Executive Recruiters Get Back To Business

Apr 19, 2021

As business is returning to levels pre-pandemic, ON Partners is seeing the need for executive leadership to hire talent quickly and decisively

Published in Hunt Scanlon Media – Executive recruiters spent the better part of last year resetting expectations – the result of an unprecedented, and completely unexpected, interruption to their business due to COVID-19. But according to search professionals across the spectrum, that disruption has now receded, and business is returning to levels not seen since the waning days of 2019 and the first two months of 2020. It is a significant turnaround for a sector that had put itself on pause last spring.

Truth be told, the search industry generally is poised for greater things ahead. Many recruitment leaders are rife with optimism. Every recruiter seems to want to discuss one thing: the pent-up demand for great business leaders. That, along with the move to hybrid work, workplace flexibility, and a big focus on DE&I and the importance of culture, is making 2021 an adventure in its own right.

ON Partners’ executive search partners Jake Espenlaub and Tindall Sewell weigh in on the topic of the rise of demand for executive search post-pandemic here:

Partner Jake Espenlaub said the market is as active as ON Partners has ever seen it. “Growth and private equity funds have continued to deploy capital at record-setting levels, and as a result it’s never been harder to acquire tier-one talent,” he said.


“The companies that are hiring leading executives are getting creative, moving quickly and decisively, and stretching on compensation.” The year ahead, he adds, looks bright. “Throughout the tech sector, we don’t expect a slowdown,” said Mr. Espenlaub. “Outside of certain verticals, SaaS and E-commerce businesses continue to thrive.”

Tindall Sewell, also a partner at ON Partners, agreed that technology recruiting is in high demand. “Private equity firms are deploying capital like we’ve never seen before, and the need for key executives to lead these companies are crucial. 2020 was a year of ‘not rocking the boat,’” she said. “The pace of searches has also picked up given the use of video.”


“We are not seeing any signs of slowed growth for 2021 and beyond,” Ms. Sewell said. “Companies like Uber, Slack and Cloudera began after the 2008 recession, so I bet new companies will continue to build and innovate as the world adjusts to remote work and a post-pandemic era.” For the year ahead, Ms. Swell expects to see growth in roles like revenue operations. “As companies continue to scale,” she said, “key executives will be needed to make sure the operations keep up with growth across the go-to-market functions.” Search firms will continue to scale as a result.

Late in 2020, with COVID-19 upending the business landscape, we surveyed our consultants about the positions that will be critical to helping organizations survive and thrive in 2021.  Read our top 10 list of executive roles in demand post-pandemic.

See the full article published in Hunt Scanlon Media here.

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About ON Partners

Since 2006, ON Partners is the only pure-play executive search firm building diverse C-level and board leadership teams. We rebuilt the institution of executive search for the way you work. Our approach includes present partners who engage with their clients from the first brief to the final decision, individually crafted solutions that are unique to each client, and an easier experience all around. Named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms and to the Inc. 500/5000 Lists nine times, ON Partners is consistently ranked among the top 20 retained executive search firms in the U.S.

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