For many in the tech ecosystem, this is the first true, deep market correction they have directly experienced. Market caps have been wiped out, pre-IPO shares are once again starting to resemble wallpaper, and companies are beginning to initiate hire freezes.
But those who have lived through these dynamics know that the money does not necessarily evaporate — it largely just moves around. Investment firms that have raised 100s of billions of dollars will still deploy capital, they will just do so in different ways — instead choosing different asset classes and product categories, and recruiting executives with different skillsets to meet their evolving needs. So why does this matter and where are people beginning to place bets?
Below are some of the prevailing themes — and real-time data — that are shaping the recruiting environment and driving companies’ top talent priorities.
Our Technology Officer Practice | 2021 – Present
Due to market forces, we are seeing a major lift in technically-oriented roles — across the board:
89% increase in Chief Technology Officers
68% increase in Chief Information Security Officers
51% increase in Product executives
48% increase in general Engineering executives
15% increase in Chief Information Officers
19% increase in Board Members
→ What’s Behind the Data?
- The last 2 years have been a land grab with most companies doubling down on customer acquisition, conversion and retention — all at the expense of crumbling technical infrastructure and customer-facing applications built with short-term goals in mind.
- Throw on top a few generational technology shifts – from Cloud to DevOps and AI/Machine Learning + a few front-page security breaches – and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm in which management teams & their Boards are now rushing to play catch-up.
Search Cycle Times (AKA Time To Completion) In Flux | March 2020 – Present
Search people do not like to admit it, but like many other businesses, we operate in a marketplace. For that marketplace to be healthy, you need an environment where clients are hiring and candidates are moving freely between companies.
And as the demand for technical executives has increased, we’re also seeing more dramatic, almost chaotic, fluctuations in search cycle times — in ways we’ve never seen before.
↓ 15%: The beginning of Covid saw the Great Resignation, with many senior executives really evaluating their personal and professional priorities, and open to talking to other employers — our clients. This led to us being able to close search projects faster (by roughly 15%). Supply outstripped demand in many cases.
↑ 18%: The unintended consequence of this movement came in 2021 with significant wage inflation coinciding with an unusually bullish stock market, leading to significant golden handcuffs and an inability or unwillingness of top candidates to consider other options. So while we had an unprecedented number of clients looking to hire, the candidate community would not budge which led to much higher cycle times, close to 18% on average.
↓ 19%: With the recent market corrections of 2022, these handcuffs have in many cases loosened or come off entirely, enabling us to move candidates into clients more efficiently, thus giving our clients more optionality and reducing the amount of time to close an executive search project.
Asset Class Analysis | Public, Venture & Private Equity
So where is the money going? The short answer is, we don’t yet know — the data is telling us that it’s business as usual.
>5%: The variance in our business mix between asset class
- Earlier in the year, I predicted a major retreat from the public markets into privately held companies. Yet the numbers do not support this thesis — from where we sit, our public clients are about as active as our venture and PE clients, with only a 5% variance in our business mix in the last few months.
- However, with significant dry powder on the sidelines, we anticipate many of our publicly-traded, PE and well-capitalized venture clients — particularly those that raised large rounds in 2021 — will take advantage of “more down-to-earth” valuations, and for our business mix to reflect a soon-to-be robust M&A and take-private environment.
SPMB’s Recent C-Level Technical Projects
- Disney Streaming | Chief Technology Officer | Media & Entertainment
- Disney Streaming | Vice President, Product, Identity | Media & Entertainment
- Disney Streaming | Vice President, Product, Growth | Media & Entertainment
- Google Cloud | Vice President, Product, Gmail | Cloud Services
- Google Cloud | Vice President, Product, Workspace Collaboration Apps | Cloud Services
- Google Cloud | Vice President, Product, Workspace Core | Cloud Services
- Google Cloud | Vice President, Engineering, Workspace Horizonals | Cloud Services
- Comcast | Chief Network Officer | Communications & Media
- Comcast | Chief Information Officer, Comcast Business | Communications & Media
- Vivint | Senior Vice President, Engineering | Smart Home Technology
- Cohesity | Group Vice President, Product | Next Generation Data Management
- NerdWallet | Chief Product Officer | Fintech & Financial Services
- NerdWallet | Vice President, Engineering| Fintech & Financial Services
- Workday | Vice President, Engineering | Software as a Service
- Imperva | Vice President, Cloud Native Engineering | Cyber Security
- Jumio | Chief Technology Officer | Image Recognition Technology
- Gigamon | Chief Information Security Officer | Network Visibility
- Cradlepoint | Chief Information Security Officer | Connectivity
- Procore | Chief Information Security Officer | Software as a Service
- Redis | Senior Vice President, Product | Real Time Data Technology
- Neo4j | Vice President, Cloud Product Management | In Memory Data Technology
- Noom | Head of Product Engineering | Health Tech
- ON24 | Board Member | Live Digital Experience Platform
- Traeger Grills | Vice President, Digital | Consumer Products
- Hyatt | Vice President, Global Digital Product Design | Hospitality & Leisure
- Prosper Marketplace | Chief Technology Officer | Leading Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform
- Aristocrat Leisure | Chief Technology Officer | Gaming Technology
- ON24 | Chief Information Officer | Live Digital Experience Platform
- Imperva | Senior Vice President, Infrastructure and Cloud Operations | Cyber Security
So what’s the bottom line? All of these fluctuations are healthy in the course of a cyclical technology and investment market. However, if organizations are not on the pulse of current recruiting themes and candidate priorities—and evolving their search process accordingly—they will find themselves playing a costly game of catch up and in the process, lose out on top talent to competitors playing the long game. This is particularly true within C-Level technical talent as every company is now a tech company, and this leadership category is critical to the success of all organizations in today’s competitive environment.
If we can help you think through your organizational structure or leadership team now or in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out.