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Senior Appointment market trends

03/05/2018

What key trends did you see in 2017?

2017 marked a year of general uncertainty at the senior end of the market with companies being wary of committing to investing in senior hires. Where they were likely to do so was in cases where the positions were approved at board level as part of the strategic direction of the company.

We have met some exceptional senior candidates in 2017, experts in areas such as digital repositioning, rebranding or creating marketing teams that are fit for the future. A lot of candidates at the senior level are immediately available as they don’t stay in roles they are not challenged by or can’t see a career path e.g. to CEO. They are happy to take the risk and leave to look for their next opportunity, often recruiting their replacement before they leave.

Start-ups and the continued growth of the fintech market created exciting opportunities for some candidates, but some less than desirable outcomes for others. Such is the nature of these riskier ventures heavily reliant on investor resources and balancing the fine line between investment and signs of success.

A trend we are seeing emerge from companies, in response to the increased credibility the start-up community now holds, is a desire to hire candidates who have both large corporate and start up experience. There is significant value seen in the combination of process and traditional marketing skills with experience of a fast-paced nimble environment where decisions are made in minutes and implemented in days. Often these candidates will be working with the latest digital tools and are perceived to have sharpened their commercial awareness.

In other areas of the market including financial services and professional services, the senior end of the market has been subdued compared to previous years. This is predominately due to the uncertainty Brexit has caused, as firms take a more cautious approach to senior hires reducing the opportunity for movement in these sectors.

There remains a strong appetite for marketers to have their voice heard at board level. Businesses that have acknowledged a need to digitally transform or increase focus on customer centricity create such opportunity for their valued marketing leaders. The proportion of British CEO’s coming from a marketing background has increased steadily over the last 5 years and remains a positive trend for the marketing profession, as it becomes an increasingly measurable metric towards an organisations success.

What key trends do you expect to see over the next 12 months?

We expect activity to continue as it has done in 2017 and are hopeful of an uptick, as businesses grow tired of the uncertainty Brexit has created and devise plans to move forward. Similarly to coming out of the global financial crisis, those that were bolder and came to market early attracted the best talent and gained market share.

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Do you anticipate any changes to salaries and bonuses over the next 12 months?

Packages for marketing leaders need to remain competitive. Despite a lot of good candidates being available, in some sense the supply of candidates outweighs the demand and therefore an inference of companies getting better value for money could be assumed. However, the best candidates will need to be compensated appropriately to secure them in both the short, medium and long term. There are a growing number of senior marketers who are more than happy to be held accountable to sales or profit numbers and have larger parts of their package made up of bonus and/or equity plans. Therefore, organisations who are more creative and flexible with their compensation can attract top talent without needing to pay the highest base salaries.

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