It currently seems that both Europe and the US will narrowly avoid a recession, even though inflation continues to pose a threat, and interest rates are likely to rise a bit more. Still, there is tremendous life in the market for executives regardless of the economic cycle—especially in the unpublished market.
In fact, we have seen 75 clients land executive roles in recent weeks. Here is a sample of the titles they have obtained (find more information on our Weekly Frontline Reports):
Bear in mind that a senior manager may well have higher total compensation than a VP or C-level officer depending on the size of company and the industry. Here is a selection of their packages—virtually all of which were improved by the Barrett Group leaning in at the negotiation stage with our three decades of experience in helping executives manage their careers.
Of course, there is a constant churn in the macroeconomy with some industries or companies always gaining or losing opportunities.
See our recent Industry Update on the BigTech sector, for example. In fact, LinkedIn tells us that some industries are experiencing very high hiring demand at the moment. We have isolated them in this chart, and encourage all to think twice about whether you are currently on the right horse or whether your skills would not be more appreciated in some other industry or role.
The Barrett Group specializes in helping executives transition by superbly illustrating the transferability of their skills and experience—one of the many reasons our clients are so successful in their career changes.
One particularly strong opportunity remains the green energy revolution that has been significantly accelerated by recent events.(See our Industry Update on Energy.)The Economist, for example, reports that the war in Ukraine and the consequent tightening of energy markets has greatly accelerated green energy in part by making brown energy more expensive. (“War and subsidies have turbocharged the green transition”, The Economist, February 15, 2023.) PitchBook also reports that this green energy sector had no problem raising $13.8 Billion in new private equity capital in 2022 (See source). That means a lot of executive opportunity.
In any case, if you are concerned about your industry’s future, or if your career is not progressing at the rate you feel is commensurate with your talent and achievements, we can help you take that next step as we have helped literally thousands of executives who are serious about investing in their careers. After all, your career is typically your largest pre-retirement asset, so it only makes sense to invest in its maintenance and growth rather than leaving it to chance.
Contact the Barrett Group. We make it our job to help you find yours.
Tech stocks had a rough year in 2022: the tech-heavy NASDAQ index was down 33% (versus the overall S&P 500’s decline of “just” 20%). Consumer confidence fell in the first half and negatively impacted tech revenues before recovering. Meta made some mistakes. Interest rates rose, further dampening the party. Investors decided that other stocks represented better inflation hedges. (See Source.) All in all, it wasn’t pretty.
And the tech companies responded in late 2022 and early 2023 in a litany of bad news for tech employees:
The same source goes on to quote the respective CEOs generally along the lines, “We hired too many as the pandemic subsided and now, we have to right size the company for the business we expect.”
This is undoubtedly traumatic for the affected parties. However, the Economist at least sees tremendous pent-up demand for these tech skills in other industries who have not been able to hire adequately in the current very tight labor market.
Here are a few selected facts from this source:
“The tech industry employs 10% more staff today than in January 2020, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association (Comptia).”
“Even after Meta, a social-media giant, loses the 11,000 workers it laid off last month, it will still employ nearly 70% more than it did before the pandemic.”
“Sacked techies should not struggle to get work. Lots of old-economy firms need their skills. Walmart, despite its lay offs, keeps snatching up data scientists and other hyper-numerate types. Already 59% of tech professionals work outside the tech sector, reckons Comptia. On the whole, demand for highly paid white-collar personnel is as hot as ever. Unemployment rates for financiers, technologists and managers are even lower than America’s overall rate of 3.7%, and have fallen further over the past 12 months.” (Economist: December 4, 2022, Is a white-collar recession looming?)
The New York Times also notes that Amazon, too, has apparently hired 728,000 employees since 2020, a net gain after the recent layoffs of more than 700,000! (See Source.)
The Barrett Group spoke with one of the laid off senior managers from Google (Alphabet) last week.
He shared that he had received a reasonable severance package. And that only about 1,700 of the reported 12,000 layoffs were in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also confirmed that the cuts were at all levels. His one complaint was the impersonal nature of the message: he was cut off from his company account in the middle of the night and informed of his firing by email.
But he also agreed that there is plenty of demand for the tech skills that are being liberated at the moment, and “having Google on your resume is not the worst thing in the world.”
Over the last three decades the Barrett Group has seen plenty of business cycles. Inevitably, a large share of executives ultimately comes to the conclusion (sometimes because of force majeure) that they are in the wrong job. With the wrong company, the wrong industry, and then they face a significant obstacle in “recharting,” their professional careers, especially if all they know about is executive recruiters. That is because, in general, recruiters have been hired to fill a role with someone who exactly fits the job requirements. An executive who wants to change industries or roles will rarely fit such rigid requirements… which is where the Barrett Group comes in.
Working with the Barrett Group you are at least seven times more likely to land the job of your choice than when you work only with recruiters because we serve a vastly larger market: 75% of our clients land via the so-called “unpublished market.” [Read More.]
Of course, we can help a client simply move from one company to a competitor in the same industry (and significantly increase total compensation along the way) but where we really shine is for the many executives who want to make a major change… whether because they are bored, feel there is no longer a good fit, or perhaps they have been glass ceilinged… those executives who want to transfer to a new playing field.
We actually track transferable skills and are adept at helping executives recognize and explain the transferability of their skills and experience to new employers. [Read Do you have tremendous transferability? for more information.] Here is how one recent client, Ned, described his Barrett Group experience through which he accepted an offer as VP of Business Development:
“I don’t have experience in this field but, thanks to the skills I worked on with George [his Barrett Group career consultant], I felt confident and was able to portray myself in the best possible light.”
Ned was thrilled to have landed an exciting job at the right level, with great compensation and potential.
“There were times where I felt in a rut during my job search, but regular engagement with George kept me energized and on path. That was the most helpful aspect of my job search experience.” [Read More.]
And by the way, being downsized does not mean you have to be down in the mouth. Consider the Upside of Downsizing… After the emotional shock and assuming you have at least a small financial buffer you are free to investigate. To all of those other professional avenues you have never been able to look into before. Especially, if you have a tried and true Barrett Group team backing you up to facilitate your rapid recovery.
That is why we call the current phase “upsidedownsizing.” First, the drastic headlines scare executives unnecessarily because the market for executives is very vibrant. Second, even if you are downsized, this is most likely your chance to discover new opportunities.
Naturally, we suggest you improve your odds by hiring the Barrett Group. We make it our job to help you find yours.
When minus 26.8% is the best performance in a peer group, clearly the group’s performance was dismal. And yet, that is how 2022 shook out for big tech stocks.
They were not alone, of course, with other tech darlings such as Salesforce or Tesla also performing poorly. In fact, the entire tech-heavy NASDAQ ended up -33% versus the more balanced S&P 500 at “just” -20%. (See source1 and see source2).
Rising inflation, crypto’s trauma, general market anxiety, increasing interest rates, and outright mistakes such as Meta’s big bet on the Metaverse all played a role in these negative consequences. But the underlying health of these companies is not in question, especially as most of them reacted by slashing employment in late 2022 or early 2023.
The same source goes on to quote the respective CEOs along the lines, “We hired too many as the pandemic subsided and now we have to rightsize the company for the business we expect.” (See source.)
We are of course sympathetic to all who were affected by these layoffs, but … “Sacked techies should not struggle to get work. Lots of old-economy firms need their skills. Walmart, despite its lay-offs, keeps snatching up data scientists and other hypernumerate types. Already 59% of tech professionals work outside the tech sector […]” (Economist: December 4, 2022, Is a white-collar recession looming?)
Let us also consider that there exist only moderately relevant parameters to compare between these companies who by and large are not in direct competition with each other except in discrete parts of their businesses.
Famously, Amazon sells products (branded and own-label) and provides web server capacity and services. To attract eyeballs it also gives away content (or makes it available cheaply) via its Prime Video unit, content that a Disney or Netflix relies on to sell as part of their core businesses. Apple also makes products but only its own while it attempts to creep into the content business. Alphabet (Google) provides search services and sells advertising—so effectively that it has attracted competition authorities in both the US and Europe and may be required to sell off or open up in coming years. Microsoft mainly sells or licenses software. Meta provides a number of social media platforms and sells advertising.
