11:28 | 06.10.2011
Boyden Executive Outlook Finds Strategic Hiring Continues Despite US and European Economic Uncertainty
Executive hiring in industries connected to energy/mining, technology
and nearly all sectors in the major emerging markets remain active and
competitive, even with tougher overall global economic conditions,
according to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook, released today by
Boyden Global Executive Search.
“Strategic hiring of senior executives continues at a steady pace,
despite the economic uncertainty in the US and Europe,” said Trina
Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “Hiring of
C-level and management in key emerging markets continues to be the most
prolific, compared to the more mature markets. Even in challenging
environments, companies must have the right talent to maximize current
revenue and develop longer-term strategy.”
“In the industrial and energy sectors, boards are looking harder at the
CEO and CFO roles and their current executives’ ability to effectively
and rapidly respond to changing business cycles,” said Jim Hertlein, a
Board Member of Boyden World Corporation and Managing Director at Boyden
Houston. “On the upside, difficult business cycles develop the best
leadership over the long-term.”
The energy/mining sectors are notably expanding in Latin America,
particularly in Brazil, Chile and Peru, for roles including General
Management, Project Managers and Finance, added Mr. Hertlein. Management
hiring in the region is also gaining extra momentum via infrastructure
development and increased investment from Australia, Canada, South
Africa, UK and other markets, according to John Byrne, Managing Director
at Boyden Santiago.
“In Australia, the mining boom continues to lead management hiring,
although decisions to retain talent are not spreading as quickly to
other sectors,” said Michael Catlow, Managing Director of Boyden
In US and Canadian manufacturing, talent retention related to process
improvement and innovation is picking up pace, according to Robert
Travis, a Board Member of Boyden World Corporation and Managing Director
of Boyden Canada. Fresh hiring includes roles such as Chief Process
Improvement Officer, VP of Operations and VP of Manufacturing. For
company-wide positions such as Country President, Regional CFO and VP of
Marketing, a big emphasis is being placed on global experience.
“Forays into international markets are the focus of many of our
traditionally domestic industrial clients,” said Mr. Travis. “Companies
view this as a way to mitigate the risk of being tied to an uncertain
In the Brazilian industrial sector, increased demand is combined with
shortage of positions as local companies are growing and foreign
companies entering or expanding their presence. Organizations are thus
aggressively recruiting and paying higher compensation for Engineering,
Finance, HR, Marketing, Supply Chain and other areas, according to Aurea
Imai, a Managing Director at Boyden São Paulo.
“The war for talent in financial services continues for anyone who can
create revenue and add value immediately,” said Jeanne Branthover,
Leader of Boyden’s Global Financial Services Practice and Managing
Director at Boyden New York. “Clients and candidates are not willing to
“We see growth in 2012 and 2013 in FinTech, insurance and wealth
management,” added Ms. Branthover. “Financial services continues to
consolidate and hire selectively.”
In Latin America, robust demand for talent in banking and wealth
management is driving up compensation by 40-50 percent, with star
candidates often weighing multiple offers. In addition, healthy mergers
and acquisitions activity in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico has
fast-tracked hiring of Finance and Treasury & Compliance executives,
according to Manuel Corsino, a Managing Director at Boyden Miami.
“Companies are now more often selling the higher compensation and less
the brand,” added Mr. Corsino.
In Canada, asset management recruiting is fluid, including for roles
such as Head of Pensions and Head of Asset Liability. In banking, due to
large company and individual customer demand, growth in mobile
application products has pushed up priority for talent acquisition for
positions including Chief Information Officer and VP of Mobile
Applications, according to Janice Detta Colli, a Managing Director at
In Asia, local and regional banks are hiring and attracting premier
senior executives at the Managing Director, Senior VP and VP levels,
according to Gina Ong, a Partner at Boyden Singapore.
“We’re seeing a lot of ‘catch up’ from local banks as they expand into
Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan after the global financial crisis,”
explained Ms. Ong. “A couple of years ago it was much more difficult for
local banks to compete with global institutions to attract executive
talent. Now, the local banks are growing and there’s much more
opportunity to manage and influence decisions for foreign executives who
join these institutions. While banks are open to hiring foreign
executives, they prefer to hire those that are already based in-country
in this current challenging economic environment.”
In China, financial services hiring is strong, though not as active as
in previous periods. Decision makers continue to emphasize preference
for local talent, which is significantly less in supply, according to
Brian Renwick, a Boyden World Corporation Board Member and Managing
Director of Boyden China.
In the Middle East, the region’s hiring activity remains slow due to the
uncertainty of the Arab Spring, the financial crisis in Europe, the slow
growth in the US and traditional low level of business activity
throughout the summer, according to Magdy El Zein, Managing Director of
Boyden Middle East. However, a return to more dynamic activity is
expected throughout the fourth quarter.
“With consumer/retail companies under pressure, superior leadership and
high-level commercial and strategic skills are important today to
deliver quality products while managing the cost base effectively,” said
Fay Voysey-Smit, Leader of Boyden’s Global Consumer Practice and
Managing Director of Boyden South Africa. “In addition, Finance,
Marketing, Sales, Operations and Supply Chain executives are expected to
have deep commercial skills to ensure the best delivery of margin at all
points of the value chain.”
In the UK and Europe, the fight to remain competitive in a slowing
market has resulted in some companies considering CEO changes oriented
toward restructuring. In addition, the need to build strong marketing
and customer propositions has fueled significant demand for new Chief
Marketing Officers and Brand Communication Directors, according to
Victoria Stead, a Partner of Boyden UK.
“New revenue streams, including multichannel and e-Commerce, remain a
top priority at the board level,” added Ms. Stead.
