INDUSTRY UPDATE: Construction & Real Estate

In the context of this Industry Update, we recognize a continuous interaction between the real estate and construction markets. We will report on important aspects of each, as well as regional distinctions across our target geography. But overall we regard the construction and real estate executive market as one. They are an intertwined pool of opportunity.

Long-Term Gain, Short Term Pain

Beginning with the US housing market, the volume of sales clearly moves inversely to the price of a home and the cost of a mortgage: “The total value of the U.S. housing market has doubled in the last decade and is now worth $43.4 trillion, according to a Zillow analysis.” (See source.) In the short term, “The median [US] existing-home sales price was down 0.2% to $363,000 in February compared to a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This ends a record streak of 131 consecutive months of year-over-year increases. Total existing-home sales jumped 14.5% from January to February—ending a run of 12 consecutive months of declining sales—but were still down 22.6% from a year ago, per NAR.” (See source.)

Homes for sale inventory in the US is still very low, though, and likely to remain so despite a short-term uptick. “Housing starts also rose 9.8% in February, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), helping to provide much-needed inventory.” (See source.)

On commercial real estate, “CBRE forecasts a 15% year-over-year drop in U.S. commercial real estate investment volume in 2023 [to $609.65 billion], although it will exceed the pre-pandemic record annual total in 2019. Investment activity likely will bottom out in the first quarter and then gradually improve.” (See source.) One of several reasons is the hybrid in-office/remote work model: “As companies find an optimal balance over the next few years, office utilization and the space needed per worker will reach a new equilibrium that could ultimately reduce demand for office space per employee by up to 15% from the pre-pandemic norm.” (See source.)

“Demand [will likely be] stronger in Sun Belt markets, life sciences clusters, and best-in-class assets.” “Fast-growing and popular Sun Belt markets, including Austin, Dallas, Miami, and Nashville, will remain in favor. Growing demand among life science tenants, who generally don’t allow remote work, will buoy hubs like Boston, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Best-in-class properties in otherwise hard-hit primary markets, including Manhattan and Los Angeles, will also garner more interest.” (See source.)

In Europe, the “European Central Bank earlier this month [April] warned of “clear signs of vulnerability” in the property sector, citing “declining market liquidity and price corrections” as reasons for the uncertainty, and calling for new curbs on commercial property funds to reduce the risks of an illiquidity crisis. Already in February, European funds invested directly in real estate recorded outflows of £172 million ($215.4 million), according to Morningstar Direct data — a sharp contrast from the inflows of almost £300 million seen in January.” (See source.) A contributing factor here too is the question of where people will actually work.

However, office space occupancy rates are generally much higher in Europe than in the US, so the former market has much less slack. In Europe, a “total of 12.6 million sq m of office space was leased in 2022, a 15% jump on the 10.9 million sq m leased in 2021, and sits well above the fifteen-year average of 10.3 million sq m. The growth in activity was evident across the majority of markets with 23 out of 30 markets tracked reporting year-on-year growth in leasing activity. Major markets including Milan (+37%), Warsaw (+34%), Madrid (+32%), Paris (+26%), and London (+22%) all showed robust levels of activity.” (See source.)

As far as office space in the UK is concerned, “Take-up in the Big Six regions and Central London totaled 3.88 million sq ft in the final quarter of 2022, an increase of 5% on the previous quarter and 4% above the 10-year quarterly average.” “Despite the strong finish to the year, the Big Six markets were 8% below their average take-up with Central London also 1% down in 2022.” (See source.) 

In the Middle East, real estate investment in the GCC countries grew at more than twice GDP growth in 2022. “The total value of real estate projects currently planned or under construction currently stands at an estimated $1.36 trillion. Saudi Arabia accounts for 64.5 percent of this total or some $877 billion, followed by the UAE, which at $293 billion, accounts for 21.6 percent of the total.” (See source.) 

Shifting our focus to the construction segment, let’s start with Canada. The “Construction industry in Canada is expected to grow by 4.2% to reach CAD 192,205 million in 2023. […] The growth momentum is expected to continue over the forecast period, recording a CAGR of 3.8% during 2023-2027. The construction output in the country is expected to reach CAD 222,882.9 million by 2027.” (See source.) 

We already noted the generally rapid growth in the Middle East above. There is one segment that is literally and figuratively “hot.” That segment is data centers. “The Middle East data center construction market size was valued at USD 1.84 Billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 2.86 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 7.59%.” (See source.) 

In the UK, the construction market value is expected to grow from £326.94 to £476.6 Billion between 2022 and 2027. (See source.) While office space may take a breather, “infrastructure and energy and utilities investment will be a key area of construction spending in the coming years, offsetting weakness in the buildings sectors.” (See source.)

The “construction industry in Europe is expected to record a CAGR of 3.7% to reach USD 2,839.7 billion by 2024. The residential construction industry in value terms increased at a CAGR of 4.2% during 2015-2019. The commercial building construction market in value terms is expected to record a CAGR of 3.0% over the forecast period.” (See source.)

For the US, the “market size, measured by revenue, of the Construction industry is $2.6tr in 2023.” This means a 4.2% decline versus prior year and an average shrinkage of 1.3% per annum between 2018 and 2023. (See source.) Government spending from programs such as the Inflation Reduction Act and others may well affect the direction of this trend going forward.

However, one important barrier is unlikely to evaporate any time soon: “The US currently lacks around 430,000 construction workers and the industry has only recovered 67% of the jobs lost in March and April 2020.” (See source.) “The biggest concern in the construction sector of the European Union (EU-27) was the shortage of labor. Approximately 30 percent of respondents as of March 2023 mentioning that it was limiting their activities.” (See source.)Numerous apparently intractable factors contribute to this phenomenon including an aging workforce, better pay in other sectors, a lack of immigrants, etc.

Innovations Transforming the Industry

So far we have presented a mixed picture between real estate and construction. Both industries are certainly impacted by the rising cost of capital and an acute labor shortage, particularly in the US and Europe. However, there are also numerous interesting trends seething under the surface, trends that can bring major benefits—especially to executives who have the right skill set. Here are a few of the most intriguing developments.

