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Read or listen to articles published in this section and via BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast series – also featuring interviews with high profile business leaders internationally.

Talent trends for 2024

It has been a much more challenging year for hiring in 2023.

The tech and e-commerce sectors have seen a significant correction and the retail industry has struggled with consumer spending considerably lower than in prior years. Many retailers continue to grapple with becoming truly omnichannel but need to adopt this strategy in the face of intense competition. More widely, reduced business investment as well as pressure on costs has translated to greater risk aversion and subdued hiring from companies.

There has also been significant downsizing in segments of the market leading to job losses. Senior executives have found it more difficult to secure permanent positions since there are fewer vacancies and intense competition for the roles that do arise. There are some tremendously talented executives ‘sitting on the bench’ and one can only hope that a more positive outlook for 2024 offers a change in fortune for them. It’s too early to say how next year will shape up but economic indicators (such as dropping inflation) are glimmers of light.

The upshot of a weaker economic backdrop has meant employers are less willing to compromise on their hiring requirements and the length of search processes have therefore extended.

Whilst it is a more suppressed hiring landscape than previous years, there are several qualities that I believe companies will be looking for in 2024 and should be applicable to you regardless of your geographic location or functional specialism.

Resilience amid uncertainty

Many of the leaders I have spoken to these last 12 months have described change as the new normal. Whether it’s geopolitical factors contributing to economic instability or the impact of artificial intelligence (to name just two), companies are looking for leaders who can show clear evidence in their past experience of dealing with a shifting landscape and increasing levels of pressure.

On the subject of pressure, this can of course be a contributor to stress and appropriate coping mechanisms need to be built into every executive’s leadership toolkit. This is something my sister company NewlandRock specialises in. If you feel this is something that’s relevant to you, please get in touch with Kate Thomas for an exploratory discussion.

Omnichannel mindset

As we navigated our way through the pandemic, all the talk was around digital. That clearly remains imperative to most companies’ future but if dealing with Covid has taught us one thing, it’s that human behaviour will always thrive on physical interactions. That’s why digital is just one of several channels of communication and distribution. Executives who bring this mindset to organisations will be at a distinct advantage.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) imperative

The call for diverse leadership continues across all sectors in hiring processes. Whilst some searches can certainly help to resolve diversity challenges, achieving truly diverse senior leadership teams is far from an overnight fix. It requires an investment in promoting a culture of diversity from within a business. If managed well, this should develop a succession plan for a diverse future executive team. Demonstrating an awareness of this and providing evidence of developing diversity is another important attribute that companies are looking for when hiring.

Avoiding groupthink in the C-Suite

Following on from the subject of diversity, companies are also looking for fresh thinking. Leaders who can offer a potentially contrarian view backed up with insights and data. As one prominent CEO I spoke to this year said on the subject of digital transformation: “If 90% of your executive team have one view, it’s the view of the 10% you really listen to’’. Leaders who show a track record of influencing decision-making of the CEO and Board are greatly valued.

These are just four factors amongst many that I have encountered this year in senior-level hiring processes.

The emphasis companies are placing on leadership has never been greater and if you’d like more insights on NewlandRock‘s Leadership Effectiveness solutions or BartonRock Executive Search‘s services please get in touch.

To your success in 2024.

About BartonRock: BartonRock is the executive search partner for high-growth consumer and retail businesses

We manage the careers of executives whose know-how and commercial acumen steer the strategic direction for companies to thrive.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to operate in dynamic and entrepreneurial environments.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

You can also subscribe to BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast by visiting Apple Podcasts

Looking for support in Leadership Effectiveness? Speak to our sister company led by Kate Thomas

Focused on Assessment | Executive Coaching | Wellbeing Solutions – Internationally