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What Executive Jobseekers and Employers Can Expect in 2022

Senior Leaders Finding Fast Landings, Multiple Offers and More Emphasis on Retained Search

In 2021, more than 350 senior leaders from around the country advanced their careers with outplacement and career transition support from Navigate Forward.

Our typical clients are tenured executives: CEOs and company presidents, CXOs, vice presidents and senior directors at companies in a variety of industries. While we’re headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, our clients come from all geographies, both nationally and globally.

This diversity provides us with a great perspective on the current labor market. Here’s a quick snapshot of our clients’ executive job search experiences during 2021 and a preview of what candidates and employers can expect in the early months of 2022.

Trends in Executive Hiring for 2022

Fastest time to land since 2017. Our senior leaders averaged just 7.4 months between gigs—our shortest time in transition in the last four years. One-third of our executive jobseekers landed their next role in under four months.

Multiple offers common. With a record number of open positions, more executive jobseekers than ever reported receiving multiple job offers. Eighty percent maintained or increased their compensation.

More remote leadership, less relocation. Both senior leaders and employers share a new perspective on geography. Across our global portfolio, more executives will work remotely than ever before. We’re also seeing companies from both coasts actively recruiting Midwestern candidates and offering remote leadership opportunities.

Networking remains vital. The majority of our clients continue to find new roles through professional networking. Virtual networking meetings remain highly effective.

Retained search growing. With record vacancies to fill, more companies turned to executive recruiters in 2021 to source top candidates. Both active and passive candidates are in high demand. Those with strong professional narratives and solid networking skills will stand out with search firms.

Gig economy is viable. Last year saw more senior leaders opting out of corporate roles and moving to fractional leadership contracts or full-time consulting. The gig economy has matured, providing a viable alternative for experienced leaders who want to leverage their skills in new ways.

Purpose matters. The pandemic continues to spur personal reflection and in some instances, dramatic lifestyle changes. While Navigate Forward has always served as a catalyst to help leaders find purpose and passion in their work, 2021 saw more leaders actively seeking positions with companies that make the world a better place. Interest in non-profit leadership also grew.

Active Market Sounds Note of Caution for HR, Employers

With more opportunities for executive jobseekers, employers and human resources executives need to ensure they’re managing their workforces effectively. Our work with dozens of leading employers revealed these additional workforce trends:

Clogs in the talent pipeline. Why are high potential leaders voluntarily leaving their positions? One growing reason is lack of opportunity for advancement within their current organizations. When succession plans stall or tenured leaders can’t envision their next chapter, frustration grows for leaders waiting “on the bench.” Many executives view a new job as the only way to advance. Businesses must do more to reward high potential leaders and to support transitions for retiring executives.

Demand for digital fluency. Overnight, the pandemic made remote work the new normal. Now, workplace tensions are growing when senior leaders are unable (or unwilling) to embrace virtual and hybrid work environments. To attract and retain top talent, companies must invest in solutions that bridge the digital divide.

Greater risk with new hires. Strong executive onboarding is more vital than ever to safeguard the investment in hiring and recruiting new leaders. Top candidates now regularly receive multiple offers; many remain active with search firms even after starting their new positions. More than half of newly hired senior executives will leave their new employer within the first 18 months.

How Navigate Forward Can Help

If you’re an executive who’s actively in transition or considering change in the near future, Navigate Forward can help you move forward with clarity and confidence. Our Executive Transition Services and Board Readiness programs provide one-on-one support that’s tailored to the needs of C-suite, vice president and senior director roles. Every client benefits from our proven process, access to career resources, LinkedIn and resume building, and more.

If you’re an HR professional or company leader with responsibility for your corporate workforce, Navigate Forward can support your talent pipeline at a number of stages to help you onboard, develop and retain high-potential senior leaders, and to manage transitions effectively with legacy planning and outplacement services. Contact Liesl Forve to learn more.

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