Function-Specific Career Trends

As 2017 stretched its arms and exhaled a low yawn, I began pondering what the new year would bring. A lot of great Sales Directors wonder something similar, looking forward to what their pipeline has in store. Having tackled most of the C-Suite in my previous articles, it was high time that I looked at this lucrative newcomer to the top table and it seemed that the answer to the previous question was a resounding “No” – 89% of respondents from an initial 331 Sales Directors that I reached out to weighed in to say as much.

The role of the 21st Century Chief Financial Officer is drastically different from its traditional book-keeping function. Deloitte tried to map this transition with their article 2011 “The Four Faces of the CFO”, but their failure is that they stop at the theoretical and haven’t gone the extra step to put figures to their ideas. I wanted to see if I could do just that. As such, I got in touch with 449 Chief Financial Officers in Australasia and asked them to look at a more recent article by Deloitte where they delineated that a CFO tends to fit into one of the four categories listed below.

Over the last five years, I have had the pleasure of working with and career counselling some of New Zealand’s leading lights in terms of Board Members, C-suite executives and IT technicians. This extraordinary experience has helped me garner a greater understanding of my industry and opened my eyes to new perspectives of how people from all corners of the globe operate in a business environment. One point that has always particularly fascinated me however, is how the southern hemisphere measures up to its northern counterpart. In many respects, there is negligible difference in business ideas and performance, but that’s not to say that there doesn’t seem to be some small element of playing catch up when it comes to corporate structure.

The role of the Chief Technology Officer came about in the 1980s, becoming prominent in the 1990s with the conception of the big internet companies. Tom Berray  in The Role of the CTO: Four Models for Success explains that, for businesses, the “CTO role is a low-cost addition to the organization [that] can help reap potentially high pay-offs by identifying and elevating critical opportunities”. Finding a great CTO that meshes with a company’s corporate identity however, can seem more a challenge than discovering a unicorn might.

As an executive recruiter in Silicon Valley, I keep an eye on technology trends and the implications for executive talent. Read about the latest technology trends:


  • Connected economy
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data science, data analytics and machine learning
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
  • Customer Success
  • Healthcare IT
  • Diversity


BlueSteps recently hosted a follow up #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of making the leap to CEO, featuring Cathy Logue, from Stanton Chase, and Jose Ruiz, from Alder Koten. To read part one, click here.

Some of the questions asked included:

He drives a Tesla. She drives a Leaf. His is leased, hers was bought outright. He wanted to drive in the carpool lane (without the extra passenger). She wanted to contribute to cleaner air. He got the top-speed model to go zero to 60 in under three seconds. Hers can barely make it in ten.

Yet, she dry cleans her jeans, colors her hair with peroxide-based dye, and orders take-out food three times a week. He loves to cook every night with organic ingredients, drops his clothes off at a fluff-and-fold that uses earth-friendly detergent, and charges his car with a solar-panel system.