In the luxury retail sector, overall global projections are relatively
positive due to booming demand in China and Asia. In Europe, local
executive hiring may slow down due to regional economic pressures and
uncertainty ahead of the presidential elections in France, according to
Anne Raphael, a Partner of Boyden France.
In the US, companies are prioritizing recruitment of strong executives,
especially in Sales and Operations given their ability to more quickly
impact the bottom line, according to Doug Ehrenkranz, a Managing
Director at Boyden Houston. He also added that the trend of “frugality”
continues as companies are preparing for a prolonged focus on value
“Retailers remain generally cautious about hiring, but companies must
retain key talent driving revenue and financial control,” said Howard
Gross, a Managing Director at Boyden New York. Heads of Product
Development, VPs of e-Commerce and VPs of Merchandising remain on
critical lists for hiring, he added.
“In India, there is a huge untapped growth potential for Fast Moving
Consumer Goods (FMCG) as the per capita consumption in this sector is
amongst the lowest in the world,” said Dinesh Mirchandani, Managing
Director of Boyden India. “Hiring the right senior talent is critical
for companies to improve quality, innovate and offer new generation
products that will change the consumer’s mindset and increase demand.”
“Management hiring in technology has picked up over the last few months,
despite the overall general economic slowdown,” said Dan Grosh, a
Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco. “It appears as if there’s a
‘protective bubble’ in Silicon Valley and the competition for top talent
is as fierce as ever.”
Leadership positions most in demand in the US include Engineering and
Sales & Marketing roles, with companies being extremely selective on
specific requirements. The possibility of sustained hiring through the
fourth quarter is difficult to predict, added Grosh.
In India, projections for management hiring in technology in the fourth
quarter are cautious, after a significant upward trend in the first half
of 2011. While junior-level hiring remains robust in the IT industry,
executive hiring at the mid and upper management levels is being
impacted by the US/European economic slowdowns, according to Mr.
Mr. Mirchandani added that one area of notable expansion and talent
procurement is with the larger Indian IT companies, which are targeting
the IT consulting space in the US.
In the UK, the firms connected to business to business concerns are
meeting growth targets and thus are reaching higher levels of executive
acquisition. Positions most in play include VP of Sales & Marketing, VP
of Strategy and many roles related to mobile services, according to Mark
Soden, a Partner of Boyden UK
In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), companies are prioritizing group
functions in operations, and de-emphasizing local functions. Companies
are hiring Heads of Group Technology or Heads of Innovation to cut costs
and centralize decision making, according to Andreas Landgrebe, Managing
Director of Boyden CEE and Boyden Austria.
Executive searches in IT and Data Security are prolific in Europe, added
Pasi Koivusaari, a Senior Partner of Boyden Finland.
In addition, technology providers are stepping up investment in markets
abroad to meet strong demand for IT and related solutions for fast
growing markets such as Brazil, Colombia and India. Positions in
Business Development are the most active for hiring, according to Miguel
Zuil, Managing Director of Boyden Spain.
“Qualified healthcare executives are in demand and organizations are
recruiting much more aggressively,” said Stacey Holland, a Principal at
Boyden Pittsburgh. Ms. Holland added that one notable exception is
for-profit health services providers, which are slowing hiring due to
concerns over declining reimbursement rates.
In Europe, Life Science companies are stepping up retention of
managements who possess innovation and regulatory process expertise.
Scientists with technical backgrounds and the ability to improve R&D and
shorten product life cycles are highly coveted, according to Kerstin
Roubin, Director of Boyden’s CEE Life Sciences Practice.
In the US human resources sector, Talent Executives who can serve as
effective business partners with line managers to develop HR capital are
a greater priority compared to executives focused on compensation and
related areas, according to Greg Coleman, a Managing Director at Boyden
“The talent pool of HR leaders is being stretched thin,” said Mr.
Coleman. “Graduates of top universities are not as often entering
corporate HR and instead are opting for careers in consulting firms and
In Eastern Europe and other key emerging markets, the emphasis on the HR
function by corporate leadership is substantially growing, according to
Julia Nikitina, a Board Member of Boyden World Corporation and Managing
Director of Boyden Russia.
“Companies understand that strong HR leadership is the foundation for
engineering the best global policies and operations,” said Ms. Nikitina.
“Thus, areas such as hiring, training and quality will be impacted in a
positive way throughout the company if proper HR systems are in place.”
In the UK, organizations in many cases are benchmarking HR talent
externally and then hiring internally. Positions of greater current
hiring activity in the sector include VP of Talent and VP of Reward,
according to Lisa Gerhardt, a Partner of Boyden UK.
In US Board Services, the recent federal appeals court rejection of the
latest SEC attempt to enact the proxy access rule has slowed shareholder
activists’ quest to gain more control by directly nominating board
“While a disappointment to shareholder rights activists, we certainly
expect the SEC to continue to pursue shareholder concerns over direct
nomination of directors and related issues,” said Sarah Stewart, a
Principal at Boyden Pittsburgh and a board expert. “Boards are, however,
responding to other shareholder issues such as CEO succession planning
and development of internal candidates by heightening their attention
and improving their approach.”
“Progressive boards are identifying and evaluating executives outside
the company,” said Thomas Flannery, Leader of Boyden’s Board Services
Practice in North America and Managing Director at Boyden
Pittsburgh. “The increased consideration of external candidates in the
C-suite is not necessarily because boards have doubts about internal
candidates, but because it serves the shareholders and directors to have
maximum reference points for completely informed decisions.”
About Boyden World Corporation
Boyden is a global leader in the executive search industry with more
than 70 offices in over 40 countries. Founded in 1946, Boyden
specializes in high level executive search, Interim Management and Human
Capital consulting across a broad spectrum of industries. For further
information, visit the firm’s website at www.boyden.com.