CloudNews & Analysis

CXO-Level Hiring on the Rise as Economy Picks Up

CXO-level hiring, which had halved following the outbreak, is staging a comeback, says a new study.


Leadership is the single most important contributing factor to an organization’s success, more so during times of crisis. Though the global pandemic have shaken the world economy and businesses across various sectors over the last one and half years, good news now is … C-suite or CXO-level hiring, which had halved following the outbreak, is staging a comeback. Companies are looking to fill leadership positions, encouraged by an improving economic environment and business sentiment.

CXO search mandates in India have seen a spike of up to 80-100% compared with Q3 2020, as hiring rebounds and pent-up demand is unleashed on the back of vaccine rollout and companies are reigniting growth and expansion plans, according to Michael Page India Talent Trends 2021 Report.

“While firms this year will continue to focus on growing existing talent in the organisation, there will be an increasing openness for lateral hiring at senior levels, to get a fresh perspective, and guidance through the next burst of growth,” says Anshul Lodha, Head of Page Executive India.  

As the year puts more spotlight on innovation and consumer care, Lodha observes, “A huge swathe of sectors—including start-ups, banking, financial services and insurance, retail, IT, e-commerce, pharma, renewable segment logistics, artificial intelligence, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods will be net hirers in the CXO space.”

The report survey done across 1,200 professionals (CXOs / VP, Director and above), nearly 70% of senior level executives will be looking for new job opportunities this year, of which a majority 60% of them ranked job scope and responsibilities as their top consideration when accepting a new job offer.  

Compensation expectations are optimistic too as 44% state an expected 20% or more increase in their current salary when looking to a new employer. To the CXOs, mental health is the most important influencing factor about a potential employer as all the respondents ranked a healthy work culture above possible career growth opportunities and strong brand recognition.

“As confidence rebuilds in the market with the improving economic landscape, India will require the next generation of business leaders to future-proof their organisations into stronger and more adaptable establishments,” he says.

A recent Grant Thorton report titled “Women in Business 2021” also sees a rise in CXO recruitment emphasizing that the proportion of senior management roles held by women over the past five years increased on average from 25% to 31%. The rise may be slow but no one can deny the fact that the business environment is starting to change more and more.

More recently, the trend of ‘temp CXOs’ is gathering momentum as companies become conscious of fixed costs, taking advantage of a large pool of ‘super specialists’ looking for short job stints during the pandemic, say executive search firms. Temp CXOs mostly come with rich work experience and seem to have lost interest in the corporate rat race. They are not hung up on designations and are okay with being called a project lead or an adviser. At times, temp CXOs can also get converted into a full-time position.

On the whole, senior management hiring is back and is driven by several factors such as pick-up in domestic demand, rapid digitalisation, expansion and capacity augmentation plans of companies, an improved investment environment and unleashing of pent-up demand.

IT and ecommerce are by far the front-runners in hiring for their top deck followed by pharmaceuticals, life sciences, food retail and financial services. Also it is not just the big enterprises, but unicorns and smaller startups are also hiring aggressively, suggesting an optimism in C-suite recruitment and retention in the coming days.

Leave a Response