence in the domestic market over the past quarter, whereas in recent years the focus was on emerging markets growth,” said Toby Lapage-Norris, Managing Partner of Boyden UK. “Investments in the digital economy and infrastructure are driving the need for different skills across all levels.”

“US companies with operations in heavy oil production continue to be under tremendous pressure and must work with a limited candidate pool for highly specialised roles, particularly in ‘unconventional’ energy plays which are driving huge growth,” said Robert Travis, a Managing Partner at Boyden Calgary. “Large-scale operations require senior talent that can manage multiple teams broadly across different levels, so the demand for executives who have the skill to scale up is high.”

Mr Travis explains that the discrepancy of age versus the available talent is an issue. “Baby boomers are retiring and there’s an insufficient pipeline of individuals with deep experience to fill the talent gap. Manager roles are therefore broadening by necessity and are increasingly being supported by additional technical expertise. Companies are also investing more in training and development programs, particularly in cross-functional manager training, to provide a holistic, scalable view of the organisation.”

The demand for leadership talent across Europe, the Middle East and Africa has remained strong through the trough of the economic cycle, according to Andy Baggus, a Partner at Boyden UK. “With the ongoing and pressing need to secure energy supply, organisations are seeking better returns from existing oil and gas fields and are striving for greater capital discipline around field development activity. The sector has also experienced an uptick in deal-making with significant activity around Joint Ventures, Farm-ins, Divestments and Production Sharing Agreements.”

Skill in technical leadership, government relations, social responsibility and supply chain capability also continue to grow in demand, added Mr Baggus. E&P companies in particular are looking for technical leadership expertise to oversee the development of mature assets and near field production opportunities.

In Australia, hiring expectations have strengthened almost immediately post the election of the Liberal Party, and competition for C-level candidates is expected to increase in Q4, according to Michael Catlow, Managing Partner of Boyden Australia & New Zealand. “The economy is expected to move forward with a number of the larger mining and resources projects led by the big LNG companies in northern Australia.”

In Singapore and Southeast Asia, European companies are upgrading their regional headquarters to take advantage of growth opportunities. Recruitment is strong for CFOs, supply chain, business development and sales, according to Roger Wilson, Managing Partner of Boyden Singapore. “Singapore and the region have huge economic reserves and are well protected from volatility,” added Mr Wilson.

Hiring activity in India is bullish, particularly in manufacturing, mining and construction, finance, insurance and real estate, which represent a significant turnaround in employer confidence following four consecutive quarters of relatively lacklustre forecasts, according to Abhay Joshi, a Partner at Boyden India.

In the Middle East, the oil-rich countries, led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, are investing heavily in infrastructure and aggressive job creation, particularly in senior positions in government and semi-government institutions, according to Magdy El-Zein, Managing Partner of Boyden Middle East. “There is also huge expectation that if the UAE wins the 2020 World Expo hosting vote next month, it will kick-start a massive investment in services and infrastructure over the coming six years,” he added.

In Europe, companies resistant to expanding operations to Asia are increasingly setting up industrial and business outsourcing operations in Eastern Europe. Business outsourcing recruitment is strongest for Operations Directors, Production Directors and Purchasing Directors, according to Zbigniew Plaza, Managing Partner of Boyden Poland.

In Canada, Latin American markets especially Brazil, Argentina and Mexico continue to be areas of focus for Canadian manufacturing organisations looking to capitalise on growth, according to Janice Detta Colli, a Managing Partner at Boyden Toronto.

According to Kerstin Roubin, Leader of Boyden’s Global Healthcare Services Practice and a Managing Partner of Boyden Austria, senior global healthcare recruitment has been supported by the ability to expand internationally and develop global networks with key stakeholders, especially in Asia, and the need to develop a customer-centric approach, particularly as medical tourism expands and patients become more cost-sensitive.

In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), locally experienced sales, marketing and regulatory executives remain in high demand as the region expects more growth than the western European market, added Ms Roubin.

The US employment market continues its upward trend as biotechnology start-ups have finally begun to see an opening up of the IPO market and the pharmaceutical industry sustains its focus on the growing “orphan drug” space, which is reflected in a higher demand for clinical and marketing expertise in these areas, according to Trevor Pritchard, Managing Partner of Boyden San Francisco.

The UK healthcare sector is becoming more industrialised and precision-based, thereby creating more room for employment, according to Laurence Callow, a Partner in Boyden’s Global Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice in Boyden UK. “Overall, there is a rebalance of the public and private sectors in the financing and delivery of care. New pay and reimbursement models will focus on outcomes, quality and cost-savings, and public and private sector partnerships will expand in number and scope, creating a multi-trillion dollar global market for the private sector and helping governments provide sustainable healthcare for their citizens.”

