Boyden Executive Outlook Finds Strategic Hiring Continues Despite U.S. and European Economic Uncertainty

Top global executive search firm reveals recruitment related to Energy/Mining, Technology, Life Sciences and most sectors in the developing markets lead hiring trends

NEW YORK, October 6, 2011—Executive hiring in industries connected to energy/mining, technology and nearly all sectors in the major emerging markets remain active and competitive, even with tougher overall global economic conditions, according to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook, released today by Boyden Global Executive Search.

“Strategic hiring of senior executives continues at a steady pace, despite the economic uncertainty in the US and Europe,” said Trina Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “Hiring of C-level and management in key emerging markets continues to be the most prolific, compared to the more mature markets. Even in challenging environments, companies must have the right talent to maximize current revenue and develop longer-term strategy.”


“In the industrial and energy sectors, boards are looking harder at the CEO and CFO roles and their current executives’ ability to effectively and rapidly respond to changing business cycles,” said Jim Hertlein, a Board Member of Boyden World Corporation and Managing Director at Boyden Houston. “On the upside, difficult business cycles develop the best leadership over the long-term.”

The energy/mining sectors are notably expanding in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, Chile and Peru, for roles including General Management, Project Managers and Finance, added Mr. Hertlein. Management hiring in the region is also gaining extra momentum via infrastructure development and increased investment from Australia, Canada, South Africa, UK and other markets, according to John Byrne, Managing Director at Boyden Santiago.

“In Australia, the mining boom continues to lead management hiring, although decisions to retain talent are not spreading as quickly to other sectors,” said Michael Catlow, Managing Director of Boyden Australia.

In US and Canadian manufacturing, talent retention related to process improvement and innovation is picking up pace, according to Robert Travis, a Board Member of Boyden World Corporation and Managing Director of Boyden Canada. Fresh hiring includes roles such as Chief Process Improvement Officer, VP of Operations and VP of Manufacturing. For company-wide positions such as Country President, Regional CFO and VP of Marketing, a big emphasis is being placed on global experience.

“Forays into international markets are the focus of many of our traditionally domestic industrial clients,” said Mr. Travis. “Companies view this as a way to mitigate the risk of being tied to an uncertain market.”

In the Brazilian industrial sector, increased demand is combined with shortage of positions as local companies are growing and foreign companies entering or expanding their presence. Organizations are thus aggressively recruiting and paying higher compensation for Engineering, Finance, HR, Marketing, Supply Chain and other areas, according to Aurea Imai, a Managing Director at Boyden São Paulo.

Financial Services

“The war for talent in financial services continues for anyone who can create revenue and add value immediately,” said Jeanne Branthover, Leader of Boyden’s Global Financial Services Practice and Managing Director at Boyden New York. “Clients and candidates are not willing to take risks.”

“We see growth in 2012 and 2013 in FinTech, insurance and wealth management,” added Ms. Branthover. “Financial services continues to consolidate and hire selectively.”

In Latin America, robust demand for talent in banking and wealth management is driving up compensation by 40-50 percent, with star candidates often weighing multiple offers. In addition, healthy mergers and acquisitions activity in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico has fast-tracked hiring of Finance and Treasury & Compliance executives, according to Manuel Corsino, a Managing Director at Boyden Miami.

“Companies are now more often selling the higher compensation and less the brand,” added Mr. Corsino.

In Canada, asset management recruiting is fluid, including for roles such as Head of Pensions and Head of Asset Liability. In banking, due to large company and individual customer demand, growth in mobile application products has pushed up priority for talent acquisition for positions including Chief Information Officer and VP of Mobile Applications, according to Janice Detta Colli, a Managing Director at Boyden Toronto.

In Asia, local and regional banks are hiring and attracting premier senior executives at the Managing Director, Senior VP and VP levels, according to Gina Ong, a Partner at Boyden Singapore.

“We’re seeing a lot of ‘catch up’ from local banks as they expand into Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan after the global financial crisis,” explained Ms. Ong. “A couple of years ago it was much more difficult for local banks to compete with global institutions to attract executive talent. Now, the local banks are growing and there’s much more opportunity to manage and influence decisions for foreign executives who join these institutions. While banks are open to hiring foreign executives, they prefer to hire those that are already based in-country in this current challenging economic environment.”

In China, financial services hiring is strong, though not as active as in previous periods. Decision makers continue to emphasize preference for local talent, which is significantly less in supply, according to Brian Renwick, a Boyden World Corporation Board Member and Managing Director of Boyden China.

In the Middle East, the region’s hiring activity remains slow due to the uncertainty of the Arab Spring, the financial crisis in Europe, the slow growth in the US and traditional low level of business activity throughout the summer, according to Magdy El Zein, Managing Director Boyden Middle East. However, a return to more dynamic activity is expected throughout the fourth quarter.”


“With consumer/retail companies under pressure, superior leadership and high-level commercial and strategic skills are important today to deliver quality products while managing the cost base effectively,” said Fay Voysey-Smit, Leader of Boyden’s Global Consumer Practice and Managing Director of Boyden South Africa. .”In addition, Finance, Marketing, Sales, Operations and Supply Chain executives are expected to have deep commercial skills to ensure the best delivery of margin at all points of the value chain.”

In the UK and Europe, the fight to remain competitive in a slowing market has resulted in some companies considering CEO changes oriented toward restructuring. In addition, the need to build strong marketing and customer propositions has fueled significant demand for new Chief Marketing Officers and Brand Communication Directors, according to Victoria Stead, a Partner of Boyden UK.

“New revenue streams, including multichannel and e-Commerce, remain a top priority at the board level,” added Ms. Stead.  

