A New Dawn – the Recruitment Challenges Being Faced by CFOs

London, UK — (SBWIRE) — 04/15/2022 — We might be in a ‘post-covid’ era (as it is being defined by some) but adjustment and ongoing adaptability are going to be key factors for CFOs going forward. Challenges remain, whether they relate to skills shortages or meeting expectations around ESG standards. However, prosperity and performance look set to continue an upward trajectory with recovery from the pandemic, not just proceeding well, but exceeding what was achievable before COVID-19. While recruitment challenges persist, the positive light of a new dawn looks likely.

Labour and skills shortages are a major challenge across industries

Our own research as C suite recruiters has established this as a key area of concern, as 92% of the CFOs that we spoke to were worried about a persistent lack of talent and skills shortages. In fact, talent retention was up there among the top business challenges for 2022. Although these concerns are cross-industry and global in nature, as C suite recruiters we have found that there are some that are more affected than others. For example, 39% of finance leaders are very concerned about labour shortages and a further 53% are somewhat concerned. North America seems to be an area of particular vulnerability, as 63% of finance leaders there are very concerned about a lack of talent.

ESG also matters
ESG concerns are also among some of the key challenges being faced by CFOs, especially when it comes to the increasing pressure for transparency being applied by investors and shareholders. 73% of CFOs are either somewhat or very concerned about climate change and climate transition, especially in sectors such as banking and asset management. From available budgets for hiring to brand perception in attracting talent during a skills shortage, ESG issues have broad relevance.

Overcoming the major challenges
Given the vital importance of a strong talent pipeline it’s no surprise that organisations are responding to current challenges by seeking to prioritise, not just talent acquisition, but retention too. It will be a driving force this year among most industries in most locations, ranking above even digital transformation as a key objective for the year. As C suite recruiters we have noticed that the resources that are made available will be key to this. These are – on the whole – being increased. 83% of finance leaders we spoke to said their organisation was either increasing their budget for 2022 or keeping it at the same level as 2021.

Performance is on the up
Given the increase in resources being ring fenced at many organisations, expectations as to performance are also much higher than they have been in previous years. This is supported by existing numbers – 75% of respondents indicated that performance at their organisations had already recovered to pre-pandemic levels or had exceeded this benchmark. Despite the damaging impact of the pandemic, there are signs that many CFOs still have faith in their strategies, especially in areas such as regulatory compliance and financial risk.

Hiring trends for 2022

Looking ahead to 2022 there are some key hiring trends that have emerged from the conversations we’ve had with CFOs as C suite recruiters.
– Remote working remains on the cards for finance teams in 2022 but views have become more polarised than previously. For example, 40% of CFOs would only consider remote candidates if they had a specialised skill set.
– Hiring strategy is also still somewhat remote. 50% of respondents said all hiring was virtual while 34% stated it was an equal mix and 16% had switched back purely to in-person hiring.
– There is some differentiation between industries in terms of remote hires. For example, only 8% of asset management CFOs would consider candidates for remote working compared to 43% of insurance CFOs.
– Headcount is going to increase across the board – only 19% of CFOs expect headcount to decrease this year. The numbers in some areas are much higher than others, for example 65% in asset management expect this and 50% in technology.

2022 is the beginning of a new dawn
Given the upbeat perspectives that perpetuate among CFOs there seems a lot to be positive about in terms of recovery in 2022. 60% are already seeing recovery that exceeds pre-pandemic levels and forecasts are largely bright. The role that the CFO has in guiding an organisation through challenging times, especially when it comes to overcoming issues such as talent shortages, is vital. Leathwaites are C suite recruiters with a wealth of experience in hiring C-suite level candidates across multiple markets and have worked in this area since 1999. In fact, the firm’s CFO practice has been instrumental in 650 permanent assignments and 100 executive interim appointments for FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 financial services clients in that time.

For any media enquiries please contact Gary Elliott at Iconic Digital – 020 7100 0726.

For all other enquiries please contact Leathwaite: +44 207 151 5151

For more information about Leathwaite services, please go to https://www.leathwaite.com.

About Leathwaite
Leathwaite are CFO recruiters, leaders in headhunting recruitment and human capital specialists, delivering an interconnected range of executive search, executive interim and data & insight services. Since establishing the business in 1999, Leathwaite has developed key international client partnerships across a range of industry sectors.

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