So, what do they have in common? Skilled executives, for one.
This describes the general situation for why the executive market has developed as it has: “Managerial and professional occupations now make up 44% of total employment, up from 34% in 2000, according to the [US Bureau of Labor Statistics…].” “Automation and offshoring have meant fewer technicians and cashiers, but lots more business analysts and systems architects.” [The Economist, Is a white-collar recession looming? December 4, 2022.]
However, the way that these five tech companies utilize talent is demonstrably different, presumably due to their different strategies. We will cover more details later, however, here is a snapshot of one professional focus (software engineers) and a direct comparison of the number employed and the share of the overall workforce (per LinkedIn and generally before the most recent restructuring.)
Simply put, Apple and Amazon do not need such a large share of software engineers because their business is more about physical products than software.
Now let us review these firms’ prospects briefly.
Stock analysts’ consensus points to strong performance from Apple in 2023 due to Apple’s leadership in the smartphone market and continued robust demand for the latest iPhone models. The company’s services segment is also expected to improve (e.g., Apple TV). (See source.)
Amazon has encountered significant headwinds in 2022 that will not necessarily abate in 2023, specifically a slowing of consumer spending as well as a slower growth in demand for its AWS services. However, for the longer term, the company is very well placed with improving advertising revenues, growing share of e-commerce in overall retail, and the market for cloud services still significantly underdeveloped. (See source.)
Alphabet has also suffered due to stalled advertising revenue growth in 2022, and may see more pain before things get better, but the outlook for on-line advertising continues to be rosy in the long run, and that bodes well for the company’s main business, Google. It is difficult to assess the probability of regulatory action at the moment as the US Justice Department has only recently filed its action. However, two other important positives for the company include You-Tube which generates “ad revenue that’s in the same ballpark as streaming giant Netflix’s total revenue” (see source) and the Google Cloud business that is well positioned to take share as companies continue to migrate toward cloud-based solutions.
While it is the largest software company by sales in the world, that legacy also weighs on Microsoft as PC sales continue to soften.
Continued working from home may reverse or slow this decline. Companies’ on-going process digitization and migration to the cloud will lift Microsoft as well. Whether AI-driven ChatGPT will be a game changer is still an open question. (See source.)The integration of LinkedIn into Microsoft seems to be proceeding rather slowly so far (see source) possibly so as to avoid mistakes the company has made on acquisitions in the past. Then there are Microsoft’s gaming ambitions, even if their most recent Activision purchase is in limbo (see source), in the console market, Microsoft’s Xbox holds roughly a 20% revenue share that is expected to grow. (See source.)
Meta (Facebook) has an even more complicated story.
“Meta has seemingly gone the route of Amazon.com’s […] strategy of reinventing itself at the literal expense of short-term earnings. If the company’s pivot to the metaverse is successful, it may stand as one of the most impressive pivots investors have seen from a tech company over the next couple of decades.” (See source.) Meta faces the challenge of cutting operating costs while investing in the infrastructure required to realize its virtual reality vision even as competition in the on-line ads market heats up. “The bottom line is that Meta’s US digital advertising market share is set to contract significantly this year, from 23.6% to 18.4%, according to eMarketer.” (See source.)
Comparisons then between these companies are of limited value because many of these firms’ competitors are actually in other industries (entertainment, retail, electronics, and gaming). Straddling multiple verticals can be an advantage, of course, but also a distraction or an outright drain on resources.
One factor that unites them is that they all require top-notch executive talent to navigate these stormy seas.
Obviously the recently announced restructuring programs are not yet reflected in these figures. We plan to provide an update after the results have settled somewhat.
The Executive Market-Big Tech
These five companies employ approximately 2,500 executives as we define them (see Editor’s Note), a population that grew by 11% in the past year with another 13% having changed jobs in the same period. All in all, that is a very high “churn” in comparison to other industries.
At the same time, LinkedIn reports that the median tenure for these positions is a rather long 6.3 years. Almost 1,600 of these roles are in the US while the balance are in the EU, UK, and Middle East. According to LinkedIn, these are their respective Executive headcounts.
Chart 1 provides an overview of the titles in this group of firms which indicates the extremely concentrated structure of the top leadership (very few C-level in comparison to all other senior manager positions). “Head” seems to be the most popular title followed by MD and Vice President.
Big Tech has its own geography, too.
We see from Chart 2 where the preponderance of positions still lies on the West Coast followed by New York, London, and the UAE. Microsoft and Amazon predominate in Seattle with some 106,000 total staff between them while Apple, Google, and Meta employ 110,000 in the San Francisco Bay area. Google and Amazon employ about 34,000 in New York while the other three station a further 3,000-5,000 each in that city. Amazon has 11,000 or so in London while the others staff smaller contingents of 3,000-5,000 there. Executive populations reflect these employee concentration, of course. (See the Appendix for more details.)
Bearing in mind that most executives will have more than one string to their bows, so to speak, Chart 3 profiles the specializations of this executive population as they have recorded them in their LinkedIn profiles.
As a means for evaluating what is particularly important to these companies versus the mass of executive employers, let us compare specialization rankings. Taking the entire 8.5 million executive population that the Barrett Group refers to as “executives” in the US, EU, UK and Middle East (see Editor’s Note for further definition) as a baseline cohort, Cloud Computing does not even show up in the top fifty specializations. Strategic Partnerships does, however, though at a rather distant #45 in the ranking versus #2 for Big Tech, so clearly this is more important for the Big Tech cohort.
To simplify this comparison, we have added the Baseline Ranking for the first twenty Big Tech specializations in Chart 3 in the “Baseline Ranking” column. As a refresher, in Chart 4 we display also the top twenty specializations in the baseline cohort.
Even though the Big Tech firms are not highly comparable, they are all large in scale so that the degree of specialization is very different than in the baseline cohort.
Since most of their sales occur online they have a very different relationship to the sales function, for example, and do not require as many sales executives relative to their sales. The same is true with the New Business Development function probably for the same reason.
Barrett Group clients have access to considerably more granular data, of course, critical for choosing target employers or preparing for interviews. Here we can only offer general overviews that may prove helpful in the first stages of a career change initiative. Considering the vast resources that Big Tech puts into programming, it may be a little surprising not to see more executives involved in managing that function. As a sampling, please see Chart 5 that summarizes the programming employment (not only execs) within Big Tech. .Net Framework, C, C+, HTML, iOS, Java, Linux, Python, SQL… the list of software languages and the numbers involved are both fairly staggering. This may also explain some of the layoffs in 2022 and 2023: hiring greatly exceeded current requirements.
Contemplating Chart 5 there are also interesting dissimilarities such as Amazon’s focus on Supply Chain Management and Human Resources (given its enormous workforce), or the fact that only Apple and Amazon show significant resource under Customer Experience and/or Satisfaction. Perhaps other firms use other names for these skills.
Customarily in each Industry Update we like to examine the movement of staff to and from players experiencing large changes. This may not be a good time to make this assessment, however, because of the restructuring that has been announced by all but Apple among the Big Tech cohort.
Here is how one source put it: “Apple never hired at the pace of these other tech giants, […] You’ll see cost-cutting around the edges, but Cupertino — I mean, they’re tacticians…I think it just shows why Cook is a Hall of Fame CEO. And I think he’s able to navigate another situation here in terms of not needing to do the layoffs that other tech firms have done.” (See source.)
In fact, Apple seems to be on a talent acquisition spree at the moment based on the very short-term movements visible through LinkedIn, major talent donors include Amazon, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Intel. Indeed industrially speaking, some 800 staff (not only executives) in the Semiconductor industry joined Apple in the past year, 500 from Higher Education, 400 from Apparel & Fashion, 400 from Retail, and another 270 from Telecommunications.