  • Prefab and modular construction reduces the effect of construction labor shortages.
  • Virtual design is accelerating and streamlining previously manual and highly specialized pre-construction processes, also perhaps reducing the preeminent role of architects.
  • Living or otherwise advanced materials such as biocement, “aerogel, graphene, spider silk, carbon composites, hydroceramics, and nanomaterials” offer intriguing benefits, including enhancing sustainability, the ability to hold more water, higher strength with lower weight, etc.
  • Drones also simplify both pre-construction processes as well as project monitoring during the actual build.
  • Construction robots can contribute by autonomously digging foundations, moving materials, tying rebar, inspecting, and otherwise supplementing human crews.
  • (See source 1. See source 2. See source 3.)

The Market for Executives

Although we serve clients worldwide, we focus on the US, Canada, the EU, the UK, and the Middle East. In these markets, more than 1 million executives work in this segment. This is a group that has grown just 0.5% in the past year although almost 23,000 executives have also changed jobs. This means that there were some 28,000 new or re-filled executive opportunities in this industry over the last 12 months. The US & Canada employed 667,000 (+0.03%) and the EU, UK, and the Middle East employed 336,000 (+0.8%). In other words, even in a slow-growing market, there can be plenty of opportunity if you know where to look. Based on their LinkedIn declarations, some 614,000 of these execs worked mainly in Construction while 430,000 (+0.4%) hailed mainly from Real Estate (+0.7%).

In both cases, the female share of executives is relatively low at 12% and 24% respectively. LinkedIn further typifies the overall demand as rather low for these profiles.

There are numerous pockets of higher growth, too. Chart 1 examines the specific industrial focus declared by executives in this overall segment whereby Venture Capital & Private Equity (+4.8%), Non-profit Management (+2.8%), Staffing & Recruiting (+2.4%), Financial Services (+1.9%), Investment Management (+1.4%), and Food & Beverage (+1.3%) all stand out as exhibiting both higher growth and a continuing “very high” hiring demand according to LinkedIn.

Clients of the Barrett Group, of course, have access to much more detailed information first at the industry level, then at the target company level, and lastly often at the hiring manager level.
Chart 1_Executives’ Industrial Focus, Rate of Growth, and Hiring Demand.png

Note, too, that some segments with low growth still have a high hiring demand, presumably due to the difficulty of sourcing and retaining appropriate candidates. Utilities, Telecommunications, Renewables & Environment, Hospital & Health Care, Computer Software, and Information Technology & Services all fit this pattern per Chart 1.

Chart 2_Executive Specializations.png

Chart 2 opens the aperture on specializations in this industrial segment, and their relative frequency. This chart also provides a perspective on the relative demand for one skill set versus another.

Bear in mind that the cohort we are examining has declared an overall principal participation in the Construction and Real Estate industry. Within that context, most have also highlighted multiple specializations. These are addressed in Chart 2 which allows us to distinguish Construction Management from Construction, for example, or Residential Real Estate from Commercial Real Estate.

As we often point out in these Updates, some of these specializations are quite unique to the segment. Those specialties such as Property Management, Renovation, Project Estimation, etc. These are perhaps less transferrable specialties. If candidates want to move into or out of this field, many other specialties are highly transferable.

Budgeting, New Business Development, Sales Management, Finance, Business Planning, etc. are all examples of skills that can be repositioned to or from other industries—something the Barrett Group helps clients with regularly as they decide to change their professional trajectories and we help them chart their new course.

On the demand side of the equation, LinkedIn also provides some transparency on the number of want ads published seeking various specializations. Those with the highest frequency stand out in the right half of Chart 2, particularly Construction, Budgeting, Finance, and Analytical Skills. Where there is no apparent data, this simply means that the number of want ads was quite low, though not necessarily zero.

Chart 3_Employers of Executives in this Segment.png

Chart 3 delves into the actual employers of executives in this industry. CRBE tops the chart as far as the number of executives goes, but the company is also showing impressive growth for its size and industry (+7% total staff, 11,120 hires in the last 12 months). Speaking about total staff, CRBE has hired extensively from JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers, and Amazon over the past year. Their teams are distributed widely in New York, London, Dallas (their headquarters), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Delhi, Singapore, and Sydney to name a selection of locations.

Farther down the ranking but showing very high growth are Northmarq (+16.7%) and Stream Realty Partners (+18%). Northmarq hails from Minneapolis and has completed the acquisition of the Stan Johnson company within the past year which accounts for much of their recent growth. Here’s what the industry press had to say about the deal:

“Commercial real estate capital markets platform Northmarq has agreed to acquire Stan Johnson Co., a Tulsa-based real estate brokerage and advisory firm, for an undisclosed price. The acquisition will include Stan Johnson’s affiliated debt services company, Four Pillars Capital Markets.” (See source.)

Stream Realty Partners bills itself as one of the fastest-growing full-service commercial realtors in the US. Stream Realty Partners has grown organically, hiring mainly from CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, and Transwestern. Most of their staff is based in Texas.

Another fast grower is Turner Construction (+11.6%), based in New York: “Turner is a North America-based, international construction services company and is a leading builder in diverse and numerous market segments.” The company’s talent acquisition appears to be broad-based with significant hiring from Kiewit and Clark Construction in the past 12 months, however, the firm is also expanding to new markets including the UAE, Nigeria, and India among others.

Based in Missouri, US, JE Dunn (+9.6%) is also expanding rapidly though only on a US basis so far, acquiring talent organically and mainly from DPR Construction, Turner Construction, and Kiewit. 

Prologis (+7.9%) focuses on logistics real estate saying, “Prologis, Inc. is the global leader in logistics real estate. In partnership with our customers and our communities, we develop modern, high-quality properties that set the standard for innovative building design and sustainability. Prologis owns or has investments in properties and development projects of ~1.2 billion square feet in 19 countries and enables 2.8% of the world’s GDP.”

Clearly, there are different strategies in play for the fastest-growing companies we have just reviewed. Location remains an important component.
Chart 4_Employer Locations.png

Chart 4 explores the employment locations for executives in this industry. We encourage readers to bear in mind the high opportunity to work remotely these days. It is important to remember that where you are employed may not influence where you actually work.

The major locations in the US all show growth levels representative of the industry as a whole. The only real exceptions are perhaps Columbus (+0.9%) and Nashville (+1.7%). Hiring demand appears to be high or very high in numerous locations such as Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, etc.

