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Global CEO Market Snapshot: Hiring Landscape & Market Composition

Our global leadership experts give a snapshot of the CEO hiring landscape and the current market demand for talent across their regions.

Our thanks to global contributing authors Prasad Medury, Mark Freebairn, Klaus Hansen and Jaime Ozores

In different countries, spikes and declines in growth initiatives impact the demand for leaders, with generally robust succession planning seeing internal candidates compete with external talent. Sector-specific shortages exist and diversity is a challenge, but broadly the global leadership talent market is strong.

The global CEO hiring landscape

Around the world, CEO hiring levels are driven by the availability and type of strategic growth initiative, succession dynamics, and pandemic-led attrition.  

Increases or decreases in growth initiatives, naturally, lead to increases or decreases in the demand for leadership. In certain regions, like the US for example, renewables and sustainability are seeing investment boosts, leading to heightened demand in these industries. Globally, technology, which was buoyant during the pandemic is now quiet, while industrial sectors, particularly in areas of energy transition, are highly active. Strategic changes in business culture or expansion into international markets are also playing a role, driving demand for leaders who can meet these needs.

Succession dynamics are a critical aspect of the CEO hiring landscape. Larger multinationals tend to possess robust CEO succession planning, with an active market for group or divisional CEOs, replaced through a combination of internal and external candidates. Many now have well-developed succession programs, looking two to three years ahead.

In several regions, private equity-backed firms and mid-market companies tend to favor external searches when seeking new CEOs. Particularly in family-owned businesses, external searches are increasing. The next generation are increasingly lured away to higher paying roles and so don’t join the business. As a consequence, this creates opportunities for non-family leaders to step in, although the outcomes can vary in terms of success.

Pandemic-led burnout and attrition is noticeable globally, resulting in departures and vacancies. Across APAC the trend is pronounced, where many companies used interim leaders during the long restrictions, or extended the tenure of leaders who would otherwise have been rotated onto their next role.

CEO market composition

For the most part, CEO candidate availability is strong, but sector-specific shortages exist, along with a dearth in ‘modern mindsets’, and ongoing diversity challenges. Due to the growing regulatory burden specifically in the UK, fewer CEOs want to join the boards of listed companies, but the talent market is otherwise buoyant.

In certain regions, we see a lack of commercial executives in healthcare and care businesses, and CEO candidates who can lead tech B2C businesses and ‘green’ companies, such as wind, solar, and batteries. Technology faces growing shortages, particularly as more companies transition to XaaS (anything-as-a-services) businesses.

There’s a need for genuine strategic vision, seen most acutely across APAC. The geopolitical situation in the region requires a new breed of CEO with a broader view of the market; this breed is definitely in short supply. This difference is part mindset and part skillset, and plugging the gap will require companies to identify and develop leaders with this mix of thinking and skills.

Look out for the next global CEO market snapshot exploring CEO skills demand and shortages, in next month’s Observe.


Contact our authors for more information on the CEO hiring landscape in your region, get in touch with us here, or you can also find your local Odgers Berndtson contact here.

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