2023 Will Be a Challenging Year for C-Suite Level Executives in Transition

Executive hiring cooled by 14% in 2022 as compared to 2021, said Thrive, the software services firm that supports executive recruiters and talent professionals, in their recently released Executive Compensation & Hiring Benchmarks 2022. While a 14% percentage drop may not seem significant, Q4 executive hiring was down 43% compared to the first quarter of 2022.

Venture capital saw the sharpest decline in leadership hiring. Late-stage VC executive openings were down 57% in Q4. Private equity also saw a significant decline, decreasing 37% from Q1.

In both privately-held and publicly-traded companies, the number of open and completed executive search engagements has trended down. From 2021, executive search volume was down 20%.  Additionally, searches are taking 12% longer to complete.

As interest rates increased to combat inflation, areas of the market saw valuations plummet. As the economy cooled, companies pivoted from a focus on growth-at-all-cost to sustainable growth-creating demand contraction. There are three reasons for this contraction:

  1. A decrease in new business due to broad cost-cutting measures.
  2. Increase in churn due to companies going out of business.
  3. Seat contraction from layoffs and decreases in hiring.

Unfortunately for job seekers, these trends will likely continue in 2023.  When will leadership hiring pick up?

Answer: When we see broader macro-economic improvements.

For C-suite level leaders and other executives in transition, here are the key takeaways:

  • Expect it to be tougher and likely take longer to land your next role.
  • Fewer searches mean greater competition and that means searches will likely take longer to close, as hiring companies can afford to be choosier.
  • Executives in transition will need to up their games during their job searches.

How can you “up your game?”

If you are in transition or considering leaving your current role, are you crystal clear about your personal value proposition – how you deliver value as a leader? Do you have a crisp, compelling “Who I Am” story, so the people you meet can quickly get to know, like and trust you? As the majority of executive jobs are filled by networking, do you have a strong professional network? Are you continually expanding and nourishing your network?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you’ll likely pay a price during your job search. Is that a price you can afford to pay?