Paris tops London in terms of growth. Hiring demand seems to be higher in London. Other international locations worth mentioning follow.

In the UAE, three employers appear prominently in Dubai. These are namely, ALDAR, Emaar, and DAMAC Properties.

Munich shows significant growth. Linder, Colliers, and Künzel Group employ the largest numbers of industry execs there.

Lyon shows some life. LinkedIn cites Orpi, Gerant, and Guy Hoquet L’Immobilier as the largest employers in this sector in Lyon. 

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Click here for a printable version of Industry Update – Construction & Real Estate 2023

Editor’s Note:

In this particular Update, “executives” generally refers 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 largely came 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 900 million users. (See source.) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 20th 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.

Is Fear Freezing Your Resolve?

We all know the feeling… Hair prickling. Hands and teeth clenched. Clammy palms. Frozen limbs. Staring eyes. Rapid pulse. Helplessness… Yes, it’s our age-old friend FEAR come to visit.

The question is, why?

Fear is a normal, even helpful reaction we are told, one programmed in by evolution. Blood flows to the limbs, for example, to help prepare us for the fight or flight response. In the face of imminent, physical danger, these responses remain crucial, however, facing chronic, lingering fear of being made redundant or being passed over for a promotion again, for example, these reactions may yield a harvest of unwelcome consequences, increasing stress, impairing brain function, encouraging procrastination, and trapping us in unhelpful behaviors. [Read more.]

One source cites seven distinct work-related fears including “This is as good as it will get,” “I’m settling,” “I’m never getting promoted,” etc. [See Source]. Because we speak with hundreds of executives every month, the Barrett Group sees a good cross-section of motivations in would-be career changers, some clearly related to fear.

The chart shows an overview of the motivations executives earning $100,000 or more shared as their reasons for seeking a career change, comparing also how these have changed from 2022 to 2023.

Ranked at #7 and #13, “Lack of Job Security” and “Possible Unemployment” seem most closely allied to employment fears.

Most of the other inputs though reflect an ambitious, self-confident attitude such as prioritizing “Personal needs in relation to employer,” “Decreasing likelihood of promotions,” or “No growth potential.”

On the other hand, what people SAY versus what they actually DO can be surprisingly different. For example, we asked the same population “How long have you been contemplating a change of career?” They responded with multiple “months” (50%) or “years” (50%).

Why would anyone wait YEARS to change jobs?

Perhaps these executives view their situations as fixed, immutable, set in stone… They might like to change but they settle instead for a suboptimal situation or, worse case, a dead-end job. “What to do if you’re stuck in a dead end job” may be helpful to those executives, but the main lesson is to stop procrastinating and take intelligent countermeasures. The first step must be to change your mindset from “living a life of quiet desperation” to one where you feel free to seek joy, excitement, reward… because you know there are other opportunities for you out there. This is surely ground zero in overcoming your professional fears.

Fear of failing holds many people back, too, of course. Congratulations! You Failed! explores the fact that failure is overrated as a career path and, besides, it’s avoidable.

Then there is the macroeconomic excuse. “Right now is not the best time to change jobs…” the argument goes. Well, guess what? That’s just another nudge from our old friend FEAR. There is always movement in the executive market and the secret is to manage your career like the asset it is. Yes, you may need to make changes. That’s life. We help clients do this every day. For a different perspective, try Upsidedownsizing (Part Three): Winners and Losers.

What you may not realize is that the executive market is much bigger and more active than most people can imagine.

We regularly report on a cohort of executives (VPs and C-level) numbering more than 400,000 who have either acquired newly minted positions or changed jobs in the past year. Most of these opportunities were never advertised. That’s why fully 75% of our clients land through what we call the unpublished market.

Naturally, many of our clients also felt fears and frustrations about their prospects.

Here is one example, excerpted from one of our Success Studies:

“This is the third time in a row for me to get laid off,” said Kia. “I decided then that I needed to have more control over my career.”

For Kia, there was a silver lining to getting laid off. He’d come to realize that many of the responsibilities he had been tasked to do didn’t play to his strengths. He’d spent most of his career doing sales and business development or running entire sales divisions, and he resolved to get back to his roots. 

To Kia’s surprise, it didn’t go well.

“It was interesting. I couldn’t land a sales job in pharma. All the hiring managers told me that I was up against people with 10-15 years of experience. By comparison, I had four years running entire sales divisions and a decade of selling deals worth millions of dollars in the healthcare field. […] Yet, despite my success in far more challenging sales environments with the same customer base, the hiring managers couldn’t seem to appreciate that and never considered me a serious candidate for pharma sales. It was really frustrating to be considered under-qualified for jobs that I was more than qualified to do.” [Kia Bandisadre, 2023, Read more]

Kia went on to have his eyes opened during the first part of his Barrett Group career change journey (the Clarity Program©) and landed as a VP of Sales—in a completely different industry.

That is another way of shedding your professional fears. If you think your future is confined to one industry or one company, think again. We help clients clarify their own career targets (often improving their quality of life and virtually always their compensation) and then guide them through the tried and true process that has helped literally thousands of executives land their targeted roles over the last three decades.

Want more evidence?

Read Where the Executive Jobs Are to discover how our clients are landing every week.

Want to hear it from an authoritative source?

How about Forbes who has repeatedly cited the Barrett Group as one of the best in the business? [Read more.]

When he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself…” he was not speaking of your career, though the advice seems perfectly apt even now, but Franklin D. Roosevelt was facing even bigger odds with the gaping Great Depression staring him in the face in 1933. This courageous perspective applies to all those executives sitting on their hands and missing opportunity due to their fears. Perhaps to you.

So shake off fear’s icy grip. Take the first step. Accept a new, fresh mindset—you CAN elevate your career. And by all means, hire some competent help to bolster your campaign. Engage the Barrett Group. We make it our job to help you find yours.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Congratulations! You failed!

Congratulations! You failed!

With all due respect to Friederich “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” Nietzsche, failing may be overrated. Of course, after you failed, you should at least try to take a lesson from your failure if for no other reason than not to repeat it.

For Example, One Of My Many Failures Involved The Botched Interview.