In the luxury retail sector, overall global projections are relatively positive due to booming demand in China and Asia. In Europe, local executive hiring may slow down due to regional economic pressures and uncertainty ahead of the presidential elections in France, according to Anne Raphael, a Partner of Boyden France.  

In the US, companies are prioritizing recruitment of strong executives, especially in Sales and Operations  given their ability to more quickly impact the bottom line, according to Doug Ehrenkranz, a Managing Director at Boyden Houston. He also added that the trend of “frugality” continues as companies are preparing for a prolonged focus on value oriented products.

“Retailers remain generally cautious about hiring, but companies must retain key talent driving revenue and financial control,” said Howard Gross, a Managing Director at Boyden New York. Heads of Product Development, VPs of e-Commerce and VPs of Merchandising remain on critical lists for hiring, he added.

“In India, there is a huge untapped growth potential for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) as the per capita consumption in this sector is amongst the lowest in the world,” said Dinesh Mirchandani, Managing Director of Boyden India. “Hiring the right senior talent is critical for companies to improve quality, innovate and offer new generation products that will change the consumer's mindset and increase demand.”


“Management hiring in technology has picked up over the last few months, despite the overall general economic slowdown,” said Dan Grosh, a Managing Director of Boyden San Francisco. “It appears as if there’s a ‘protective bubble’ in Silicon Valley and the competition for top talent is as fierce as ever.”

Leadership positions most in demand in the US include Engineering and Sales & Marketing roles, with companies being extremely selective on specific requirements. The possibility of sustained hiring through the fourth quarter is difficult to predict, added Grosh.

In India, projections for management hiring in technology in the fourth quarter are cautious, after a significant upward trend in the first half of 2011. While junior-level hiring remains robust in the IT industry, executive hiring at the mid and upper management levels is being impacted by the US/European economic slowdowns, according to Mr. Mirchandani.

Mr. Mirchandani added that one area of notable expansion and talent procurement is with the larger Indian IT companies, which are targeting the IT consulting space in the US.

In the UK, the firms connected to business to business concerns are meeting growth targets and thus are reaching higher levels of executive acquisition. Positions most in play include VP of Sales &Marketing, VP of Strategy and many roles related to mobile services, according to Mark Soden, a Partner of Boyden UK.

In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), companies are prioritizing group functions in operations, and de-emphasizing local functions. Companies are hiring Heads of Group Technology or Heads of Innovation to cut costs and centralize decision making, according to Andreas Landgrebe, Managing Director of Boyden CEE and Boyden Austria.

Executive searches in IT and Data Security are prolific in Europe, added Pasi Koivusaari, a Senior Partner of Boyden Finland.

In addition, technology providers are stepping up investment in markets abroad to meet strong demand for IT and related solutions for fast growing markets such as Brazil, Colombia and India. Positions in Business Development are the most active for hiring, according to Miguel Zuil, Managing Director of Boyden Spain

Life Sciences/Healthcare

“Qualified healthcare executives are in demand and organizations are recruiting much more aggressively,” said Stacey Holland, a Principal at Boyden Pittsburgh. Ms. Holland added that one notable exception is for-profit health services providers, which are slowing hiring due to concerns over declining reimbursement rates.  

In Europe, Life Science companies are stepping up retention of managements who possess innovation and regulatory process expertise. Scientists with technical backgrounds and the ability to improve R&D and shorten product life cycles are highly coveted, according to Kerstin Roubin, Director of Boyden’s CEE Life Sciences Practice.

Human Resources

In the US human resources sector, Talent Executives who can serve as effective business partners with line managers to develop HR capital are a greater priority compared to executives focused on compensation and related areas, according to Greg Coleman, a Managing Director at Boyden New York.

“The talent pool of HR leaders is being stretched thin,” said Mr. Coleman. “Graduates of top universities are not as often entering corporate HR and instead are opting for careers in consulting firms and other sectors.”

In Eastern Europe and other key emerging markets, the emphasis on the HR function by corporate leadership is substantially growing, according to Julia Nikitina, a Board Member of Boyden World Corporation and Managing Director of Boyden Russia.

“Companies understand that strong HR leadership is the foundation for engineering the best global policies and operations,” said Ms. Nikitina. “Thus, areas such as hiring, training and quality will be impacted in a positive way throughout the company if proper HR systems are in place.”

In the UK, organizations in many cases are benchmarking HR talent externally and then hiring internally. Positions of greater current hiring activity in the sector include VP of Talent and VP of Reward, according to Lisa Gerhardt, a Partner of Boyden UK.

Board Services

In US Board Services, the recent federal appeals court rejection of the latest SEC attempt to enact the proxy access rule has slowed shareholder activists’ quest to gain more control by directly nominating board members.

“While a disappointment to shareholder rights activists, we certainly expect the SEC to continue to pursue shareholder concerns over direct nomination of directors and related issues,” said Sarah Stewart, a Principal at Boyden Pittsburgh and a board expert. “Boards are, however, responding to other shareholder issues such as CEO succession planning and development of internal candidates by heightening their attention and improving their approach."

“Progressive boards are identifying and evaluating executives outside the company,” said Thomas Flannery, Leader of Boyden’s Board Services Practice in North America and Managing Director at Boyden Pittsburgh. “The increased consideration of external candidates in the C-suite is not necessarily because boards have doubts about internal candidates, but because it serves the shareholders and directors to have maximum reference points for completely informed decisions.” 

About Boyden World Corporation

Boyden is a global leader in the executive search industry with more than 70 offices in over 40 countries. Founded in 1946, Boyden specializes in high level executive search, Interim Management and Human Capital consulting across a broad spectrum of industries. For further information, visit the firm’s website at