Alphabet (Google) shows a net 1,400 departures (all staff, not just executives) already in January 2023 per LinkedIn, but, looking back at the year past, there have also been significant staff additions from the Computer Software (+4,000), Internet (+2,600), IT & Services (+1,800), Higher Education (1,100), and Marketing & Advertising (+800) industries. Major donors included Amazon and AWS, Microsoft, Mandiant (now part of Google Cloud), Salesforce, Meta, Oracle, and even Apple.
Amazon despite prior and coming layoffs shows a gain in employment in January 2023 per LinkedIn. Over the past year, net talent acquisition (of all staff, not just executives) stems from the IT & Services area (+2,600), Higher Education (+2,400), Retail (+800), Banking (+900), and Management Consulting (+800). Major net talent donors included Accenture, Tata Consultancy Services, and Deloitte.
Microsoft shows a fairly stable total employment still in January per LinkedIn. Over the past year, industries of focus in terms of all staff have included Computer Software (+1,500), IT & Services (+3,000), Internet (+700), Higher Education (+900), Telecommunications (+900), Management Consulting (+700), Computer & Network Security (+400), Banking (+400), and Semiconductors (+400). Major sources for these employees comprised Amazon and AWS, Oracle, IBM, Accenture and Xandr.
Meta shows a spike in departures during January 2023, in line with its public pronouncements. Over the past year, the company has recruited staff (not just executives) significantly in the Computer Software (+1,800), Internet (+1,700), IT & Services (+700), Higher Education (+900), Banking (+400), Management Consulting (+240), Semiconductors (+240), Financial Services (+170), and Capital Markets (+160) industries. The major talent contributors included Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Kustomer, and Capital One.
Chart 6 provides a window of comparison to e-commerce executives, albeit an imperfect one because e-commerce firms also differ widely in terms of their commercial objectives and service or product offerings, however, they do provide a useful comparison to Big Tech. Many of the industries we have just reported as being in focus for Big Tech also rank at the top of the list for e-Commerce, in particular IT & Services, Computer Software, Internet, Management Consulting, and Retail. As noted above, the number of Marketing & Advertising execs in Big Tech is relatively smaller most likely due to their sheer scale.
Note too that these industry executives (Chart 6) are not all equally in demand.
LinkedIn provides not only the growth data year over year per industry but also the relative strength of hiring demand. Higher Education, for example, shows up frequently in Big Tech’s hiring activity and is also in high demand per the e-Commerce cohort. On the other hand, Retail seems overall to experience lower demand though it did play a larger role for Apple and Amazon.
We do not have specific data from LinkedIn on the gender composition per company and therefore cannot profile this in the Big Tech cohort, but we can see from the aggregate e-Commerce data (Chart 6) that the share of female executives in these industries is relatively low overall with a few spikes in Non-profit Organization Management, Apparel & Fashion Professional Training & Coaching, and Civic & Social Organization. Big Tech and e-Commerce firms are all likely to be incentivized to improve this diversity performance over time hopefully because it makes good business sense or at least due to pressure from ESG investors.
We encourage readers to look beyond the short-term pain in the Big Tech companies and see the bigger picture. While Alphabet may yet have to shed business units due to regulatory pressure, none of these firms is in danger of capsizing. Rather, they all will be around in the longer term, though their business models may well morph surprisingly.
As one recently downsized executive told the Barrett Group, “It’s never a bad thing to have Google on your resume.” The same can be said for any of these Big Tech firms.
Research to the Rescue
Typically executives who come to the Barrett Group for assistance in their career change initiatives are not afraid of hard work, but they would rather put their efforts into well-directed campaigns supported by strong research so as to have a high likelihood of achieving their professional objectives as quickly as possible.
By this time, readers may have gained an appreciation for the amount of information that the Barrett Group can and does provide to our clients. We also support each client with a six-member team including a research expert who can help sharpen the target(s) and shorten the road to success.
This detailed location data may well exceed some readers’ level of interest. Still industry observers will find it interesting to note the geographic resonance or dissonance between these firms. We have already noted the importance of Seattle for Microsoft and Amazon versus the emphasis on San Francisco for Meta, Google, and Apple.
Other locations are perhaps even more interesting as they reveal different emphases: Meta in London, for example, or Bengaluru, Toronto, the UAE, and Washington DC for Amazon. What does Google do in Zurich? How does Ireland fit in for Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Google? What does this mean for executives who want to change countries and companies?
Fortunately, our research team can help curious clients answer these and many other questions.
In this particular Update, “executives” will generally refer to the Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Managing Partner, General Counsel, Head, and President titles. Unless otherwise noted, the data in this Update will largely come from LinkedIn and represents a snapshot of the market as it was at the time of the research.
Is LinkedIn truly representative?
Here’s a little data: LinkedIn has more than 800 million users. (See source.)It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 19th year. LinkedIn defines the year-over-year change (YOY Change) as the change in the number of professionals divided by the count as of last year. “Attrition” is defined as the departures in the last 12 months divided by the average headcount over the last year.
Upsidedownsizing: Part One (Fight or Flight)
It is understandable when executives who might otherwise like to make a professional change hear about rising interest rates, downsizing in the tech sector, and possible recession on the horizon that some pull their heads in like a turtle and wait until it’s over…
…except that missing the action completely is not a helpful career management strategy. In fact, accessing the full market as our clients do they are seven timesmore likely to succeed than working with an executive recruiter alone.
You see, more than 60 of our executive clients landed targeted positions in a recent ten-week period that included the Christmas holiday and New Year’s. Here is a sampling of the titles they earned:
Director Marketing Strategy
VP Data Centers
Director of Finance
President and Partner
Head of Internal Audit
Director, Fleet Operations
VP of Space Weather
Their compensation ranged from $170,000 base up to $450,000 with bonuses all the way up to $100,000 not to mention relocation allowances, PTO, and stock options. As usual, we were able to help most add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more in total compensation. One ambitious player actually added €80,000. See our Front Line Reports for the weekly update on our clients’ success.
Meanwhile, Q4 2022 posted a surprisingly robust GDP growth rate of 2.9%(annualized) “a solid end to a topsy-turvy year in which the economy contracted in the first six months, prompting talk of a recession, only to rebound in the second half.” (See source.)
“…in the consumer-driven U.S. economy, a recession is all but impossible as long as households keep opening their wallets. So far, they have done so. Consumer spending rose at a 2.1 percent rate in the fourth quarter, down only slightly from the third-quarter pace.” (See source.)
In Europe, Bloomberg reports Germany will “…Quash Recession Fears with 2023 Forecast” (See source.) “Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Bloomberg last week in an interview that he was sure Germany would escape recession this year despite the energy crunch triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Diversifying gas supplies had been critical in helping to keep the economy running, he said.” (See source.)
In fact, numerous locations continue to experience high or very high demand for executives in general (see chart) while specific industry segments vary considerably, both up and down in terms of their respective hiring demand. (See our Industry Updates for more details.)
Why Are Our Clients Seven Times More Likely To Succeed Than If They Work Only With An Executive Recruiter?
That is because most positions are never advertised. Fully 75% of our clients land in this “unpublished” market by applying our tried and true techniques developed over more than three decades of career management success. Another 15% land in the published market (i.e., online ads) by adopting our methods so as to avoid the pitfalls most people suffer when they attack the market without a clue. Lastly, 10% of our clients land through the recruiter market, i.e., filling jobs for which an employer hired an executive recruiter.
And let us not forget that veritable executive jobs engine the private equity market. We have reported extensively on how this market has gained in importance over the past years as a major avenue for professional advancement, and nothing has changed in this picture. For example: “The PitchBook Platform recorded around 140 senior departures from PE firms in the [European] region in 2022 as many executives either sought out opportunities with a new firm or, in some cases, launched their own.” The article goes on to highlight a number of high-profile executive moves. (See source.)
Our clients also land juicy roles at PE portfolio companies, too, of course, as we reported in Life After Landing. And while there have certainly been changes in the underlying dynamics, some industries continue to prosper while others retrench. The trick is to identify the currents and always Look for the Rising Tide. To help executives winnow through the tsunami of information we will continue our examination of the current Upsidedownsizing trends in three follow-up articles highlighting turmoil in the tech industry, winning and losing industries**, and whether to stay or go in your current position.