In a nutshell, I was interviewing as a managing director for a business in an industry about which I knew relatively little at the outset. But I researched and studied diligently and by the time I was to meet the two principal owners of the company, I had a pretty good understanding—perhaps too good. After the interview, a somewhat sheepish executive recruiter who had organized it told me “They thought you were too well prepared.” He sounded puzzled.

But for me the lesson was clear. I talked too much during the interview instead of asking questions and listening. Interviews are not the time to show off your knowledge. Instead, interviews should be used to collect information so that you can really understand what the potential employer needs and requires. Once you understand that, then you can position yourself…but, not before.

So, at least I learned something from that particular failure, frustrating as it was.

On another occasion, I was due to have “the compensation discussion” for a CEO position. The phone rang and the principal shareholder laid out the verbal offer. It was along the lines of “The base salary is $200,000 and there is a bonus potential of another $200,000.” I asked whether there was any flexibility in this proportion of fixed and variable compensation. The shareholder said, “Is that your response?” I replied something like, “It was merely a question.” He said, “Very well, then we withdraw the offer.”

Well, yes, I was extremely disappointed. But what did I learn? Very simply, try to never enter a negotiation that you are not willing to lose. In other words, try to always have multiple options.

So much for failing.

Even when you are learning as your fail, frankly, it does not feel good. Instead, let’s focus on avoiding failure instead. In the context of career management, the first step is to know clearly what your targets are. For example, when I was a client of the Barrett Group in 2014 I really had no idea what I wanted to do. And as a result, I oscillated back and forth between objectives pursuing first this direction and then that one. I accomplished pretty much nothing in my first few months.

That is why the Barrett Group career change program now begins with the targeting step. We call it the Clarity Program©. This holistic examination of personality, current life circumstances, and longer-term objectives generally assures that clients do not waste time in the market (as I did) trying to figure out what they really want to do.

Think about it as “slow down to speed up.”

Once you are clear on your targets it is so much easier to filter your experience and achievements. You want to position and market yourself to the right audiences. That is the personal branding or “packaging” step of our program. Here is how one client described our value-add:

“I thought I already had a good resume, but man! When the TBG team got hold of my resume and LinkedIn profile, they overhauled them in a way that made such good business sense […] They used language that is not my vernacular. And the way they told my story, by incorporating skills, results, and numerical values from my background to quantify my experience, really showed off how much I had accomplished…” [Joel Engel, Read more.]

Then comes the market access stage. This is when our clients learn how to effectively mine the recruiter market, the published market, and the unpublished marketthe latter being where fully 75% of our clients actually land.

Here’s how one client described our impact on her search:

“What I learned about the unpublished market changed my whole approach to job seeking and led to a very successful ending […] To say it’s a dream come true is an understatement. I’m still in shock! I would never have gotten this job without The Barrett Group.” [Bibi, Read more.]

We also help clients avoid pitfalls during the next stage.

In this stage, the preparation step, clients learn how to effectively interview. Clients prepare for those awkward transferability questions. They learn how to explain gaps in their work history. Additionally, due to more than 30 years of experience, we help clients virtually always add $10,000, $20,00, $30,000, or more in total compensation once the offers start to materialize.

Here’s how one client described this step in his program:

“During one interview, I spoke in great detail about my experience because I wanted them to know how broad my background was. What I learned […] is that I should tell them only about talents that relate to the job description – be very specific in my responses to what they need. I found that to be surprising, but it made all the difference. The next interview went much better!” [Ray White, Read more.]

Lastly, even when you have the offer you can still make mistakes during your entry into a new company, industry, and/or role. Our fifth and final “onboarding” step helps highlight the pitfalls in advance and sets clients up to achieve promotion and professional advancement sooner than they might otherwise expect.

So There You Have It.

You can try and sometimes fail on your own, or you can hedge your bets in the executive market by hiring someone who knows the ropes. Forbes magazine says we are one of the very best in the business, so perhaps your key to professional success is indeed the Barrett Group. Give us a call and find out.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group


Choose The Right Role (Not Just Any Role)

Wouldn’t you really rather have a choice of employment offers from two or more companies? Having two offers (or more) gives you leverage when negotiating the terms of that next step. Not to mention being somewhat choosey about the actual role, the benefits, the company culture, etc.

Having a choice of roles is good.

That is why we are often concerned when executives rush to accept the first offer they receive—so happy to have received the offer that they forgo the benefits that postponing instant gratification often deliver.

Even before that stage, we think it critically important to take a little time and think through what it is you actually want in your next executive role. That is why we include the Clarity Program© as the first step in our career change process. This program helps clients reflect holistically on their whole-life circumstances and longer term requirements before committing to target a specific executive role.

Here’s how one successful client described his Clarity Program© experience:

“I’ve had coaches before, but they’ve always tried to change me to conform to the picture of what employers want. Lisa [his Barrett Group Clarity Coach], however, encouraged me to embrace the distinctions in my career and to feel free, frankly, to show them off.”

“The value of the TBG program outweighed the cost in the first three days! Through Clarity, I recognized that I want a job in which I can have higher altitude conversations about vision, depth, architecting, and ‘What is the 5- and 7-year outlook for this company?’. That goal, alone, eliminated half of the positions that I applied for…” [Paul Cabellon, 2022. Read more: Success Studies.]

It requires discipline, of course, to follow our process, but clients who do typically engage in interviews and/or offers within 3-6 months of signing on. Here is a sample of the titles our client have obtained so far in 2023: 

We also help our clients negotiate their compensation packages.

By leveraging our three decades of experience, we almost invariably add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more in total compensation. Here is a selection of their packages so far in 2023.

CB 151- Choose The Right Role (Not Just Any Role) Income Graphic

Most importantly, we help clients exercise choice in their professional futures, realizing dreams they often previously felt were unattainable.

Here are a few examples:

Alisa Preston — Alisa has an incredible range of experience and talents and has never lacked for opportunities, but she didn’t want just any job. She likened her job search to “trying to find a unicorn” — a job that involves everything from robotics to engineering to marine technology. She wasn’t disappointed! She said, “The job I have now includes everything I wanted – every aspect! The diversity of what they do is top-notch, and their integrity aligns with mine. I found the unicorn!” said Alisa. [Read more.]

