3 Executive Hiring Trends Every Leader Should Know

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Executive recruiters frequently are asked for career advice, whether it be how to improve performance in a current role or how to change jobs.  Common questions include, ‘How long should I stay in my current role?’ ‘How do I position myself to be promoted?’ and ‘What are companies looking for?’I, along with my colleagues at IIC Partners, found responses to these questions, based on the opinions of 1,270 senior executives worldwide through the IIC Partners Succession Planning Study.

What are companies looking for?
We were surprised to find that high performance was not the front-runner for moving into a leadership position. Employers’ top five most desired traits in senior executives – in order of importance – are:

  1. Ability to motivate and lead others
  2. Strong ability to manage change
  3. Ability to identify and develop talent
  4. Innovative thinking
  5. Consistent high performance

So what does this tell executives who are considering a job change or looking to advance? Brush up on your people skills. Company preferences are shifting towards candidates who can inspire and lead their core teams to achieve more. The emerging snapshot of today’s most valued senior executive is not just that of a talented practitioner. Rather, this sought-after executive is very ‘other-directed’ and excels at harnessing the power of others through leadership and inspiration.

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When is the right time to consider a move?
There is no mathematical equation to the age-old “next steps” question. As recruiters, we cannot forecast exact dates for opportune career growth. But we did manage to calculate overall regional averages that indicate, on average, how long an executive remains in his or her role before leaving:

  • Americas: 7.9 years
  • EMEA: 7.0 years
  • Asia Pac: 5.9 years

Broken down by industry, the pharmaceuticals sector retained talent the shortest amount of time at an average of 5.7 years, while professional services retained talent for the longest amount of time at an average of 8.1 years.

How do I position myself for that promotion?
With regards to earning a promotion, we saw that, on average, a senior executive team is made up of 45 percent internal candidates and 17 percent from another division within the same parent company. If you are an executive at an energy, utilities or financial services firm with fewer than 500 employees, then you are in luck – the study found that these companies were more likely to rely heavily on internal rather than external candidates.

We also found that external candidates accounted for 38 percent of the composition of a senior executive team, as well as the top three reasons why a company looked outside of its talent pool to source new candidates:

  1. Overall lack of internal candidates
  2. Fresh perspective
  3. Desire to increase range of experience & skills within team

What other trends in executive hiring are you noticing?

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Christine Hayward

Christine Hayward
Christine Hayward is executive director at IIC Partners.

Christine Hayward

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One Response to “3 Executive Hiring Trends Every Leader Should Know”

  1. […] Executive recruiters frequently are asked for career advice, whether it be how to improve performance in a current role or how to change jobs. Common questions include, ‘How long should I stay in my current role?’ ‘How do I position myself to be promoted?’ an…  […]

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