The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken markets everywhere in unexpected ways, and changed the way all types of companies do business. Private and public sector workplaces are making decisions about how to safely bring employees back to the office (if they do so at all). There’s much instability and uncertainty about what tomorrow—let alone next month or year—will bring. This wave of changes has extended to the passive or “permanent” candidate sector of the labor market, and our recent insights have found that amid a pandemic, more and more C-suite executives are keeping their options open and exploring a jump to new job opportunities.
Insights in the Executive Market
As an executive recruiting firm, Madison Gunn has access to a very large population of talent across the functional roles that we support (including CEO, CFO, CIO, CSO, CRO, CMO, and CHRO). During our recent conversations with more than 250 of these executives, many have shared their aspirations to make a move—or at least to consider one. These types of discussions have become much more frequent, and the percentage of executive talent open to having talks and meetings about new opportunities has significantly increased. The insight we’ve gained shows that the majority of executives reaching out to us are gainfully employed.
In fact, an estimated 98 percent of these executives have stable jobs, but are either interested in new opportunities or are proactively keeping their options open in the event that their current situation (or employer’s situation) changes.
For some executives, job searching now when they may have been hesitant to do so in the past is instinctual. As executives are typically involved in strategic, higher-level discussions within the organization, they have direct insight into the direction the company is envisioning for the future as leadership takes stock of existing gaps and emerging skills. Many executives who formerly enjoyed stability and security with their position and organization may now be faced with the reality that the business model and priorities of the business may have to change in order for the business to survive. They may find that the future could call for their own exit, or they may simply believe it’s the right time to move on as the business changes course. For many, the pandemic has laid bare where they need a fresh start in their personal and professional lives, and their current role or workplace may be one of the items that’s risen to the top.
Other executives are curious to see what else is out there. They’re weighing their options, now that they can fill some of their previous travel time with low-key job searching—and now that many firms may be looking for new types of skills or a fresh strategic perspective and direction.
Still others are now looking for new job opportunities out of necessity. Many executive consultants who have been working on an interim basis with private equity firms, for example, are starting to seek their next project or role as their engagement comes to an end or changes scope. From a hiring standpoint, it’s an ideal time for those companies interested in upgrading their talent or shifting their structure to do so, as in-demand executives who weren’t previously looking for work are now available.
Shifting Your Perspective
For these reasons and more, both the interim and permanent-candidate markets have become more robust. Executive teams are evolving, new titles are being created as unprecedented skill needs arise, and key responsibilities of executives are morphing into new ones in response to an uncertain climate that seems to change by the day. It’s clear that for a myriad of reasons, candidate interests are also changing, and it’s bringing fresh talent into the labor market and increasing access to executives who are rarely uprooted or available. With all this movement, private equity firms may need to shift their perspective and strategy as well, and consider being proactive about the talent they may need down the line. How are their needs or those of their portfolio companies expanding or shifting, and how can they get ahead of those needs? Now may be the right time for private equity firms to ride the wave of increased access to top-notch talent and consider filling emerging skill gaps.
A Steady Partner Amid a Wave of Change
During our earliest conversations with C-suite talent, we realized that the needs and goals of executives were starting to shift amid a new economic and business climate. Despite change happening all around us, Madison Gunn’s search process and style of getting to know our executive candidates by building mutual trust through calls, meetings, honest conversations, and consistent outreach has remained constant. As JoAnna Bowen, senior search partner at Madison Gunn, says, “The traditional search process hasn’t shifted for us. We’re still doing things in our tried-and-true way, and the trust we’re building with our candidates is invaluable in helping us match them with the right fit.”
The mutual trust we’ve built with candidates has opened the door to frank and honest conversations and interesting revelations, and because executive candidates typically aren’t public about their job search or even interested in exploring new opportunities, they appreciate the discretion we provide, which enables them to be low-key and private in their job searches. This discretion, along with extensive research, planning, and persistence in the interest of finding the best and brightest candidates for our clients, and the best roles for our talent, is ingrained in our process. We see ourselves as an extension of the organizations we partner with, and we treat their searches as we would our own.
Madison Gunn is committed to deeply understanding our clients and staying engaged in all aspects of the search and hire process, from defining the search parameters alongside our clients, to candidate integration. The care we put into our searches translates into the guarantee of matching our clients with the best talent.
Contact us today to chat with one of our executive search experts about your talent needs.