B Randall Willis — Randall offered talents and experience that anyone would have valued, but he had very specific ideas about what he wanted. He most certainly was in search of “the right role, not just any job.” It was a long search, but he did find the role he wanted. He said, “It’s better than I ever could have expected.” [Read more.]

Elfreda — Elfreda had risen as high as she could go at her organization. She was pretty close to retiring, but felt that she wanted to explore new roles that offered her new challenges. She wanted to be very thoughtful and intentional about her next move and hired TBG to help her. “I knew I had more value,” said Elfreda. “But I wanted to work with an organization where I would feel like a partner on a team and be excited about the work I was doing.” She has been delighted with where she landed! [Read more.]

Now what?

Sure, sometimes it might be necessary to take a stepping stone position to have the title on your resume or the specific functional experience to reach your ultimate goal, or even just to have cash flow while you land the perfect job. That is all perfectly legitimate and part of the personal strategic plan we help each client develop as part of their career management program.

However, you should never settle for second best. Your career is your most important pre-retirement asset—treat it accordingly. Invest in it. Believe in it. If you don’t, who will?

You should also hedge your bets by hiring the preeminent expert on executive career management (recognized by Forbes as one of the best in the business). Choose and hire the Barrett Group. We make it our job to help you find yours.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Female Executives Industry Update

INDUSTRY UPDATE: Female Executives

Women appear to be making progress in increasing their share of the C-suite. Specifically, the evidence suggests that 26% of CEOs and Managing Directors in 2021 were women as opposed to 15% in 2019. [See source.] Barrett Group research supports this notion, showing an improvement from 24% to 25% in the female share for all executive categories between 2022 and 2023. (See Editor’s Note.]

What factors are driving this change and where will they lead?

Attention to gender diversity often begins in the board room. “Although these gender disparities exist in boardrooms globally, they also can vary depending on where the company is based. For example, Europe has the highest representation of women on boards at 35 percent, while the Middle East has one of the lowest with only 10 percent of seats held by women, according to Deloitte. Globally, publicly listed companies have a better representation of women on boards (19.7 percent) when compared to US-venture backed private companies (7 percent).” [See source.]

On the other hand, some private equity firms have made diversity a key principle even setting specific targets and reporting on their progress publicly, such as BlackRock, one of the biggest PE firms. Here is what BlackRock says: “Hiring is a leading indicator of the future composition of our employee base and management. In 2021, 47% of our hires and 38% of the senior hires (Directors and above) were women.” [See source.]

If diversity is your principal requirement, then perhaps this ranking may help: Diversity Inc. This firm claims to perform an exhaustive review on multiple parameters to establish which companies are the most diverse. Their top five include: Accenture, Mastercard, Abbott, Toyota Motor North America, and Eli Lilly and Company. Here is what number one ranked Accenture has to say on the subject: “Our commitment starts at the top – 60% of our board of directors are racially and ethnically diverse, and 50% are women including our Chair and CEO Julie Sweet.” [See source.]

The World Bank cites investor pressure as one of the main reasons for the progress women are making, but there may be additional reasons beyond ESG [See source]. Perhaps companies simply need different skills these days in their top management. That is the post-pandemic line of argument offered by this Forbes article: “It means resilience, empathy, agility, ability to articulate, communicate, inspire people, keep people moving forward in very difficult times. All those are skills that a lot of CEOs have had in the past, but they’ve really moved to the forefront.” This logic goes on to suggest that women have been siloed in human resources and sustainability roles historically, but that the skills required for these roles are now even more required in the C-suite. [See source.]

Another line of argument is more provocative: “If you think that men make better leaders, not only do we disagree, but we have the data to back it up! The 32 companies that have women as CEOs have significantly outperformed the companies run by men. Over the past 10 years, the difference in returns is 384% from female-led companies vs. 261% from male-led companies. A few notable companies with women CEOs are GM, UPS, Citigroup, and CVS.” [See source.]

As far as compensation is concerned, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics published Q4 2022 survey data that found women are now earning on average about 83% of what men earn, a ratio that has remained relatively constant over the last few years. (See source.) However, another source claims that female managers as a class of employees now earn approximately 90% of their male counterparts’ pay. In fact, according to the same source, if the income survey results are controlled for equivalent roles, responsibilities, and titles, the pay gap narrows further to just 1%. (See source.) In Europe, “The gender pay gap in the EU stands at 13.0 % in 2020 and has only changed minimally over the last decade. It means that women earn 13.0 % on average less per hour than men.” (See source.)

“Women leaders switch jobs at record rates as they demand better from their workplaces” “Women leaders are saying effectively, ‘We’ve had enough,’ […] ‘We’re ambitious. We want successful careers. But we’re going to go look for organizations that are delivering the work culture that we also want.’ “[See source.]

Of course, biology offers women more choices and more constraints than men.

Obviously, men are not capable of bearing children. This fact has often relegated women to a set of activities and specific roles in many cultures since before we were fully homo sapiens. In general, this has also meant that as education and wealth increased, women tended to have fewer children for various reasons, including the ability to focus on their professional advancement. However, recently, as child care, parental leave, and other benefits have evolved, this pattern has begun to shift so that birth rates are again rising in some of the world’s wealthiest countries. [See “In rich countries, working women and more babies go hand in hand”, the Economist, August 23, 2022.]

On balance then, female business leaders have certainly made some progress, however, employers still have a long way to go to achieve real parity for the sexes at the executive level. For example, in the latest ranking, only 8.2% of the CEOs in the S&P 500 are women [See source]. Indeed, gender shares also vary significantly by industry, role, and location as we will see in some detail later in this Industry Update.

In fact, some women are not waiting for companies to catch up but are simply heading for the door according to a report in Q4 2022 titled “Women leaders switch jobs at record rates as they demand better from their workplaces.” [See source.] This source continues, “Rachel Thomas, the CEO of LeanIn.Org, says that while women leaders are just as ambitious as men, they are leaving their companies — for a number of reasons — at “the highest rate we’ve ever seen.” For every woman at the director level who gets a promotion, two women directors are voluntarily leaving their organization […] “We already know women are underrepresented in leadership, and now companies are starting to lose the precious few women leaders they do have.”” [See source.]

