Deborah has over 20 years’ experience in Recruitment. She joined the Cpl Group in 2018 and is responsible for the service delivery and senior executive talent acquisition for a varied client base including indigenous, SME & multinational businesses.
Deborah has experience recruiting and managing teams across multi-vertical markets and disciplines including, Sales, Marketing, Financial Services, Tax, HR, Legal, Professional Services & Aviation.
Executive search sector assessment
The onset of the global Covid pandemic in March 2020 had a significant and far-reaching impact across the jobs market and the future of work for all industries. The rapidly evolving and unprecedented nature of the situation led to a job market where the overwhelming feeling was one of apprehension and unease.
This climate meant that the Job market was quite stagnant for the first half of 2020. However, the situation did begin to improve once companies and employees adapted to their new normal and a sense of hope was fostered due to lowering case rates and the vaccine rollout. The last quarter of 2020, saw more executive roles become available, and more candidates become active in the marketplace. The adaptation companies have had to make around remote working has opened the talent pool available to them which is particularly positive for candidates, industries and companies based outside of Dublin. The upward trend in terms of roles becoming available and candidate activity in the marketplace continued into 2021. Certain industries have prospered during the pandemic, notably the pharmaceutical and life science industries as well as technology and financial services.
Movement in the Executive Search space was in multinationals with approx. 70% of roles worked coming from international companies across the technology, SaaS, Engineering, and construction spaces. Dublin remained the epicentre for most new roles. However, the latter half of the year saw some roles coming in for Galway. As consistent with 2020/21, flexible working arrangements remained front and centre particularly with companies in the technology space. In October 2021, the IDA, in partnership with LinkedIn, published its quarterly job market pulse. It stated that LinkedIn’s “hiring rate has rebounded and is exceeding pre-pandemic levels following the disruptive impact Covid had on the Irish market throughout much of 2020 and the first half of 2021.”
What are the underlying forces at work in the Executive Search industry
Across all industries there has been widespread change to the future of work. The return to the office has been indefinitely delayed and companies have been forced to adopt technology and digitalise their processes in a short timeframe. The persistent change towards a digital workplace has unearthed a reliance on “people analytics” to manage remote working across companies. Over time it is likely people analytic digital platforms will feature heavily across all businesses as a means of communicating with employees and managing talent. Senior leaders should be aware of the emergence of HR (human resources) technology as a tool of talent management including onboarding and meeting compliance requirements of relevant jurisdictions including payroll and tax obligations.
Executive job roles and what they entail remain fluid, particularly in those where a high amount of travel and face-to-face meetings were required. Employees who are remaining in these roles are now experiencing a shift to more research/analysis/operations type roles. Senior leadership and C-suite personnel should exercise awareness of the widespread changes the workforce and the place of work are undergoing. Senior leaders should strive to formulate and implement an appropriate strategic plan which demonstrates strong leadership characteristics.
What is attractive about the Executive Search industry for 2022
Although we are in a vastly different landscape to that of pre-Covid, there are some positives about the current job market. Most notably, increased growth within the Pharmaceutical and Life Science industry as well as technology and Financial Services spaces. There are clear advantages in terms of the time and ability for executive candidates to engage with recruitment processes due to their flexible working arrangements. Interviews and briefing calls are easier to arrange and the number of opportunities candidates can actively be pursuing has significantly increased. This is particularly useful for Executive Search where it may have been more difficult in the past to tie down these senior candidates to engage in face-to-face interviews. Onboarding and training processes for new hires at this stage in the pandemic have been developed and for most companies are now part of a very streamlined efficient process.
For companies, there have been an increased number of candidates who have used the pandemic as an opportunity to upskill and partake in continuous professional development. For candidates, companies are starting to provide clarity surrounding their hybrid work model which again empowers candidates about pursuing roles that will suit them from both a personal and professional perspective.
What are the key issues facing the Executive Search industry in 2022
The consumer-goods sector (non-essential retail) and hospitality were the hardest hit industries of the pandemic, with lockdowns enforcing closure of premises for months at a time. Companies in this sector had to rapidly pivot to emphasise the e-commerce side of their businesses to generate revenues and reactively respond to the evolving situation. Many businesses in these sectors put a lot of resources into stabilising their revenue streams as lockdowns ease. Growth was slowed while they attempted to climb back up to pre-Covid levels of turnover. Naturally, smaller indigenous businesses in these sectors were hit hardest. The continued preference to work from home may have long-term well-being issues, including increased burnout and isolation whichhaven’tbeen fully realised yet. This may have implications for anyone at a senior/executive level with a people management function. Organisations will need to be aware of the importance of a well-being strategy to ensure they continue to invest in the human capital of their business.
What critical skills do companies need to develop for success in 2022
Companies need to be flexible and when recruiting embrace the widened talent pool available to them in this post-Covid era. Companies need to continue to invest in upskilling their employees as remote working has been the catalyst for the digitalisation and automation of previously manual processes. This leads to a greater demand for employees with problem solving analytical skills. Given the likelihood of job shift having occurred over the period of lockdowns, it is important from a talent management perspective that companies ensure any new roles are clearly defined and whether there will be a period of flux in terms of old pre-Covid roles and newer post-pandemic roles. As restrictions ease companies should be informing and consulting their people to ensure the senior leadership teams' policies are aligned to the general appetite and expectation of employees. An inclusive and consultative top-down approach is required to ensure employee concerns are met and dealt with in an appropriate fashion and that new policies are just and fair for the current Covid climate.
The onset of the global Covid 19 pandemic in March 2020 had a significant and far-reaching impact across the jobs market and the future of work for all industries. The rapidly evolving and unprecedented nature of the situation led to a job market where the overwhelming feeling was one of apprehension and unease. This climate meant that the job market was quite stagnant for the first half of 2020. However, the situation did begin to improve once companies and employees adapted to their new normal and a sense of hope was fostered due to lowering case rates and the vaccine rollout.