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Trends in finance leadership attraction

Search and selection criteria for finance leadership teams have tightened over the last few years. The average tenure of CEOs continues to shorten and this has an impact on talent attraction and selection thought processes. There is very little appetite to choose CFOs/FDs who do not fully understand the business sector/segment inside-out and who can, in theory, add value from day one.

Six trends in finance leadership attraction

At Michael Page Finance, these are the prevalent finance leadership attraction trends we’ve experienced in 2013:
1. Narrow focus in search assignments: sector bias has continued to dominate the search criteria in mandates. Organisations rate industry exposure above specific competencies, although the quality of experience plays a close second place in all selection processes.
2. Demand for PE-experienced FDs: private equity investment has increased dramatically and we have experienced a renewed appetite for replacement CFOs following a change of shareholding, which has often also been preceded by a change in CEO/MD.
3. M&A on the rise: continued consolidation of players in markets such as engineering, leisure and energy has brought about requirements for new searches for re-structured or re-positioned divisional CFOs.
4. Female finance leaders are sought-after: there is a demand to attract female CFOs and executives but it can be a challenge matching this requirement in addition to sector and track record mandatory experience.
5. Extended interview processes: while the average search and selection cycle has become marginally shorter than in previous periods, there can often be several weeks between interviews – even when there has been expressed appetite for speedy decision-making. This is due to the risk-mitigation tactics of increasing interview stages/numbers of interviews aiming for consensus-driven hiring decisions.
6. Sectors in demand: we have seen uplift in the following sectors for finance director roles nationally:
  • Building and construction
  • Engineering
  • Leisure
  • Oil and gas
  • Retail

Optimism for the future

With a rise in finance leadership roles being recruited across multiple sectors and continued demand for directors and executives with specific sector backgrounds, we are optimistic about the future.
There will, in the short to medium term at least, be the continued war for talent and specific sector requirements. However, as the market picks up there will need to be more flexibility in attributes being sought and the speed with which businesses make decisions. This increasingly justifies the partnership with search firms, such as Michael Page Finance, to advise and work together in securing the best possible candidate.

Find out more

Get in touch with Michael Page Finance to find out more about trends in finance leadership attraction.