Changing jobs can also bring economic rewards, of course: “Women who found new jobs during the pandemic were slightly more likely to see an increase of over 30% in compensation than men […] For senior-level employees, switching jobs had the biggest pay off. More members of this group — which includes vice presidents, C-suite employees and CEOs — experienced compensation increases of 30% or higher (35%) than other individual contributors who changed jobs during the pandemic (22%).” [See source.]

Let us find out more about the progress women are making at all corporate levels as we explore the facts in this Industry Update.

The Female Executive Market

LinkedIn does not specifically record gender or report on the gender balance at individual companies, so we will need to infer some of our data by looking at the total executive market and the average female share. In these terms, LinkedIn reports 2.15 million women executives as we define them in our target geographies (see Editor’s Note)—25% of the 8.5 million total executive population. Approximately 1.3 million women executives are in the US (27% of total executives), while 821,000 are in the EU and UK (22% of total) and 77,000 (17%) work in the Middle East. We cannot distinguish specific growth rates for women executives, but the overall executive market has grown by 0.8% (1% in the EU/UK and Middle East and 0.7% in the US), while a further 331,000 have changed jobs, leading to a total (male and female) of some 400,000 executive opportunities in the past year.

Chart 1_Female Executive Titles

Selecting titles in descending order by the number of female executives, Chart 1 says for example that there are more female CEOs than any other title, but that these female CEOs represent only about 25% of the total number of CEOs in our target geography per LinkedIn. Conversely, Chief Human Resource Officers are apparently predominantly female (65%) although there are relatively few of them at 7,279.

The common wisdom seems to be that women are more empathetic and effective in dealing with the emotional territory of human resources, however, that does not explain why women also tend to occupy more executive marketing or general counsel positions.
Chart 2_Female Executive Specializations

In some ways, Chart 2 might be seen to debunk those preconceived notions by showing New Business Development as the second most frequent female executive specialization until you notice that only 18% of these professionals are female. This area along with Sales Management tends to be quite well-remunerated, and in both cases the female executive share is quite low (17-18%). If any specialization requires emotional intelligence, surely sales and business development do. So why are there as yet relatively few women executives in these critical roles?

Areas where women’s shares stand out include Nonprofit Organizations, Fundraising, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Marketing Communications, Social Networking, Organizational Development, and Public Policy. In general, these all do tend to require people skills, but then how do we explain that Finance and Budgeting occupy two of the top five spots, skills are long known for a focus on facts?

The simple answer is probably that women occupy roles that organizations make available to them, and not because of any innate proclivities based on gender, so, as we addressed in the introduction, it is indeed management attitudes that most closely define where women can develop professionally. In that sense, the evolving view from the board room and the inspiring examples set by current female CEOs—these will determine the future and the weight of precedent should continue to lessen over time.

LinkedIn does not provide the gender share for individual companies, so it is difficult to address this parameter except by bringing in external, specialist perspectives. We have already referred in the introduction to one excellent source on this subject, Diversity Inc., that publishes a ranking of the most diverse companies, although gender share is not their only criterion.

In fact, Diversity Inc.’s top ten ranking covers a surprisingly broad range of industries, including IT Services, Financial Services, Healthcare, Automotive, Food, Media & Entertainment, Insurance, and Medical Devices. In other words, increasingly it appears that if you as an executive do not appreciate your employer’s culture, you have a choice.

Chart 3_Top Industries for Female Executives

Chart 3 covers the industries with the most female executives, their gender share, and the relative hiring demand (for all genders) in that sector according to LinkedIn. For example, Non-profit Organization Management as an industry employs the most female executives in total and boasts a 45% female share among its executives—quite high by comparison to others on the chart—while LinkedIn rates the hiring demand in this sector as “high.”

Perhaps understandably, Cosmetics demonstrates the highest female executive share (54%) although incumbents number only about 21,000 and the hiring demand seems to be “moderate.”

Mental Health Care and Public Relations & Communications are also relatively small in total volume of female executives, though their female shares are high (49% each), and the hiring demand is rated as “high.”

Barrett Group clients, of course, have access to considerably more detailed information on industries, companies, and even hiring executives, but even if you are embarking on a search without professional support, always perform adequate research first! For example, the very high hiring demand in several industries in Chart 3 could make them more attractive if you have affinity for their sphere of activity.

The Barrett Group routinely helps executives change industries, roles, and locations by helping them to articulate the transferability of their skills and experience persuasively. Gone are the days that an executive was wedded to a specific industry simply because that is where her professional history lay.

Chart 4_Female Executive Locations
That applies to location, too, of course. Chart 4 provides an overview of which locations have the largest female executive populations. Note that the Executive Change data is for female and male executives as is the Hiring Demand data because LinkedIn does not separate these data points by gender.

If you are feeling more entrepreneurial, you may find a ranking such as this one (Best Cities for Female Entrepreneurs) useful, but other rankings look at housing, benefits, educational opportunities, etc. Again, our advice is to never stint on research when making an important career decision. For Europe, this ranking is also of interest, factoring in quality of life along with many other variables: Top Six Cities of Quality of Life, though perhaps not only for female executives. As far as the overall gender share is concerned in European cities, this interesting source suggests that Riga, Vilnius, Lisboa, Madrid, Porto, Budapest, Zagreb, and Genoa have the highest overall share of women in their populations.

Chart 5_Female Executive Education

Education (Chart 5, Top 10 universities by number of female execs) may also be career-relevant, though it seems odd to see the first European schools joining this ranking at number #26 (Cambridge), #32 (Oxford), #38 (London, LSE), and #39 (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), and all of these latter four have rather low female shares by comparison to the top ten. Nevertheless, educational institutions can be powerful factors in intentional career networking, and are not to be taken lightly.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Click here for a printable version of this Industry Update – Female Executives 2023

Editor’s Note:

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 900 million users. (See source) It is by far the largest and most robust business database in the world, now in its 20th 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.



Introduction E-Commerce

As a definition of e-commerce “commercial transactions taking place over the internet” seems a bit general. Virtually every business has this characteristic in the meantime. In fact, in this context, we usually think of the big firms that have evolved to be largely internet-based sellers of goods. Here, for example, are allegedly the largest e-commerce firms by sales (See source: NOTE: This list excludes players based outside the US, UK, EU, and Middle East; four out of the top five worldwide are actually based in China):

Industry Update - e-Commerce_Largest Firms

How is the sector evolving? “In 2021, total US ecommerce sales reached $959.5 billion, an 18.3 percent year-over-year increase from $811.6 billion in 2020.” (See source.)

