By Anthony Balderrama
May 5, 2012
The corner office isn’t where most of us sit (if we get to sit at all on the job). For the average worker, senior leadership positions are difficult to come by and something you spend much of your career working toward. That is if you even want a leadership role — not everyone strives for the responsibility and headaches that come with the position. But for those workers hoping to land an executive role, the outlook is brighter today than it was six months ago.
In the coming six months, 31 percent of employers plan to hire for executive-level positions, finds a new survey from CareerBuilder and Headhunter.com. This is 6 percent higher than the same survey found in October 2011.
What employers want in senior leaders
Not surprisingly, employers are looking for executives to fill roles where opportunities to expand the business and increase revenue are primary goals. Business development leads the list of in-demand executives, with 24 percent of employers looking to fill those roles. Following close behind are information technology with 23 percent, sales with 22 percent, and both marketing and accounting/finance at 19 percent.
Each of these areas of concentration has the potential to drive revenue, improve operations or attract more customers. For these high-level employees who are possibly earning substantial paychecks, finding new ways to increase profits is a logical focus. Yet employers aren’t only looking for people who can directly make money. They want people who can keep day-to-day operations moving smoothly. After all, a productive and happy workplace is one way to ensure business grows.
When asked what qualities they look for in an executive-level candidate, only 20 percent of employers cited an MBA or similar level of higher education. Relevant experience was a prerequisite for most hiring managers, but 35 percent did say that they are open to candidates who have no background in the industry.
Soft skills matter, too
Although experience and education are important to a role, hiring managers might look beyond those factors because they know a good leader needs some of the soft skills that you can’t see on paper. When evaluating characteristics of potential executives, hiring managers say they want someone: