2017 Executive Search Salary Survey & Employment Overview

Shay Dalton / January 20, 2017


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Executive Search Market Overview

2016 showed a continued steady increase in all CxO positions, especially CEO, COO and CTO positions. The continuing digital revolution has continued to propel senior IT professionals into Board positions as IT strategy remains mission critical for many organisations.

With increasing growth and expansion in most sectors, there has been more movement in CxO positions, as well as organisations strengthening their CxO teams. This is due to both an increase in staff numbers, as well as a willingness to give a profile to certain sectors of the business, e.g. IT.

2016 saw higher levels of FDI, increased economic growth and general cautious optimism across all sectors. During the year, the whole world was economically and politically beset by surprises and turbulence, the largest being Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections. However, the respective economies of Ireland, UK and USA have come through this period in relatively rude health and this looks likely to continue into Q117.

Executives across all professional services remain positive but cautious for 2017. Confidence is an important driver in the CxO market and organisations, in general, feel they will experience growth in 2017, which will have a positive impact on hiring decisions. In this climate, organisations have reported to us they expect to invest in both new and replacement hires, and be more aggressive in terms of retention plans. This was also reflected in our research with 72% of the Executive level professionals we surveyed feeling somewhat confident in the future of the Irish economy in 2017.

Salaries & Compensation

Executives are starting to see remuneration levels that have not been seen since pre-2008, especially in terms of variable pay, and this creates an environment where senior professionals will be active on the market in 2017. 70% of executives we surveyed received a pay increase in the last two years. Bonuses are also making a comeback with 60% of executive’s surveyed receiving a bonus this year.
From our research, over 65% of organisations feel that they will increase executive salaries and bonuses in 2017, with the variable pay element of a remuneration package firmly back in vogue, while 68% of executives say their companies are focusing more on executive retention now than they did last year.

For breakdown of salaries in this sector please click here

Growth Sectors for 2017

According to our research, executives see Management-Level opportunities as high growth areas in 2017: the leading three were Technology, Professional Services (including Financial Services) and Building Services. Life Sciences also continue to be a strong growth area but dropped back slightly from 2016. From a regional perspective, the location of choice for the majority of these roles will be Dublin and the greater Dublin, with the rest mainly resting in Munster, and to a lesser degree, the other provinces.

Executives are starting to see remuneration levels that have not been seen since pre-2008 and this creates an environment where senior professionals will be active on the market in 2017.

Predictions for the Future

As companies move towards a scalable, profitable growth trajectory and away from recovery, their Senior Executives will prove increasingly important. The selection and retention of a CEO, CFO, HR Director or Partner has a profound impact on a company’s strategy, its execution and, ultimately, its business and financial performance.

As a result, companies require a higher quality of leadership, someone who can rise through this change and work effectively under ever-increasing challenges and pressures. Companies seek executives that are agile, strategic, entrepreneurial and capable of managing increasing complexities and have the international exposure to drive business forward.

To view the full survey results please click here.

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