So How Does It Feel To Be Proactive In Your Career Search (Instead Of Hiding And Hoping)? Should You Fight Or Flight?
Here’s how one recently landed Barrett Group client explains it:
“The [Barrett Group] angle, of course, is NOT to ask for help, rather to offer support to others or just connect with them. It took a while to get my head wrapped around it, but it got easier. Barbara [his career consultant] pushed me through it, and it was rewarding.” “I thought it would take me 12 months to find a job, but it took only three or four. Landing even a month earlier than 12 months would have made investing in TBG worth it, so landing this quickly was fantastic.” [Ray White, VP Marketing Operations 2022]
We cannot promise that your search will take four months. The average for those who landed in 2022 was 27 weeks. We can promise to help you be proactive in ways you may never have even thought of before. So if you are facing the question of “fight or flight,” why not hedge your bets with more than 30 years of Barrett Group career management experience at your elbow?
In this particular Blog “executives” will generally refer to the Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Managing Partner, General Counsel, Head, and President titles. Unless otherwise noted, the data in this Update will largely come from LinkedIn and represents a snapshot of the market as it was at the time of the research.
Is LinkedIn truly representative? Here’s a little data: LinkedIn has more than 800 million users. (See source.) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 20th year.
**Undeniably, renewable energy is one of the current winners and will remain so for the foreseeable future. If you have not yet considered migrating in that direction, you may wish to do so soon. Our most recent Industry Update on Energyexplains why.
Are You a Dim Bulb or a Bright Light?
Flick a light switch. As too many electrons travel through a tungsten filament, they jostle one another. Some electrons push other electrons into higher orbits in their excitement. When these excited electrons ultimately lose their energy, we see it as visible light. That’s how an incandescent light bulb works. It’s a process that is actually pretty inefficient since much of the energy is released in the form of heat… rather like the average job search.
The light bulb metaphor provides us with a useful model to consider the professional lives of so many executives who come to the Barrett Group. They complain of feeling like “dim bulbs.” No, they do not use that language. Instead, they speak of being passed over for a promotion. Of working long hours without recognition or reward. Of being bored and lethargic. Or perhaps worse, of having been made unfairly redundant. In any case, their light is dim and they can imagine a brighter future. BUT, they are not sure how to achieve it.
The Barrett Group has been helping executives achieve a better life for more than 30 years now. So, definitely, we can help.
The Process Begins With A Light Bulb’s Missing Element.
A dim bulb suffers from too few electrons passing through it. You can think of this as a lack of excitement if you will. Our process uniquely begins with a deep dive into who are clients are at the personality level. This is because if, for example, you ask an introvert to exhibit a workplace behavior in an extroverted manner, ultimately this will diminish that person’s light, i.e., cost them energy and prematurely wear them out. Or, if the candidate is too extroverted for the role, he or she will struggle to appropriately influence others and may therefore retard his or her own professional progress. These are just two examples of the many ways people can be unfit for the roles they occupy. We help our clients understand why they are uncomfortable and where they will be more comfortable.
Next, we take a snapshot of their current life circumstances because regardless of your personality, you exist in a context. This context can be helpful to you professionally or a hindrance, so we need to establish where you are in this context and where you would like to be, illuminating what needs to change as a result.
Lastly, we help our clients envision a role in its entirety, a role where their light can shine fully and they will be personally satisfied, financially rewarded, and ultimately comfortable.
Then we help them lay the tracks to achieve this targeted role.
“I now have a crystal clear vision for what I want from my next career move, along with the core values and requirements I am not willing to compromise on. I also have a clear sense of the steps I need to take in order to stay true to my core values as I achieve the goals I have set for myself. This was an excellent process and well worth the investment of time. “ [Dush Ramachandran, 2022]
And He Is Not Alone. Here Is Another Client’s Perspective:
Once we are clear on our clients’ targets, the rest of our process is focused on helping to achieve them—something we helped hundreds of clients realize in 2022, and thousands over the past 32 years.
Here Is One Example, Excerpted From A Landed Client’s Success Story:
“My Clarity coach, Laura Leaton, was awesome. She got me to think broadly about what I wanted to do. But she also gave me a reality check,” said Jothy. “Entrepreneurs are ridiculous optimists, and they don’t necessarily plan well for retirement because they expect a windfall payday someday that doesn’t necessarily happen. As I don’t want to work too much longer before I retire, I realized that I should focus on finding a well-paying job.
“My career consultant, Barbara Limmer, was great to work with. She was enthusiastic and had lots of energy. Our working sessions were very informative,” said Jothy. “In one session, for example, she taught me the right way to create a LinkedIn profile. Like probably 99% of people, my profile was a copy and paste of my resume. Barbara convinced me that it shouldn’t be a resume repository – it’s a business network and they shouldn’t look the same!
“I was very stressed in the beginning of my job search because I tried to use my personal network on my own and I wasn’t getting anywhere. Working with TBG, I learned how to use my network more wisely to make something good happen.” [Jothy Rosenberg, 2022]
So if you feel your light is diminished, or that no one sees the value of your experience and potential, or you can envision a brighter future but you do not know how to achieve it, come talk to the Barrett Group. We make it our job to help you find yours. Let your light truly shine.
A slowing economy has reduced demand for oil in 2022 even while the supply has tightened with OPEC+ curbing production again after an increase in Q3. Global oil inventories rose as a result while refining capacity throttled back at least in the short term, in spite of which oil prices have slipped from their recent highs. (See source.)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to foment uncertainty in the gas market. The European Union promptly set about finding alternative supply lines and has broadly succeeded in filling reserves as the winter began in earnest. However, a so-far milder winter, energy-saving measures and sourcing adjustments are also reducing demand, including a record 10% contraction in Europe. Nevertheless, numerous factors cloud the outlook for 2023 including China’s economy, possible recession in Europe and elsewhere, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. (See source.)
The energy stage is set for renewables to step up. But will they?
McKinsey offers an interesting prediction that coal demand already peaked in 2013, that oil demand will peak by 2025, and gas demand will peak by 2035. After these peaks, the demand will likely decline fairly rapidly, leading to a scenario whereby 50% of power generation by 2050 will be supplied by renewable sources in the form of hydrogen and electricity. (See source.)
Looking ahead, the IEA also foresees rapid change…
“The global energy crisis has triggered unprecedented momentum behind renewables, with the world set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the past 20.”
“Energy security concerns caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have motivated countries to increasingly turn to renewables such as solar and wind to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, whose prices have spiked dramatically. Global renewable power capacity is now expected to grow by 2 400 gigawatts (GW) over the 2022-2027 period, an amount equal to the entire power capacity of China today, according to Renewables 2022, the latest edition of the IEA’s annual report on the sector.” (See source.)
McKinsey adds that these changes do not only affect power generation or transmission:
Today’s fast followers include major oil and gas companies, which aim to shift their business models to profit from the increased demand for renewables and the electrification of vehicles, and private-equity players and institutional investors that make renewable energy a central component of their investment strategy. Leaders in the shipping industry are investing in renewables to enable the production of hydrogen and ammonia as zero-emission fuel sources; steel manufacturers are eyeing green hydrogen to decarbonize their steel production, with renewables providing the green electricity for the process. Car manufacturing companies are also striking renewable-energy deals to help power their operations and manufacturing, as well as making investments in wind and solar projects. (See source.)
Deloitte draws our attention to five significant trends affecting renewables (See source.):
Domestic manufacturing – Rising clean energy component manufacturing capacity could ease supply chain snags over time.
Decarbonized fuel – New clean hydrogen economics could open avenues for renewable providers.
Energy equity – IRA [Inflation Reduction Act] helps spur renewable providers to pursue opportunities in low-income communities.
Cybersecurity – Renewable energy industry focuses on managing increasing cyber risk.
Offshore wind – Offshore wind industry addresses challenges to unlock rapid growth.