More recently the US Commerce Department reports, “The third quarter 2022 e-commerce estimate increased 10.8 percent (±1.2%) from the third quarter of 2021 while total retail sales increased 9.1 percent (±0.4%) in the same period. E-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2022 accounted for 14.8 percent of total sales.” (See source.)

Beyond the e-commerce specialists, bricks and mortar firms have been catching up fast too, notably Walmart, Target, Home Depot among many others in the US. For example, “According to recent data, Walmart’s online sales […] hit $67.39 billion in 2021, the highest ever recorded. This also makes up 7.2% of the total US ecommerce sales in 2021.” (See source.) “Globally, ecommerce sales penetration continues to climb, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said during a Nov. 15 [2022] conference call. “So far this year, 13% of our total sales as a company now start in a digital fashion,” McMillon said, […]. Online penetration for Walmart International, which encompasses Walmart’s non-U.S. operations, is 20%, he added.” (See source.)

Morgan Stanley sounds rather upbeat on the prospects for further e-commerce growth, too, saying, “Over the long term, the e-commerce market has plenty of room to grow and could increase from $3.3 trillion today to $5.4 trillion in 2026. “We believe that the Covid-driven bump will not flatten future e-commerce growth,” says Brian Nowak, an equity analyst covering the U.S. internet industry. He sees e-commerce reaching 27% of retail sales by 2026. “Across the world, we have yet to see a ceiling for e-commerce penetration.”” (See source.)

Europe continues to see growth in e-commerce as well with 91% of consumers now having access to the internet and 75% claiming to have purchased goods on line (See source). McKinsey reports, “while e-commerce penetration is slightly lower in some EMEA markets than in the United States (online represented 14.4 percent of total sales in Western Europe in 2021 versus 15.3 percent in the United States). In others, it is significantly higher. Online sales comprise 28.3 percent of retailer revenue in the United Kingdom and 18.1 percent in Germany…” (See source.)

In the Middle East, the forecast is also for significant growth: “…the share of online retail as a percentage of total retail sales in the Middle East stands at little more than 2%. Even in the wealthiest countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), e-commerce sales are only 3% of total retail. For comparison, e-commerce in the US reached 2% of total retail sales way back in 2004 and now stands at around 14%. But rapid growth is forecast in the Middle East. E-commerce sales are expected to increase by more than 11% each year.” (See source.)

What then will drive this growth, and what are the hottest trends in e-commerce?

There are numerous lists available on the internet. We think this one is reasonably representative of important trends that will affect the development of e-commerce in the near term:

  • Leveraging big data for next-level personalization
  • Versatile payment options
  • Subscriptions to drive retention
  • Chatbots for better customer support
  • Shoppable video content
  • Artificial Intelligence driven strategies
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences
  • Authenticity and sustainability 
  • Mobile shopping no longer just optional
  • Customer privacy (See source.)
Industry Update - e-Commerce_Trends

It appears then that e-commerce has a lot of running room, and plenty of trends to help power that growth. What does this mean for the executive market? Let’s find out.

The Market For Executives

Approximately 250,000 fit our executives definition (see Editor’s Note) in this industry vertical, some 130,000 in the EU, UK, and Middle East and 120,000 in the US. Overall, this cohort is growing at about 1% per year in the latest period and some 7% have changed positions, meaning there were about 20,000 executive opportunities in this space in the past year.

New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, and San Francisco are the most frequent locations for these roles which are predominantly held by men (circa 81%). LinkedIn describes these executives as being hard to find and therefore hiring demand is said to be very high while the median tenure is 2.9 years.

Chart 1_e-Commerce_Executive Titles
We believe that this industry is relatively unconcentrated, in that the number of CEOs is high relative to the number of Vice Presidents and other titles (see Chart 1).

While the female executive share is relatively low in comparison to some other industries, there are titles that stand out in this respect, notably Chief Marketing Officer and General Counsel.

Chart 2_e-Commerce_Executive Specializations

In terms of specializations (Chart 2), not surprisingly, Online Marketing and Digital Marketing top the list, though more general skills such as Start-ups, Entrepreneurship, Business Development, and Social Media Marketing are not far behind. Bear in mind that the specializations listed here are gleaned from executives’ LinkedIn profiles and relatively few will list only one specialization.

Nevertheless, if you search the web for “key skills for success in e-commerce” you are likely to find a list such as this one (See source):

  • Copywriting
  • SEO
  • Facebook marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Email marketing
  • Google Analytics
  • Product photography
  • Accounting
  • Project management
  • Microsoft Excel
Perhaps the specific references to Facebook and Microsoft might be viewed more generically as social media and analytical skills, however, all of these “key skills” appear in one form or other in Chart 2, though at scale companies need to manage whole teams of people engaged in any given specialization so that the whole dimension of “management” comes into play (e.g., Sales Management, Product Management, etc.).

It is indeed curious that female executives remain relatively scarce in this industry, reaching a peak in predictable subject areas such as Marketing Communication, Brand Development, Market Research, Social Networking, and Recruiting. At least according to one source, 72% of women and 68% of men shop online (in the US). The way the sexes shop is also apparently quite different. In short, more female executives would probably be good for this industry’s future.

As we often point out, many of the skills listed in Chart 2 are highly transferable from and to other industries, so if you feel that you are in an industry that has little room to grow you might want to consider a change. The Barrett Group’s career change process begins with a thorough exploration of clients’ interests, experience, skills, and aspirations and often leads to surprising epiphanies that may completely change our clients’ professional targets. (Learn more.)

Now some of the professionals we are exploring provide services to other companies while some work directly for the service or product supplier. (We will explore employer companies later in this Update.)

Whether they work directly for the seller of goods and services or provide services to another company, which industries actually employ e-commerce executives?
Chart 3_e-Commerce_Industries Employing e-Commerce Executives

Chart 3 explores this question showing that about half of these executives are engaged in just four industries: Marketing & Advertising, Information Technology & Services, Computer Software, and Internet while Retail comes in only in sixth place.

