2023 Variance Report: Executive Hiring Trends Reshaping 2024

Dec 11, 2023

Leveraging transparency and data, ON Partners anticipates four shifting leadership trends that will resonate in tomorrow’s boardrooms.


2023 Variance Report

The realm of executive hiring is experiencing a paradigm shift, with notable trends emerging that redefine the recruitment landscape. In the 2023 Variance Report, ON Partners explores four executive hiring trends of 2023 that indicate talent demand strategies of the future. The four executive hiring shifts explored in the report include:

01. Middle America Ignites: A Renaissance in the HeartlandBusiness Insider recently reported Middle America is increasingly becoming a competitive and attractive destination for tech and innovation. Our search data agrees.

02. Payday Revolution: Unveiling Compensation Disparities – Companies in 2023 navigated a complex terrain, evaluating strategic decisions amidst market fluctuations and geopolitical challenges. What has the impact been on executive compensation trends?

03: Calculated Moves in Human Capital Reshape PE Dynamics – A new talent strategy is needed for private equity, as highlighted by a recent article in the Harvard Business Journal. ON data from PE executive hiring in 2023 offers valuable insights into this topic.

04: Power Surge: New Talent Landscape in Energy and Cleantech– As the industry continues to evolve, the talent strategies in the energy and cleantech sectors have changed according to the U.S. Energy Report. ON data confirms the shift in executive hiring.

2023 Variance Report: Executive Hiring Trends Reshaping 2024 – Published by ON Partners

Short on time? Here’s a quick snapshot of report findings.


The 2023 Variance Report covers four major trend shifts in executive hiring moving into 2024. Trends include:

01. Middle America Ignites: A Renaissance in the HeartlandThe recent Business Insider article highlights the burgeoning trend of tech and innovation companies thriving in Middle America. This shift signifies a departure from the traditional tech hubs on the coasts.

The growth can be attributed to several factors, including favorable economic conditions, business-friendly policies, and a skilled workforce.

Executive recruitment has notably surged by 58% in the Midwest region over the past two years, according to ON Partners’ search data, surpassing the figures from the preceding two-year period. This notable shift is particularly pronounced in Illinois (IL) and Ohio (OH).

Texas (TX) has spearheaded a 10% uptick in executive leadership placements during the same period, while Georgia (GA) and North Carolina (NC) collectively witnessed a substantial 33% increase in executive hiring.

02. Payday Revolution: Unveiling Compensation Disparities –  In executive hiring, the top question is often about compensation expectations. ON data for 2023 discloses average compensation ranges for C-suite leaders, depending on the organization’s current size.

As the company size doubles C-level positions increase in total median comp expectations by an average of 11%. The CEO role rises in compensation at a higher % rate than any other C-level position.

03: Calculated Moves in Human Capital Reshape PE Dynamics Harvard Business Journal highlighted the evolving challenges facing private equity (PE) firms, emphasizing the increasing importance of effective leadership.

Historically, PE firms focused on financial engineering, often neglecting the development of leadership capabilities. Several factors, including a decline in attractive acquisition targets, rising interest rates, and longer investment hold times, have led to a shift in talent expectations and management.

Thus, the operational value creation has become more crucial than financial engineering, and PE executives recognize the significance of leadership effectiveness. A qualitative shift in the qualities sought in executives, with a growing emphasis on managing, motivating, inspiring, authenticity, credibility, emotional intelligence, and people skills.

YoY ON data shows an increase in PE-backed searches by 70%+ in the last two years, but also an elongated time of executive search completion.

Identifying and ranking qualitative skillsets and experience for PE candidates is time-consuming, often creating a longer search process for talent.

In response to the evolving landscape of PE talent, ON is set to launch a new AI-enabled candidate sourcing and assessment product in early 2024. This innovative solution is informed by millions of data points within our network, facilitating candidate identification based on pertinent skills, experiences, and relevant events.

04: Power Surge: New Talent Landscape in Energy and Cleantech As the industry continues to evolve, the talent strategies in the energy and cleantech sectors have changed according to the latest U.S. Energy Report.

The changing landscape of human capital talent strategies in the sector can be attributed to several factors including growing industry complexity, demand for specialized skills, innovation and technological advancements, increasing emphasis on sustainability, and the ongoing transition from traditional energy sources to renewable and clean energy.

Every technology category in the energy sector, according to the report, saw employment growth in 2022. And with significant federal investments across several categories of the sector, the talent pool will continue to expand and shift, thus driving new expectations for executive leaders in the space.

When comparing the timing of federal investments and talent expansion within the energy and cleantech sectors, ON data illustrates a 111% increase in executive hiring within the sector over the last three years.

2023 Variance Report

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2023 Variance Report Feedback

Like our reports? Download the 2023 Talent Intelligence Report.


Step into the future of talent intelligence, where transparency and realism take center stage. As non-conformists in the executive hiring domain, we unravel the intricate relationship between bias and reality in talent intelligence. In the 2023 Talent Intelligence Report, we open up our data innovation and research, offering you a fresh perspective on executive hiring.

Download the 2023 Talent Intelligence Report.

The pulse of any organization lies in its talent, and our mission is to empower leaders with real-time, impartial insights for visionary & informed decision-making. We hope our insights help you challenge the traditional norms and navigate the complexities of talent acquisition with confidence and clarity.

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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