Press Release: ON Partners 2023 Variance Report Validates CEO & C-Suite Pay Disparities Grow with Company Size

Dec 13, 2023

ON Partners announces 58% increase for executive recruitment in Midwest region


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CLEVELAND, OH.: Dec. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ON Partners, a pure-play retained executive search firm building diverse C-level and board leadership teams, published its 2023 Variance Report.  In anticipation of the new year, the report, which was developed by ON Partners’ proprietary data tools, provides boards and senior leadership teams with C-suite compensation projections, as well as recruitment trends as we move into 2024.  The report delves into major shifts impacting the business world, including average compensation rates by company size, geo-market hiring demand, and industry sectors experiencing the greatest shifts in talent management strategies.

“This year’s Variance Report leverages transparency and data innovation, specifically as it relates to overall compensation for the executive marketplace,” said Tim Conti, Co-President of ON Partners.  “Through our research, we were able to confirm trends in CEO and C-suite compensation and a rise in executive recruitment in Middle America.”

The report concluded that as a company’s size doubles, C-level positions increase in total median compensation expectations by an average of 11%.  As the company size increases, CEOs experience a 21% average increase through each incremental change.  This amounted to an acceleration from about 13% to over 40% in compensation as the company grew.  On the contrary, C-Suite positions such as chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), chief human resources officer (CHRO), President, chief revenue officer (CRO), chief strategy officer (CSO), chief information technology officer (CITO), and general manager (GM) only experienced linear growth trends.

{Related Article: 2023 Variance Report: Executive Hiring Trends Reshaping 2024}

Historically, in the late 20th century, due to a heightened emphasis on maximizing shareholder value, a change was made to how CEOs were compensated.  The association of executive pay in combination with stock performance further enticed CEOs to increase share prices, resulting in substantial paychecks when they were able to succeed.  While other phenomena have proven to contribute to the salary of CEOs, factors such as company performance, industry norms, the scope as well as complexity of the role, and peer comparison each play an active part in the final decision for a CEO’s salary.

“As companies have navigated a complex terrain this year, evaluating strategic decisions amidst market fluctuations and geopolitical challenges, the majority of executive hiring momentum is occurring in Middle America,” continued Conti.  “Executive recruitment has notably increased by over 58% in the Midwest region over the past two years, which has surpassed the figures from the preceding two-year period.  This notable shift is particularly pronounced in Illinois and Ohio.”

In fact, recent Business Insider research confirmed that tech and innovation companies specifically were thriving in Middle America.  ON Partners data further validates this finding, attributing the shift to several factors such as favorable economic conditions, business-friendly policies, and a skilled workforce. Texas specifically has spearheaded a 10% uptick in executive leadership placements during the same period over the past two years, while Georgia and North Carolina collectively witnessed a substantial 33% increase in executive hiring.

{Related Article: 2023 Talent Intelligence Report}

ON is strategically developing further AI-enabled predictive analytics to enhance the firm’s ability to forecast future talent success and increase efficiency in executive candidate assessment and sourcing.  This will be done while continuing to leverage the skillset and expertise of all partners to drive AI technological advancements within the industry and create more inclusive, efficient, and predictive data.

To learn more about ON’s approach and additional findings within this year’s Variance Report, visit


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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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