In the past year, Non-profit Organization Management, Venture Capital & Private Equity, Staffing & Recruiting all grew about four times faster than the e-commerce segment as a whole, followed by Investment Management, Management Consulting, and Accounting—all growing 2 to almost 3 times faster.

Other industries contracted sharply, particularly Telecommunications and Consumer Electronics and to a lesser extent, Consumer Goods, Health, Wellness & Fitness, and Restaurants. 

There is no necessary correlation between the growth in the number of executives and the hiring demand, though these often go hand in hand. Take the second and third-ranked industries on Chart 3, for example, Information Technology & Services and Computer Software. These were not among the fast growers, but LinkedIn still says these industries exhibit a very high hiring demand.

Or look at Venture Capital & Private Equity versus Banking adjacent to one another in Chart 3. One belongs to the fast-growing verticals while the other is actually contracting yet both see very high hiring demand according to LinkedIn due to skill scarcity.

Generally, it is best to approach a change of careers with your eyes open and with as much information as you can reasonably obtain. This is another reason thoughtful executives hire the Barrett Group to buttress their searches because each client is supported by a team of six professionals, including a research analyst with access to numerous data resources.
Chart 4_e-Commerce_Employers of Executives

Those research capabilities could be useful, of course, when examining data such as in Chart 4, because some of this year-on-year growth is real and some of it may have been undercut by layoffs in the new year, for example, at Goldman Sachs. Google, Amazon, SAP, and Salesforce are already showing some of the effects from their restructuring. However, overall, retail banks make more money when interest rates rise so there may be good reason for their growth.

In fact, banks (retail and investment) number at least 12 out of the top 50 e-commerce executive employers on Chart 4. As a cohort, this group employs about 4,400 e-commerce executives, a group that has grown by 3% in the past year. We may not think about banking first when we think of e-commerce, but banks are obviously heavily investing in this field.

Take JPMorgan Chase & Co. According to LinkedIn, the company increased their overall Vice President rank by 11% in the most recent 12 month period to about 14,400, though they also added significantly to their Software Engineer teams (all titles, not only executives) to reach 8,000 (+25%). The growth at JPMorgan has been relatively steady during 2022, with significant give and take from Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, etc., but also net talent acquisition from Tata Consultancy Services and Accenture.

Accenture Song also stands out at least as an intriguing name, not to mention due to 31% growth in their e-commerce executive team. This unit presents itself to be a life-style consultancy attempting to capture advantage from a unique understanding of consumer and client behavior. Their talent acquisition approach has been to acquire whole teams and/or business units from previous acquisitions Fjord (design), SinnerSchrader (digital marketing), and a fair number from Accenture itself.

On Chart 4 Stealth Startup also stands out, posting 100% growth, however, since their company website is a Wikipedia page and their LinkedIn job postings appear to be for different companies we believe this is more of an umbrella for multiple startup companies that do not wish to be clearly identified as yet, hence their need for stealth.

Chart 5_e-Commerce_Executive Employers' Locations

Chart 5 reveals the locations with the largest e-commerce executive populations, fastest YOY growth and highest hiring demand. There is not too much mystery here, as these are the locations of the largest employers, however, it is interesting to see how many of the fastest growing locations are not in the US, including the UAE, Milan, Hamburg, Egypt, Frankfurt, Romania, and Cologne.

LinkedIn also identifies numerous locations with high or very high hiring demand in this sector, whether they have grown quickly or not, presumably due to a skill shortage.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Click here for a printable version of Industry Update – e-Commerce 2023.

Editor’s Note:

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. 


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.

All of that takes place in the Clarity Program©—the first stage of our five-step career change program.

Here Is How One Client Explained His Clarity Experience:

“I will admit that before starting on the Clarity Program© I was somewhat skeptical, as I thought I was pretty clear about my career objectives. Once I started on the Clarity Program© it became clear to me that there was a whole other level of clarity I could achieve, and as I went through the program with the assistance of my coach, I reached a level of clarity that I didn’t think was possible.

“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:

“The Clarity Program© is not just for those who want to learn more about themselves to achieve success; it is more to gain a happier sense of success. You can be the most confident person in interviews, negotiations, meetings, etc., but if you do not seek to better your understanding of yourself and your happiness, that success will not mean near as much. 

“The Clarity Program© provides insight into who you are as a person, both professionally and personally, and your ‘why.’ Their counseling to go into depth on communication styles and how to go through your career with your best foot forward is unmatched. They provide the tools to help you understand who you are and where you want to go, and they genuinely want you to be happy with your choices. They make you believe you are worth it because you are.” [Janee Stanton, 2022]

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.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Industry Update, Energy


Energy Introduction

Fossil Fuels in Retreat

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.

Chart 1_Executives per Energy Industry Segment

Chart 2_Executives per R&E Industry Segment

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.

Chart 3_Executive Specialization in the overall Energy industry

Chart 4_Executive Specialization in Renewables & Environment

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.

Chart 5_Top Employers of Executives (Energy)

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.

Chart 6_Top Employers of Executives in the Renewables-Environment Segment

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.

Chart 7_Executive Locations (Energy)

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.

Chart 8_Executive Locations (R&E)

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.

Peter Irish, CEO, The Barrett Group

Click here for a printable version of Industry Update – Energy January 2023

Editor’s Note:

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:

Private money in your future blog

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.



Private-Money-in-Your-Future-Part-2_PRIVATE-MONEY-PART-2-1700x1135-copy-1024x684 PE/VC

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.



Private Money in Your Future – Part 3 (Life After Landing)

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 Picture encourages 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.


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.]

Looking ahead…

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: 

  • Ongoing digitalization
  • 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).

*While the Barrett Group serves clients all over the globe, the majority of our clients are in the US, Europe, the UK, and the Middle East.
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:

TBG-Sectors Experiencing Very High Demand- Management Consulting
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.
Chart 3_Executive Specialization

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_Top Employers of Executives

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):

TBG-Accenture Executive Loss- Gain Management Consulting

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_Executive Locations (1)
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:

TBG-Locations Experiencing Very High Demand- Management Consulting

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.

Management Consulting-Female Industry-segment image

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.]  


Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

Click here for a printable version of Industry Update – Management Consulting 2022

Editor’s Note:

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.

Click here to watch the video.

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!

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