“Hiring in the global consumer and retail sector is currently leaning towards very creative and technologically savvy strategy and marketing talent as an increasingly diverse and sophisticated consumer base of highly aspirational and informed consumers adds enormous complexity to the market,” said Fay Voysey-Smit, Leader of Boyden’s Global Consumer Practice and Managing Partner of Boyden Sub-Saharan Africa.

The steep growth projections for e-commerce and mobile businesses are expected to continue through year-end and into 2014, according to Howard Gross, a Managing Partner of Boyden New York. “As retailers approach the critically important holiday season and a new fiscal year, having broadly experienced leaders in place is imperative,” he said.

In the US consumer products space, the ‘health halo’ trend is not only driving sales but hiring as well, according to Doug Ehrenkranz, a Managing Partner at Boyden Houston. “Many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have accelerated initiatives to address health and wellness, especially among baby-boomers for whom health and aging is top-of-mind. This has led to an uptick in the recruitment of both food technology executives and marketing executives with product innovation experience.”

The sporting goods, apparel and footwear industries are recruiting for positions that marry finance, marketing and sales skills, according to Amanda Worthington, a Principal in Boyden Chicago. “More companies are focusing on hiring marketers and sales leaders who have been in larger companies early in their careers with a background in data analytics, and recent experience in a more leanly staffed and resourced organisation.”

The US hospitality industry has experienced the most job gains in 2013, with a significant part of the growth attributed to increased international visitation, according to Bill Hanbury, a Principal in Boyden's Washington Office. “Companies and destination marketing organisations are looking for executive talent that understands the international visitor and can maximise growth potential from foreign markets,” he added.

The UK retail and consumer sector reflects the general optimism of the overall economic outlook. Companies are expanding businesses internationally due to increased competitive forces, resulting in an increased inflow of senior level appointments, according to Victoria Stead, a Partner at Boyden UK.

In addition, another significant trend in this sector is the merging of the CIO and CMO roles, as technology and marketing roles continue to inevitably overlap, added Ms Stead.

Ms Voysey-Smit further added that with a large percentage of global organisations driving their growth into Africa from South Africa, and with 7 of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world being on the African continent, multinationals are increasingly retaining executives across all functions who understand the complexities of operating across the enormous diversity in this region.

“There is also a need for high level supply chain, manufacturing and operations skills in Africa, she said. “An immensely diverse mix of consumers ranging across all income categories necessitates a real understanding of consumer needs and the ability to flex and change the product mix in specific countries to accommodate these needs, particularly at mid-to-lower end pricing levels.”

In Latin America, the expansion of “Multilatina” companies regionally and into the US is pushing up recruitment for Chief Operating Officers, Country Managers and Regional VPs, according to Antonio Sanchez, a Boyden Board Member and Managing Partner of Boyden Colombia. Acquisition of domestic firms has also resulted in multinational parent units hiring new talent with deeper international background, he added.

“More often in Latin America we’re executing cross-country searches,” explained John Byrne, Managing Partner of Boyden Santiago. “With some domestic markets downshifting, there’s also a focus on recruitment of strategic positions including Board Members, CFOs and Country Managers to improve overall performance.”

In Brazil, as the economy has slowed, most available positions are in sales and marketing, aiming at optimising asset profitability, according to Alexandre Sabbag, a Managing Partner at Boyden São Paulo. “Compensation levels for senior positions have dropped by 10 to 15 percent, and smaller companies are taking to offering more attractive stock schemes to attract and retain senior talent in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner.”

In China, summer is typically sluggish and this year was no exception; however late in Q3 there has been a significant increase in assignments for senior level positions in the consumer goods and retail sectors, particularly for regional roles with responsibility for Greater China or Asia-Pacific, according to Ami Bhatt Hardy, a Managing Partner of Boyden Greater China.

Financial Services
“Moving into 2014, we see growth across most of the financial services industry,” said Jeanne Branthover, Leader of Boyden’s Global Financial Services Practice and Managing Partner at Boyden New York. “Hiring of compliance, regulatory and risk professionals is here to stay. Leaders in Finance and Technology roles will continue to be sought after as firms stay focused on keeping costs low and efficiencies high to stay competitive in today’s market.”

Companies in the insurance industry, in particular, will need to focus on improving their competitive edge by upgrading and adding professionals including in Operations and Technology, Product Development Wealth Management, and Capital and Risk Management, added Ms Branthover.

Kate Quinn, a Partner at Boyden New York, explained that the biggest issues in banking and actively managed strategies are focused on cross-border compliance and risk. “The conventional approach to risk valuation has changed and become a far more complex continuum, especially in banking and insurance. Risk will therefore be a very big part of the hires in insurance and securities markets.”

According to Andrew Reese, a Partner in Boyden New York, some segments of the financial services industry are seeing a 35-40 percent salary increase compared to approximately 15 percent two years ago. “This is a direct reflection of the increased competition for talent. Top firms understand that they must make their recruiting compensation packages more attractive.”

