• The demand for tenured leaders who can navigate uncertainty has increased in response to global conditions.
• The average age of CEOs has fluctuated in recent years, with a dip in 2021 due to younger executives taking on leadership roles in startups.
Global conditions have upped the demand for tenured leaders who can navigate uncertainty, leading to a shift in the age profile of CEOs. A study by search firm Accord India showed that the average age of CEOs dipped to 46.6 in 2021 as younger executives took over in startups. However, the average age rose to 48.5 in 2022 and 49 in 2023 as funding for startups decreased. Established companies made 85% of top hires in 2023, compared to 29% in the startup sector in the previous year. The demand for tenured leaders is driven by increasing global and economic complexity and blowups in the startup ecosystem. In response to these trends, firms are now looking for older CXOs who can bring stability and experience to their organizations.
In 2021, startups and IT companies were attracting senior leaders from sectors such as manufacturing, banking, and consumer goods with generous compensation and stock options, resulting in a decrease in the average age of CEOs. However, as startups have struggled and laid off thousands of employees, the demand for experienced leaders has increased. Sectors such as engineering, procurement, and construction are specifically looking for leaders who are 50 years old or older.
The trend of preferring younger talent in startups is now reversing, with sectors like fintech seeking experienced professionals who can handle crises. The demand for CFOs is particularly high, followed by experts in sales and digital marketing. The Accord India study revealed a 21% increase in CEO recruitment in 2023 compared to the previous year, indicating a strong demand for experienced leaders.
Overall senior hiring dropped by 7% in 2023, with 877 CXOs and business and functional heads hired compared to 943 in 2022. However, the demand for HR heads increased. Executive search firm Korn Ferry reported an appetite for CFOs, followed by sales and digital marketing experts. The people agenda has become a priority for boards, and CEOs are seeking strategic HR heads who can work closely on business imperatives.
In conclusion, the demand for tenured leaders has increased due to global conditions and the challenges faced by startups. Older CXOs are being sought after to bring stability and experience to organizations. The age profile of CEOs has fluctuated in recent years, with a dip in 2021 due to the rise of younger executives in startups. However, the trend has reversed, and the demand for experienced professionals is now increasing across sectors.