CXOs in demand in non-tech sector despite headwinds

CXOs in demand in non-tech sector despite headwinds

Demand for CXOs in non-tech industries continues unabated – despite global macroeconomic headwinds, fears of recession and uncertainties around future Covid waves – as companies in India continue to look out for top talent who can steer their businesses into newer growth areas, said leading executive search consultants.

There was a 20-25% increase in top leadership mandates from large conglomerates and traditional Indian companies in sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, infrastructure, electric vehicles, metals, cement, chemicals, fast-moving consumer goods and retail in the October-December quarter compared with the previous two quarters of financial year 2023, said leading executive search companies.

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Experts said the hiring momentum at the top management level – seen in the last three months of 2022 – would continue in 2023, driven by government measures to boost the infrastructure sector, companies’ capacity expansion and investment into digital and new business areas as well as an acute talent crunch, despite a general caution in hiring across the ranks amid lengthening geopolitical tension, accelerating inflation and growth concerns.


“While there are fears about recession, rising inflation and interest rate looming in the background, companies are taking an approach towards future preparedness when it comes to leadership hiring,” said K Sudarshan, managing director, India at EMA Partners.

The government’s push to manufacturing and infrastructure, as well as the China-plus strategy of global companies will boost manufacturing in India. As a result, companies need a solid pipeline of leaders, the shortage of which could impede growth, said Sudarshan, who is also regional chair, Asia, at the executive search firm.

EMA Partners has seen a 25% increase in the mandate in the last three months of 2022, compared with the previous two quarters, and expects this pickup in momentum to continue into the New Year.

“We see sustained action in the sectors of manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure. In fact, there is growth of about 15% year-on-year in these sectors,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, chief executive at Ciel HR Services. “We think that for 2023, this growth will be sustained due to the government’s actions of boosting the infrastructure segment. We see sustained action in EV and renewable space as well,” he added.

However, there is a moderation in senior level hiring in the technology sector that is facing the brunt of global demand squeeze and at startups that are trudging through a funding winter.

“CXO hiring in tech, particularly in IT products and startups, has gone down in the October-December quarter by about 25% due to the global developments,” said Mishra. “We think this will show signs of recovery in January-March 2023 and get better in April-September because companies will restart thinking for the longer term and make investments to fulfil future goals.”

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Author: Shirley