The new year has ushered in some hiring trends. But experts are decoding the trends in the senior leadership level in disparate ways.

Sachin Alug, CEO of NLB Services, says, “2024 may mark an uptick of over 14-15% in CXO-level hiring. Subsiding economic tensions may be attributed to a boost in confidence among businesses that are now looking for strategic vision and leadership to spearhead transformation and long-term business goals.”

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While this has a positive tone, some are more wary with their forecast.

Walkwater Talent Advisors, for example, says companies are in wait-and-watch mode. “Some hiring will happen in Q1 as the onboarding for few roles are being pushed to Q1, however, at an overall level, the CXO hiring is expected to remain weak during the first half of the next FY,” says Ashutosh Khanna, CoFounder & Director of Walkwater Talent Advisors.

Roopali Kapoor, Vice President-Technology Practice at Walkwater, says business is expected to get better soon and there would be a pick-up in leadership hiring by the end of Q2 of FY 24-25.

What the trends say

Naukri data on hiring growth trends at this level shows some sectors seeing higher demand. Pharma, BFSI and industrial products are segments where senior leadership requirements are being felt. Education and e-commerce, on the other hand, have seen a reduction in demand for leadership.Growth in sectors in senior leadership hiring

Industry Y-O-Y Growth (%) in Dec ’23
Pharma 60
Industrial Products 29
Auto 21
Management Consulting 12
Construction 12
Real Estate 10
IT 7
Chemicals 5
Healthcare 4
BPO -2
Oil & Gas -9
E-Commerce -20
Education -25

Source: Naukri

Hiring has been active in sales, business development, operations, marketing, finance, accounting, project, program management, administration, production and QA.Larger IT services companies are looking at hiring hands-on talent from mid-sized firms while the mid-sized companies are looking at hiring from larger companies for bigger roles. Also, clients want IT services companies to provide a better mix of local and Indian talent. So companies will look at more hiring of local talent, he says.

Hiring in 2024 will be more value-based than cost-based, says Khanna.

C-suite executives in fast-evolving IT companies will have to embrace the change and evolve from being a traditional leader to a visionary leader who will appreciate changing customer expectations and meet them by bringing in a culture of innovation and digital transformation. Roles in finance, delivery, consulting and program management will be in demand in 2024.

“Many of the new roles will require the leaders to have capability in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and machine learning,” says Khanna. “Companies will hire for roles such as chief AI officer, partner, practice head, delivery head-AI, chief digital officers, CISO, M&A heads and CFOs. Sales leaders who can consult and advise clients on digital transformation will be hired in 2024.”

Alug says C-suite roles are expected to be some of the most sought-after positions in 2024. The roles include chief financial officer, chief technology officer, chief risk officer and chief security officer. He expects sectors such as BFSI, green energy, manufacturing and healthcare to see a spurt in leadership hiring.

Some challenges

The CEO of NLB Services also points out that IT companies had laid off many talents last year due to factors such as global economic fears. In an already skill-oriented talent market, companies are now expected to prioritise both technical and behavioural skills for their hiring endeavours.

Leaders will be expected to bring a long-term vision and a course of action that is agile, dynamic, digital-forward and sustainable.

Khanna says client expectations from IT companies are changing very fast. “We believe that the companies will now mostly hire for new roles instead of replacement. C-suite officials will have to solve for the changing customer expectations and the talent shortage in new-age tech. They will have to solve for training & upskilling employees in technologies relevant today. They will also have to build their own capability in delivering solutions around movement of multiple legacy products to digital space, bringing consulting value to project management,” he adds.


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