PitchBook confirms that private equity has been investing in renewables and related infrastructure at record rates and shows no signs of slowing down:
“It all adds up to a fertile environment for startups in the space, as PitchBook senior analyst John MacDonagh lays out in our newly launched Clean Energy Report: VC activity has been remarkably resilient, with $11 billion raised across 401 deals in the segment. That’s on pace to match the record set in 2021.” (See source.)
In short, if ever there was a time to climb on board this particular locomotive, the time is now.
The Executive Market
From the introduction readers will have understood that this is a market at a crossroads. While the demand for fossil fuels will continue, it will also decline. We will attempt in this Update to facilitate transparency in both of these markets—the large but sluggish energy executive market and the narrower but faster-growing renewables market.
The “Oil & Energy” market (as LinkedIn calls it) contains about 105,000 executives as we define them (see Editor’s Note). It has grown by just 0.5% in the past year with some 3,300 also changing jobs, it remains predominantly male (86%) and is dominated by major multiples such as TotalEnergies (755), Shell (597), BP (370), ExxonMobil (275), and Aramco (235)—all of whose executive ranks have grown between 7-11% in the past year. Houston, Dallas, the UAE, Iran, and New York are the top five locations for this cohort—home to 27% of industry execs.
The “Renewables & Environment” (as LinkedIn styles it) executive market encompasses almost 77,000 executives, up 3% in the past year, 3,600 of which changed jobs in the last 12 months—a 7.6% churn, meaning there were in total almost 6,000 executive opportunities in this segment in the past 12 months—50% more than in the Oil & Energy market. This group is still 86% male but its geography is completely different: New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and San Francisco are the top five locations, totaling just 10% of the total population.
Together, this total market comprises some 181,000 executives, a group that grew by 2% YOY, and of whom 6,911 changed jobs—about 10,000 executive opportunities in the past year all told. For convenience, let us agree to call the Energy & Oil market “O&E”, the Renewables & Environment cohort “R&E”, and the combined market, the “Energy” market as it must surely be seen going forward.
Charts 1 and 2 compare the Energy executive market to the R&E market by industrial subsegment. While Construction comes out on top in both cases, it is shrinking in the first case and growing slightly in the second. This seems to often be the case where the R&E market shows higher growth than the Energy market in general for all the reasons we explained in the introduction, though there are exceptions such as Civil Engineering that is shrinking faster in the R&E market.
While Management Consulting ranks highly on both charts, one can imagine that the emphasis in the O&E market is more on restructuring while the focus in the R&E market will be on growth and scaling.
Many Barrett Group clients come to us because they feel that their industry or niche has limited growth potential and they desire assistance in making a change, whether of role, industry, location or all three (not to mention income and quality of life). Charts 1 and 2 offer a microcosm, a petri dish for considering such changes. For example, suppose you were in the IT industry and you had a choice of joining a company in the O&E market where the segment grew by +1% or a company in the R&E area where the segment expanded by +7.5%. The same logic applies almost across the board in each segment. Consider a segment in the middle of the ranking such as Consumer Goods: +7.4% (R&E) or -3% (O&E).
Of course there are many other factors to take into consideration. For example, look at Financial Services where the hiring demand seems lower in the R&E market. It may be more difficult to attract top talent to a declining industry or the locations for such positions may be less attractive and therefore the demand may well remain high even if there is little growth. Indeed, the underlying O&E growth in Financial Services executives was -1% in the past year even as the demand for such talent remains very high.
While these few examples may seem merely tantalizing, rest assured that Barrett Group clients have access to a broad array of research data via their six-member client teams—including industry, geography, company, competitors, and even individual interviewer profiles, for example in advance of a job interview.
Charts 3 and 4 compare the relative populations of executives highlighting specializations on their LinkedIn profiles in the overall Energy industry (Chart 3) and the Renewables & Environment (R&E) segment thereof (Chart 4). Bear in mind that one executive will probably flag more than one specialization on his/her profile, however, the differences are fairly obvious as Petroleum, Gas, or Oil & Gas come out high in the overall Energy industry ranking but are not relevant in the R&E segment.
Engineering and New Business Development make the top five in both cases, but there the divergence becomes even more pronounced with Solar Energy and Sustainability in the top five in R&E but only ranking in the 20s overall.
Still, via this overview of specializations, it seems there are clear transferability options from within overall Energy sector or even from outside Energy into R&E—the fast-growing segment.
One would, of course, expect the major oil companies to come out on top in the overall Energy market, and they do (Chart 5), and as we mentioned earlier, they are all showing much higher growth in executive headcount than the industry as a whole, leading us to believe that smaller companies must have actually contracted.
TotalEnergies, for example, acquired the commercial and industrial business of Sun Power Corp. in February 2022, adding 133 staff in the process. Otherwise, Total Energies brought in talent from most of its direct competitors as well as a smattering of consultants from EY, Deloitte, and Accenture.
Shell sold off its interest in a refinery to PEMEX (Mexico) in January 2022, shedding 95 staff in the process, moved employees to Raizen as part of a deal involving ethanol production in Brazil, and also added significantly from direct Energy rivals as well as Accenture, IBM, Deloitte, and Capgemini among others.
BP has hired from major competitors, too, but also brought in resources from Amazon, EY, and Baker Hughes. The company also apparently shifted staff to its JV partner in Angola, Azule Energy during the past year.
ExxonMobil hired significantly from its major competitors (mainly Shell, Total, and Chevron) in addition to XTO Energy, as well as consulting firms including Accenture (Argentina), EY, Deloitte, and a small number from Amazon.
Aramco brought in staff mainly from King Fahd University, SABIC, and Maaden in the region, as well as Wood (Scotland), Saipem (Italy), and Amazon.
It is interesting that Siemens Energy actually shows up on both Charts 5 and 6 in the top ranking—the only firm to achieve that. “Siemens Energy AG is an energy company formed by the spin-off of the former Gas and Power division of Siemens Group and includes a 67% share of Siemens Gamesa.” (See source.) Headquartered in Munich, the firm has acquired talent mainly from its mother company, Siemens, as well as Hitachi Energy, Siemens Gamesa, ABB, GE Power, Honeywell, and Tata Consultancy Services.
So let us shift over to the top players on Chart 6, Vestas who has this to say about their services: “Vestas now service more than 55,000 wind turbines and more than 10,000 dedicated service technicians across 74 countries work committedly to maintain and support the biggest wind turbine fleet in the world.”
Vestas has hired mainly from Siemens Gamesea, GE Renewable Energy, Nordex Group, Orsted, Accenture, REVTECH, and Global Wind Service. The company’s staff is distributed quite broadly across Denmark, Colorado, Oregon, Spain, Portugal, Italy, India, the Philippines and has additional outposts in China, Brazil, and other locations.
Headquartered in Austria, Andritz manufactures equipment for a number of industries, some of them, such as hydroelectricity, highly relevant to renewable energy. Andritz has hired from its own competitors such as Valmet (Finland), Bühler Group (Switzerland), and Voith Hydro (Germany), as well as GE Power and GE Renewables, Klabin (Brazil), and FL Smith (Denmark).
Based in Denmark, Orsted, also participates in the wind and solar power generation segment with operations in Denmark, the UK, Poland, Kuala Lumpur, the US, Germany, Ireland and other countries including China. In 2022 the company acquired staff from Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, Vattenfall, Ramboll, and TotalEnergies among others.
Forbes highlights the prospects and the challenges for renewables as follows:
“Over the past decade, global renewable energy consumption has grown exponentially, at an average annual rate of 12.6%. Renewables were the only category of energy that grew globally at double digits over the year and the past decade.”
“But here is the challenge the world faces. Against the backdrop of the 5.1 exajoule global increase in renewable energy consumption, global energy demand increased by 31.3 exajoules in 2021 — over six times as much. Based on the current trends it would take over a decade before renewable growth can match global energy demand growth.” (See source.)
In other words, the prognosis for continued rapid growth in the renewables segment is highly favorable.
