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Professional Services CEOs are Hot Property

More than half of senior executives working in the sector get approached with external job opportunities at least six times a year.

GettyImages-147205304-compressorMost people might consider themselves lucky to be approached by a headhunter one or twice a year. Not so if you’re an executive in the professional services sector, which is weathering a major talent shortage of experts on everything from accountancy to cybercrime.

A survey of 333 American senior executives working in the sector by Russell Reynolds found only 3% hadn’t been offered any external opportunities in the past year. Of the rest, 17% had received between one and three approaches and 27% between four and six. Almost a fifth of respondents had received a staggering 15 approaches or more.

The findings come as CEOs more broadly fret about succession planning amid rapid technological disruption and shifting age demographics that are shirking labor pools. Leaders questioned in a recent survey by non-profit peer group The Conference Board picked “developing next generation leaders” as their second-biggest concern behind a global recession.

“Developing next generation leaders is CEOs’ second-biggest concern behind a global recession.—The Conference Board

The American Institute of CPAs are among industry bodies that have complained of a shortage of skilled labor. Government agencies and companies also are losing billions of dollars a year from cyberattacks, of which many remain ill-prepared to prevent or manage.

To attract high-caliber leaders, however, they may not have to pay top dollar.

According to the Russell Reynolds survey, respondents considered a more interesting and challenging role to be the most important factor when accepting a career move, ahead of clear career advancement opportunities and having a more senior title. Getting more money came last, at 11th place.

The survey also found that women are interviewing for jobs and accepting offers more than men, and executives aged over 40 are more likely to seek an “innovative culture” than younger peers while evaluating a new job opportunity.

About Ross Kelly

Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.