In China, particularly in financial services, all eyes are on the establishment of a new free trade zone in Shanghai and the impact this will have on businesses there and the economy as a whole, according to William Farrell, a Boyden Board Member and Managing Partner of Boyden Greater China.

In Eastern Europe, as multinational banks continue to struggle with defaults and consumer credit they are leaning towards merging their leasing businesses into retail operations – a move that requires a completely new profile of managers who are able to interact in both spheres which, in the past, had very different cultures and business principles, said Andreas Landgrebe, Managing Partner of Boyden Austria and CEE.

In the Middle East, the Financial Services sector appears to have stabilised and regional banks are looking to strengthen their senior management teams, explained Magdy El-Zein, Managing Partner of Boyden Middle East. In particular, the region is seeing more interest in Africa as multinational firms increasingly manage their developing African businesses from regional hubs in the Middle East.

Human Resources
“There has been a lot of activity around senior HR positions and we expect this to continue as we move into the final quarter of the year”, said Lisa Gerhardt, Boyden Global HR Practice Leader and a Partner at Boyden UK.

“Whenever there is change at the CEO level, we often see a change in the HR Director, as CEOs put a lot of emphasis on personal relationships and trust in that position.”   

“Even more significant is that global companies are undergoing considerable change and looking at HR Directors to manage the workforce through this change,” she added. “Within multinational organisations, there is a need to consolidate and move to a ‘shared services’ or global business services model, often underpinned by enterprise-wide technology implementations, and companies are looking to the HR function to bring people on board through the transition.”  

“CEOs and Boards across all industry sectors are looking for experienced and highly strategic HR leaders who can help transform their organisations into more flexible global enterprises and drive bottom-line results,” said Greg Coleman, a Managing Partner at Boyden New York. “In particular, companies are applying innovative approaches to develop creative ‘Wellness Programs’ and are placing a renewed emphasis on Professional Training & Development, especially via elective on-line learning, to engage employees globally.”

Catherine Gray, a Principal at Boyden Chicago, added, “Demand continues for CHROs who are commercially-focused and bring broad business acumen and global experience to an organisation. As the economy continues to improve and employees start looking outside their companies, the need for HR professionals with talent management expertise is at its highest, particularly in the areas of engaging and retaining a global workforce.”

Fay Voysey-Smit, Managing Partner of Boyden Sub-Saharan Africa, agrees that highly strategic HR executives remain in strong demand as the need for high level HR strategies that drive the delivery of commercial strategy becomes ever more apparent. This is a trend that is evident across all industry sectors.

Board Services and Professional Services
Increasingly, companies are more actively considering replacing sitting board members, and this is a big shift from the norm of waiting until directors’ terms expire, according to Sarah Stewart, a Partner of Boyden Pittsburgh and a board expert. 

“A reluctance to be publicly critical of an individual director is keeping many boards from acting,” said Tom Flannery, who serves as Practice Leader for Board Services at Boyden. “It’s not always an issue of bad performance, though in some cases competent directors have simply lost touch with current issues or their expertise has lost its relevance due to shifting strategies. Thus, individual director assessments, as part ofthe required annual board evaluation process, may be the only way boards can make room for new or missing skills.”

The Professional Services sector in Europe is more optimistic overall, according to Miguel-Angel Zuil, Managing Partner of Boyden Spain. Accounting, law and consulting firms are experiencing growth and expanding their services to existing clients beyond the audit business unit to now offer consulting including risk management, environmental consulting, transaction services and due diligence. Additionally many Spanish companies and European multinationals are expanding their offerings to consultation on Latin American investment, he added.

Technology and CIOs
“CIOs are in high demand and growing influence at board level,” said Vicky Maxwell Davies, a Partner of Boyden UK. “Boards are seeing technology not just as a means to make cost savings but to create a competitive market edge. CEOs, particularly of consumer-facing companies, are becoming aware that technology can significantly change and improve the way they interact with customers and that the CIO is a vital component to building that edge.”

Further, Ms Maxwell Davies added that as companies look to consolidate their IT function at a global level, softer skills, which are critical in navigating complex, cross-border technical challenges, are becoming a key asset for senior executives and one that’s harder to find. There continues to be a high demand for female candidates who are viewed as more adept in balancing the technical and emotional intelligence required for these types of complex roles.

In Singapore, there is strong demand for regional Sales Leadership and Technical positions in the Enterprise Sales Sector as many companies look at upgrading their systems, said Adrian Choo, a Partner at Boyden Singapore. An increased interest in Pan-Asia emerging economies including Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia has boosted recruitment.

In India, IT firms are refreshing senior level talent and reprioritising core HR areas such as talent development to develop next-generation leaders, according to Sachin Prakash, a Partner at Boyden India.

In Central and Eastern Europe, distribution companies that are increasing their footprint in system integration and exchange-to-exchange logistics are expected to boost recruitment of senior supply chain management and logistics experts to grow market share, according to Andreas Landgrebe, Managing Partner of Boyden Austria and CEE.

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