The geographic distribution of executives in the O&E versus R&E segments varies quite distinctly. While all too often New York houses more executives than any other location, in the O&E market, and therefore in the overall Energy market, Houston has the largest population (Chart 7), albeit with low growth but still high hiring demand. New York comes in second, followed by Dallas, but only London in the top five shows significant growth and very high hiring demand. In Houston, ExxonMobil, OXY, and ConocoPhillips are the largest employers of executives in the sector. The Barrett Group’s research teams help clients identify targeted employers in all major markets, including specific executives who are involved in interview processes.
Certainly the energy sector will see some significant changes going forward that will affect hiring location and in particular the skill sets companies seek, so it behooves candidates to have conducted up-to-date research before entering into any specific discussions with prospective employers.
Regionally, we should expect significant development and divergence in the coming years, particularly as the R&E market takes off.
The Economist, for example, reports on the development of Europe’s North Sea as an energy resource saying, “The North Sea’s strong winds and relative shallowness together make it a huge basin of potential energy. Thanks to taller and more powerful wind turbines, more efficient undersea cables and other technological advances, it is now increasingly being tapped. A group of nine countries near this body of water has plans to install 260gw of offshore wind power by 2050—nearly five times that produced worldwide today, and enough to power all of the European Union’s nearly 200m households.” (See source: The Economist, January 5, 2023, Why the gusty North Sea could give Europe an industrial edge.)
In fact, as we reported in our focus on Private Equity (see links at end of blog), “Green energy and related infrastructure projects are clearly a major focus for the coming years. The US will invest more than $500 billion. The EU plans to invest €584 billion through 2030. And even India also expects to invest $500 billion. These are only three large but hardly unique examples. The same trend continues essentially worldwide. Much of this spending will attract private investments as well. And almost all of it will create executive opportunity.” (See source.)
Even the Middle East is investing heavily in a greener future, as the Economist reports: “Overall, Saudi Arabia aims to build 54GW of renewable capacity by 2032. Not to be outdone, the UAE is eyeing 100GW of renewable energy by 2030, at home and abroad, up from a cumulative investment in 15GW-worth in 2021.” (See source: The Economist, December 24, 2022, When brown meets green.)
As we have mentioned elsewhere, Private Equity is also piling in on the country-level investment trends, supporting electric vehicle, battery, wind, solar, and particularly hydrogen start-ups and early-stage companies as they race to bring their technology to market and scale rapidly.
Indeed, perhaps now is a good time to reconsider your industry of choice.
In this particular Update “executives” will generally refer to the Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Managing Partner, General Counsel, Head, and President titles. Unless otherwise noted, the data in this Update will largely come from LinkedIn and represents a snapshot of the market as it was at the time of the research.
Is LinkedIn truly representative? Here’s a little data: LinkedIn has more than 800 million users. (See source.) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 19th year. LinkedIn defines the year-over-year change (YOY Change) as the change in the number of professionals divided by the count as of last year. “Attrition” is defined as the departures in the last 12 months divided by the average headcount over the last year.
Private Equity Links
Private Equity is transforming business as we know it— a trend that the Barrett Group explores in a four-part series:
Dry Powder introduces the subject, helping readers to understand how pervasive Private Equity has become, as well as the vast sums of cumulative funds raised for future investment—all of which generate executive opportunity.
Who’s Who and What’s What provides an overview of what is going on in this mysterious but fascinating, not to mention, fast-growing business segment. For example, 300 firms raised more than $1.85 billion in the past year—each. Discover who they are and their industrial focuses.
Life After Landing follows up on dozens of Barrett Group clients who have joined Private Equity portfolio companies in a wide range of executive positions, proving that making the transition to new roles and industries is more than just a pipe dream.
Be Part of the Bigger Pictureencourages executives to look beyond their own executive trajectories and consider how they may leverage the transferability of their skills and experience to benefit from major business trends—especially green energy.
Five Tips to Get Your Career in Gear
All year long executives come to us complaining about their careers. Especially in the first quarter. They complain that their achievements are overlooked. They are underpaid. Executives feel they deserve better. They’re bored. Their industry is fading… The list goes on. Frankly, we welcome their complaints because acknowledging dissatisfaction is the first step toward addressing it.
And that is what the Barrett Group does. We help executives migrate from dissatisfaction to success. Here are a few tips we can share up front based on our 32 years of experience guiding executive careers.
Tip #1: Look For The Rising Tide
Suppose you are an IT executive and you have a choice of industries for your next career stage. Recently we have been comparing for example the Oil and Energy (O&E) executive market to the Renewables and Environment (R&E) market for executives. Both of these sectors are in the energy business fundamentally, but in the O&E market the IT executive population grew by just +1% while in the R&E area the segment expanded by +7.5%.
So look for the industry segments that are growing faster. That’s where the demand will be and the chances of an appropriate opportunity are greater.
Tip#2: Gravitate Toward Joy
If you need to make a change anyway, why not do something you enjoy? Too many executives feel they are trapped in a professional niche because they cannot conceive of how their experience could be relevant elsewhere. We look at it quite differently and find transferable skills and experience virtually everywhere—if you filter and present them appropriately for the opportunity at hand.
So take a moment to really explore what you would like to be doing and steer in that direction. You will come across as much more genuine and authentic in your interviews, and probably be happier and even healthier, too, once you land.
Tip #3: Navigate Your Network
You know people, right? And they know people, correct? Your second degree network numbers probably in the tens of thousands… or more. So why not use it?
No, you don’t want to simply beg your friends and acquaintances for a job. Remember, givers gain. You want to reach out genuinely, share ideas, investigate their own challenges, offer possible solutions, and gently promote awareness in your network that you might just be the person who solves someone’s organizational dilemma.
You might be surprised what this simple outreach can accomplish.
Tip #4: Discover Uncharted Territory
Your comfort zone is a constraint on your personal and professional growth. Step outside it. Whether that means considering new industries, participating in events, joining new groups and interacting with strangers… so be it.
Private equity portfolio companies, for example, have proven an excellent landing pad for many of our clients in the past year or two as literally trillions of dollars have flowed into their coffers. Despite macroeconomic clouds on the horizon, this sector looks set to continue its growth in the new year.
Tip#5: Accept Your Inexperience
All too often executives come to us and think they know everything there is to know about finding an executive position. “Just introduce me to hiring managers and I’ll do the rest,” they often say. Well, first, that’s not how we work, and second, that kind of single-minded self-promotion is a huge turn-off for most hiring executives.
We have helped literally thousands of executives clarify their holistic career targets, package themselves for their chosen career path, access the executive markets, prevail in interview processes, add significantly to first offer compensation, and on-board with optimum success.
Accept the fact that you probably are not very experienced in navigating the executive opportunity market, and, where appropriate, seek help.
Well, There You Have It.
If you are simply sending the same resume to multiple internet job postings or haranguing executive recruiters with your purported skills and experience, you may eventually find a job, but it probably won’t be the one you really want.
Try our tips to open new doors, or, better yet, contact us for some professional guidance.
Whatever you do, all of us here at the Barrett Group wish you great success in your career search in the new year.
INDUSTRY UPDATE: Management Consulting – December 2022
Management Consulting Introduction
When researching the management consulting industry, the first aspect one is likely to notice is its amorphous contours; as one source puts it:
“Despite the relatively mature state of the market, the large variety of services (industries, functional areas, market/region focus) that span the consulting industry imply that there is no clear-cut consensus on how the market should be defined. Representative bodies (e.g. the MCA in the UK) and analyst firms (e.g. ALM Intelligence, Gartner, etc) all use different market definitions, and as a result the estimates for the size of the consulting market differ substantially, ranging from just over $100 billion up to $280 billion.” [See source.]
Consequently, there are a variety of estimates of how large the market is and how fast it is growing. Readers will find one set of data below that seems widely accepted.
The US market, presumably the largest in the world, has grown explosively in recent years:
“In 2022, the management consulting services industry in the United States generated a total of approximately 329 billion U.S. dollars. Between 2012 and 2022, the management consulting services industry grew exponentially and was worth 100 billion U.S. dollars more in 2022 as in 2012.” [See source.]
