In this interview, we talked to Pascal Bohu, from Sirca Executive Search, about the results of the 2016 BlueSteps Executive Job Outlook report and his advice for candidates. Download the full report here.

Many executives expect the number of executive jobs to increase in 2016. Is now the time to make a move?

Since the beginning of the crisis in 2009, the market has gone down dramatically. There are fewer company initiatives and investments and fewer open positions even though there were still punctual, exciting career opportunities of course. Many executives avoided taking risks during that period. However, the economy has picked up since last spring and we have been hearing again about major company projects and strategic moves. As the market is much more dynamic now, we see that executives are less reluctant to switch jobs and it may be a better moment to consider a career evolution.

pascal_bohu_executive_job_outlookWhat global economic trends do you see having the most impact on executive jobs in the coming year?

I’d like to mention two notable trends that will probably prevail in the coming years. The first one concerns the global economy: As the economic growth is higher in Asia, moving company headquarters to Asia is a rising trend, leading more senior executives to follow the move and settle there. The second is a technology evolution that has had an impact on both the internal structure of companies and on the creation of new businesses. That digitalization of the economy and creation of new business models (such as Uber) is very attractive to candidates; notably executives identified as high potentials.

How can an executive best present him/herself to get noticed by executive search consultants in today’s marketplace?

Needless to say that being present on professional social media is something that can no longer be left out. But filling out your profile properly with your detailed experience, a photo and a few key words is not enough for being noticed because now everyone is there! Executives that stand out from the crowd take it one step further by becoming thought leaders, sharing an opinion, sometimes a strong and original one, through their status updates of blog posts. 

Executives who reflect on their management style and enforce more modern management best practices and know how to explain it clearly outside will obviously be more visible. But of course it has to be more than a buzzword and an artificial communication campaign and something truly put into effect by the executive.

What would you rank as the major challenges for executives at the moment, and what executive skills are in high demand considering those current challenges?

In many industries, one of the major challenges is not to miss the step of digitalization and to succeed in rethinking the business model that this technology change will unmistakably produce.

The next challenge is the human challenge of finding new ways to ensure the well-being of teams and to rally around the company culture to increase motivation. This is valid now and will be increasingly in the future as new generations and cultural backgrounds will have different expectations about management and work/life balance.

Lastly, I would mention creativity and risk-taking. Executives must be more curious and open-minded than ever to anticipate trends and build on their company vision. I don't mean they should totally transfigure their business at the risk of destabilizing both teams and customers, but finding the right balance in keeping old assets and adding new ones is the key.

Why do you think most executives valued executive coaching and digital/social media training over other forms of additional training/education? Do you agree that this is the best way for executives to stay relevant in the job market, other than on the job experience?

For executives who have already earned a solid education, coaching and training is a good way to add further skills. Let's not forget though that more traditional forms of training, such as MBAs, offer what coaching does not: An opportunity to network with peers during the courses. As we all know, nothing replaces a good network.

If you could offer one key piece of advice to today’s senior leaders, what would that be?

Learn to manage both worlds: The one that we have known until now and the one that lies ahead. Look ahead without disclaiming what has made the company successful until now.

For more one-on-one interviews and commentary from leading executive search consultants, download the full report here.


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