The European market seems to have recovered considerably from the Covid-induced contraction:
“The Management Consultants industry’s revenue is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 2.8% over the five years to 2022 to total €225.5 billion. Following a steep decline over 2020, business confidence is expected to grow over the two years through 2022, which is anticipated to support demand and revenue growth. Industry revenue is forecast to rise by 2.5% in 2022…” [See source.]
The Middle East is also a hotbed of activity:
“From advising Saudi Arabia on the key pillars of its Vision 2030 or helping the United Arab Emirates with advancing its travel and tourism hotspot strategy, to supporting the Lebanese government with its mammoth task of saving its economy from the brink of collapse, strategy consultants are in high need across the Middle East and Arabic part of North Africa (MENA).
The region is buzzing with change, and strategy consultants are working on some of the most pressing and high impact challenges and transformations in the private and public sector.” [See source.]
The global management consulting industry “is anticipated to grow by $814.6 billion by 2031, at a CAGR of 10.6% during the prediction period.” [See source.]
While the priorities will likely vary by geographic market and industry, some broad areas of focus for the management consulting industry as highlighted by LinkedIn (See source) may well include the following:
The Impact of Law on Business
Target Market (As the management consulting industry expands, it continues to divide into two market segments: a commoditized, low-cost sector and a high-value, specialized consulting sector)
Digital Integration (…consultants will build thorough digital strategies and reimagine the current business and operational models in 2023.)
Fail Fast Methodology (…an agile development mindset that makes use of the idea of “failing quickly.” )
Recruiting New Talent (The emphasis on skill sets in hiring fresh personnel is continuing to replace the conventional top-tier universities.)
Multi-Sourcing Mode (…large generalist companies collaborating with smaller niche specialists; management consulting companies teaming up with consultants from outside the sector; and consultancies teaming up with academic institutions, digital agencies, and technology firms.)
Crowd-Sourced Talent (…a disruptive business model that enables clients to hire piecemeal from specialized companies or independent contractors…)
Beyond these intriguing subjects, leveraging artificial intelligence, the future of work, and numerous aspects of green energy as well as environmental sustainability will occupy business management in the coming years and therefore remain promising territory for management consulting.
The Executive Market: Management Consulting
Readers may have heard that crisis breeds opportunity. It certainly also breeds management consultants—at least based on LinkedIn data.
Executives as we define them (see Editor’s Note) who claim Management Consulting as their primary industry on LinkedIn number some 284,000 in our target geographies*—having grown 3% versus the prior year and implying some 17,000 executive opportunities (job changes plus industry growth) over the last 12 months. This population is predominantly male (75%), exhibits on average a “high” hiring demand per LinkedIn, and an average tenure of 3.9 years.
Approximately 150,000 of these positions are located in the EU, UK, and Middle East, a market that also grew by 3% YOY where Paris, London, Munich, the UAE, and Madrid occupy the top locations. This market has a somewhat lower female share (22%) and shorter tenure (3.8 years). In the US, some 134,000 executives claim this as their main field of endeavor, up 3% YOY, with a slightly higher female share (29%) and longer tenure (4.1 years).
Chart 1 describes the title landscape that seems heavily skewed toward the top of the organization implying a relatively small average company size. As we will see in subsequent charts, the industry is dominated by a few larger concerns and has a long list of smaller, presumably specialized firms in its roster.
In Chart 2 we examine the industrial focus of this executive population. As far as relative size is concerned, it will surprise no one to see Information Technology & Services high on the list, but it may well surprise readers to see Higher Education at the top of the chart, or Professional Training & Coaching, and Non-profit Organization Management in the top five, the latter showing the highest growth of any industry focus.
While the growth YOY is visible in Chart 2, LinkedIn also distinguishes some tracks as exhibiting higher or lower “hiring demand” irrespective of growth, meaning even if the growth is relatively low there could be high attrition or numerous executives changing industries and thus creating vacancies.
Here are a few highlights:
While any given management consultant may be a specialist in a limited number of specific areas, it is not surprising that, taken as a whole population, management consultants cover most key business areas as shown in Chart 3.
It seems to us in fact that the bulk of management consultants per this analysis tends to be generalists (e.g., Business Planning, New Business Development, etc.) versus farther down in the ranking more specialist activities such as Outsourcing or Due Diligence. This becomes a relevant consideration, especially for those who might like to migrate into the management consulting industry and wonder about the transferability of their skills and experience.
Chart 4 explains our comment about relative concentration in the industry with Accenture employing more than twice as many executives as their next largest competitor. The numbers decline rapidly thereafter as the size of the organization declines. This is consistent with the title architecture we highlighted in Chart 1.
Of course Barrett Group clients have access to very specific information. It includes industry, location, company, and even individual executive data.
However, for the purposes of this Update let us examine the largest player in more detail. During the past year, Accenture gained or lost executives for these top five skills (among many others):
Geographically, the company hired executives broadly: +6% in New York, +4% in London, +10% in San Francisco, and +5% in Paris, to name a few selected locations—all of them above the industry average. According to LinkedIn, Accenture actually added more than 52,000 total staff in the past year, hiring from Deloitte, Cognizant, Capgemini, Infosys, IBM, Wipro, EY, Genpact, and HCL Tech.
For comparison, take Boston Consulting Group (BCG) whose executive ranks swelled by more than 9% YOY. They also hired broadly from competitors such as Deloitte, Accenture, EY, Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, PwC, Kearney, but also big tech, e.g., Amazon and Google. Geographically, BCG added staff in New York, Delhi, Boston, London, Paris, Munich, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Milan.
To explain some of the most extreme growth in Chart 4, J.S. Held LLC grew by more than 39% through its October 2022 acquisition of TBG Security, a cyber security consultancy (and no relation of the Barrett Group). Another fast grower, Accordion, received a significant investment in 2022 and has hired fairly continuously from Mackinac Partners and Grant Thornton LLP (USA) as well as from most of the major management consulting firms.
Chart 5 opens up the subject of location (place of employment, not necessarily working location). That New York is number one is fairly usual. Nor is it a big revelation that Los Angeles and Washington DC should appear in the top five, however, that London and Paris occupy second and third place is highly unusual at least compared to other industries we have studied.
From a growth point of view, the UAE (+6.9%) and Saudi Arabia (+5%) stand out, but so do Lyon (+7.8%), Austin (+6.1%), Dusseldorf (+5.9%), Berlin, (+5.7%), and Bonn (+5%). As we have mentioned before, a high hiring demand may exist in a market or a profession regardless of the growth rate. These locations are all rated as having a “very high hiring demand” by LinkedIn:
Other locations such as Hamburg, Bonn, and even the UAE, having grown relatively fast in the recent year now rank as having low hiring demand. Most likely this reveals a period of recovery perhaps from the pandemic that may now have normalized.
The Barrett Group helps clients reposition in any market by reviewing their aspirations to come up with a holistic professional target encompassing income requirements, location, industry, role, and especially quality of life.
Female Executive Focus
Given the relatively low female executive share in this industry (25%) it might be encouraging to focus on some of the areas where female executives are making more progress.
The top chart in this box focuses on the industrial segments with the highest female executive shares.
The second chart highlights the executive specializations with the highest female executive shares.
Per the third chart in this block, that 40% of the CEOs in this industry should be female seems quite refreshing. In fact all of the listed executive titles exceed the average female executive share of the industry.
In the last chart in this block we look at the locations with the highest share of female executives. The US may take some time to challenge Finland and Romania but many locations are making progress. [See Industry Update: Female Executives.]
In this particular Update “executives” will generally refer to the Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Managing Partner, General Counsel, Head, and President titles. Unless otherwise noted, the data in this Update will largely come from LinkedIn and represents a snapshot of the market as it was at the time of the research.
Is LinkedIn truly representative? Here’s a little data: LinkedIn has more than 800 million users. (See source) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 19th year. LinkedIn defines the year-over-year change (YOY Change) as the change in the number of professionals divided by the count as of last year and “attrition” as the departures in the last 12 months divided by the average headcount over the last year.
Executive Market Review 2022-23
The Barrett Group’s VP Of Marketing, Marion Engelke, Interviews Peter Irish, CEO Of The Barrett Group And Tomasz Lisewski, Managing Director Of The Barrett Group Europe On The Executive Market In 2022 And 2023.
Hello. I am Marion Engelke, vice president at the Barrett Group and I would like to welcome you to this year’s review of the market for executives. Where has the market been? Where is it now? And where is it headed?
Peter, how would you answer these questions?
Peter Irish: As you know Marion, we follow a population of about 8.5 million executives in the US, Europe, the UK, and the Middle East. They cover mainly the C-level titles as well as Vice Presidents, General Counsels, Chairpeople, and other senior executives in practically all industries. This group grew by about 1% in 2022 according to LinkedIn, adding approximately 85,000 new senior positions. But even more importantly some 318,000 execs changed jobs for one reason or another. Some 400,000 executive positions were created or exchanged in the past year.
That seems like a lot of activity. Tomasz, how about Europe, the UK and the Middle East? How much of this action was in your part of the world?
Tomasz Lisewski: It’s similar, however it’s a mixed bag when we looked at specific industries. Aviation, Hospitality, traditional automotive, branded consumer goods and very recently the big tech are struggling and are more focused on restructuring. While IT, Management Consulting, Financial Services, Health Care, Energy and Renewables and retail / ecommerce are growing and still hiring executives. That’s also the strength of TBG, helping our clients to transition to growing industries.
Peter, in the US was this demand for executives also specific to certain industries or geographies?
Peter Irish: Our client teams approach this subject like surgeons—targeting very specific cities, industry segments, and companies. But to speak more generally, certainly there were areas that experienced higher demand such as IT, Management Consulting, Financial Services, Health Care, and Banking to name just the tip of the ice berg.
And are we out of the woods yet, Peter, macroeconomically, for example?
Peter Irish: No, Marion. We are not. As everyone knows, inflation has spiked and interest rates are rising. But what many may have missed is that in the mean time it seems inflation may also have peaked and begun to fall. See the latest information from Germany or the US. In fact, while central banks are likely to still raise rates somewhat, major banks such as Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and UBS are now predicting that rates will start to fall again by the end of 2023 or early 2024. Meanwhile, Private Equity is sitting on dry powder to the tune of $1.4 trillion or more and will undoubtedly continue to invest—creating new executive positions in growing industries.
Tomasz, one of the impacts of the pandemic is the rise in remote working. How has this affected executive opportunities from your perspective?
Tomasz Lisewski: Thanks to the pandemic, companies became more flexible on remote / commuting basis. That gives executives the opportunity to target broader geographies across whole continents whether it’s Europe or Middle East or America. That also plays to the Barrett Group strength, because most of our competition is focused on their local markets e.g. German firms on Germany, American firms on the US and so on. Whereas our team works across America, Europe and Middle East.
Peter, how effective has the Barrett Group been through the crises and recovery and new crises we have just discussed?
Peter Irish: Crisis always spawns opportunity, Marion, if you know where to look for it. The vast majority of our clients utilize our unique methods developed over three decades in business to discover positions in the unpublished market. Opportunities so new they have not yet been announced. We have seen hundreds of clients land in the past year—more than one a day so far—and helped our clients land about 700 executive interviews. That’s why Forbes magazine cites us as one of the best in the business.
Can you be more specific?
Peter Irish: Certainly, how much time have you got? Seriously, we publish clients’ success data every week on our Hiring Line webpage—something unique in the industry. Well, Joel Engle landed recently as Chief Growth Officer, for example. Or I might point to other recent clients successes in the Private Equity portfolio company area. For example…
Healthcare – Operating Partner
Food & Beverage – Chief Information Officer
Financial Services – Senior Vice President
Real Estate Investment – Managing Director
Biotech – Executive Director
Is it fair to say that many of these clients actively want to change industries? How can the Barrett Group help clients transition from one industry or role to another? Tomasz?
Tomasz Lisewski: Career change is actually what we specialize in, because traditional recruiters and HR, who work on profile matching, cannot help in those situations. That’s why we focus on the unpublished market, supporting our executive clients to position them with decision makers, who can better understand the potential value-add beyond their last industry. That’s how 75% of our executive clients are landing. One great example is Ray Cleary, a client who moved from Insurance to aviation and is now GM for a major airline’s fleet operations.
Peter, where would you see the biggest growth areas going forward?
Peter Irish: We have highlighted hydrogen, alternative energy, and more generally the infrastructure area as being a focus not only for public investment—such as EV charging stations—but especially Private Equity. The US, Europe, and India to name just a few regions each plan to spend 500 billion dollars or euros in the form of grants, subsidies and tax breaks over the coming years to retool their energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels. Private Equity is piling in too, so that the demand for executives is likely to be very broad.
Some of those projects will take years to execute. When is the best time to start a career change, Peter?
Peter Irish: Executives confuse growth for demand some times. As we mentioned, even industries with low growth can have high demand for executive talent as incumbents retire and/or decide to leave the industry. More than 318,000 senior executive positions changed hands in the past year in territories that we monitor. The unpublished market is always in motion if you know how to access it.
Tomasz, do you have anything to add?
Tomasz Lisewski: January and Q1 are the best time to start because this is when new budgets becoming available, some execs catch their bonuses and leave and companies start to fill those vacant positions. That’s why it’d be better to start as soon as possible not to miss out on your dream job.
Well, that all sounds quite encouraging to executives who may be considering a career change. Thank you both for your perspectives.
This is Marion Engelke signing off for the Barrett Group and wishing all of our viewers a very healthy, happy, and successful new year!
What a Relief!
“Tell me about your clients… What motivates them?” a curious CEO asked me the other day. While all Barrett Group clients are unique their circumstances may not be.
Here’s what prospects tell us about their motivation… Some are motivated by fear of becoming unemployed, of reaching an income ceiling. Also of their working conditions changing, or of being bullied at work. Others are driven by ambition… for example, “decreasing likelihood of promotions,” “my future earnings are limited,” or “I do the work but lack the title.”
Still others recognize a mismatch between their ideal position and their current circumstances, e.g., “personal needs in relation to employer.” Or “an abundance of stress on the job,” “antagonistic/unprofessional environment,” or “the pressure of office politics.”
And others are simply boredor in any case feel the need to make a change, saying they are “comfortable but want a change,” “at my age a career change is necessary,” “job lacks challenge,” or “I must get into a new industry.”
One common feature though is that our clients experience a sense of relief when they find the Barrett Group. Someone who will finally understand their unique background and aspirations. And someone who is both caring and qualified to help. Someone who can help them translate their experience into an effective career strategy.
Many have spent months battering their heads against an indifferent job market, often because they are approaching only the published market or the recruiter market—like an iceberg—the 25% of the market that is publicly visible. As one successful Barrett Group client opined…
“What you don’t do often, you don’t do well. For me, that was job seeking,” said Chris. “I’d made only three or four career changes in entire life, but The Barrett Group does this for a living. They know all the tricks in the book.”
“The Barrett Group’s process is very complete. They began by assessing my personality, my communication style, and my goals. Then they tailored their process to my needs,” said Chris. [Chris Burger, Head of Revenue Technology and Operations]
Quite often it is a relief to clients to see that they have other options.
Our process helps clients reorient their careers to faster growing, more promising, or more enjoyable industries. Think of us as “masters of reinvention,” because that is what we help our clients achieve. [Read More Do You Have Tremendous Transferability?]
In this particular blog post “executives” will generally refer to the Vice President, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Managing Partner, General Counsel, Head, and President titles. Unless otherwise noted, the data in this Update will largely come from LinkedIn and represents a snapshot of the market as it was at the time of the research.
Is LinkedIn truly representative? Here’s a little data: LinkedIn has more than 800 million users. (See source) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 19th year. LinkedIn defines the year over year change (YOY Change) as the change in the number of professionals divided by the count as of last year and “attrition” as the departures in the last 12 months divided by the average headcount over the last year.
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