Trends and Changes in the C-level Job Market

Apr 8, 2023

As we navigate the post-pandemic world, the C-level and senior leadership job market is experiencing significant trends and changes.

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Companies are looking for leaders who are not only capable of driving growth but also have the skills to navigate the changing business landscape. The C-level job market is likely to continue to evolve rapidly in response to changes in the economy, technology, and society.

The leaders who are most successful in this environment will be those who are adaptable, innovative, and able to anticipate and respond to emerging trends and challenges.

{Related article: Executive hiring predictions to 2023}

One of the most significant trends in the C-level job market is the increasing demand for executives who are skilled in digital transformation. With the pandemic accelerating the adoption of digital technologies, companies are looking for leaders who can leverage these technologies to improve customer experiences, streamline operations, and create new revenue streams.

“Companies should be investing in roles that support transformation and forward thinking in to 2023,” notes partner Lynda Robey. “We’ve learned from other market dips that companies that didn’t simply brace for the changes but actually leaned into transformation during changes came out winners. Readiness for what may come as well as the knowledge that the organization will be stronger for it coming out of any macro impact should be the focus.”

Another trend in the senior leadership job market is the emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Companies are recognizing that diversity in leadership leads to better business outcomes and are actively seeking out candidates from underrepresented groups. Additionally, companies are investing in DEI training and initiatives to create more inclusive workplaces.

Notes Nina McMaster, partner at ON Partners, “The market for diverse talent has become very competitive over the past several years, particularly across IT leadership roles. We’re committed to partnering closely with our clients to continue their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.”


“It is so important for some organizations that I think we will see a shift in mindset where we focus on candidates with transferable skills and core competencies for roles in order to help increase diversity, as opposed to focusing on ‘been there, done that’ types of leaders.”

{Related: Visit our DEI community resources}

The pandemic has also accelerated the trend toward remote work, and many companies are now looking for executives who have experience leading remote teams. Leaders who can manage remote workforces effectively and maintain team cohesion are in high demand.

In addition to these trends, we are also seeing changes in the hiring process for C-level and senior leadership roles. Companies are increasingly using data and analytics to inform their hiring decisions, with a focus on identifying candidates with the right skills and experience.

One trend that is likely to continue is the increasing demand for leaders who can navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing business landscape. The pace of technological change and globalization is accelerating, and businesses are looking for leaders who can anticipate and respond to these challenges.

In addition, sustainability and social responsibility are becoming increasingly important considerations for businesses. Companies are looking for leaders who can drive sustainable growth and address social and environmental challenges.

According to ON’s Heidi Hoffman, “Companies are no longer focused on simply making money. Of course, they want to make money, but underlying their actions is a growing attention to values and global impact. How a company’s leadership approaches and strategizes around these topics indicates their level of responsibility and accountability to the greater ecosystem. ESG and social justice are significant topics of conversation in the supply chain world.”

Finally, the gig economy is growing, and more workers are choosing to work on a freelance or contract basis. This trend is likely to continue, and companies may need to adjust their leadership models to accommodate a more flexible workforce.

{Related article: Executive Women’s Impact Report}

Overall, the C-level and senior leadership job market is evolving rapidly. Companies are looking for leaders who can navigate the complex challenges of the post-pandemic world and drive growth in the digital age. If you are looking to advance your career in this market, it is essential to stay up-to-date with these trends and position yourself as a candidate who can help companies meet these new challenges head-on.

The evolution of C-level executive roles post-pandemic


ON Partners recently published the NEXT Series evaluating the evolution of C-level functional roles in the supply chainESGmarketing, and sales.

Read an excerpt below from volume 3 of our NEXT Series, examining the rising demand for ESG leadership across industries and functions to identify the evolving profile of future ESG executives.

There’s no question that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability concerns have become a major force in the corporate world, and the current level of demand for leaders experienced in ESG is unprecedented. According to investment research firm Morningstar, funds with an ESG focus attracted more than $51 billion in net new funds in 2020 and another roughly $70 billion last year.

Despite the growing pains around ESG and finding leaders who are experienced in the space, it is widely acknowledged that it is here to stay and that its core principles are good for business.

A recent Thomson Reuters article notes that “ESG issues are quickly emerging as cross-disciplinary areas of responsibility of C-level leaders. In fact, chief sustainability officers, chief legal officers (CLOs), and chief financial officers (CFOs) see the most expansion within their corporate functions as the growth of ESG duties begins to impact these roles.”

Notes partner Joe Olson, “We’re seeing ESG leaders coming from all different areas. I’ve recently seen ESG executives come from VP of Internal Audit, Corporate Treasurer, VP of Investor Relations General Counsel, VP Quality and VP of Supply Chain roles.


“The common theme is that these executives are strong business partners who can execute ‘non-revenue’ projects across an entire organization. These are challenging roles and it’s a natural opportunity for senior leaders who enjoys the internal operations of a business and are passionate about sustainability to come in and really influence the future course of global commerce.”

Adds partner Sean Cantarella, “A Google search of the company around their values and what they are doing and saying – or not – is important to candidates. People care a lot about the club they are joining. How a business markets themselves on social issues will be indicative of the talent they will be able to obtain.”

How to recruit top C-level executives


Recruiting top C-level executives can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Here are some tips from our executive search experts to increase your chances of successfully recruiting top C-level executives, along with the clear benefits of utilizing ON Partners and executive search services to maximize your results and time.

  1. Develop a clear and compelling job description: A well-crafted job description is critical to attracting top C-level executives. It should provide a clear understanding of the role, responsibilities, and qualifications required for the position.
  2. Use multiple recruiting channels: Top C-level executives are often not actively looking for new opportunities. So, it’s essential to use multiple recruiting channels, such as online job boards, professional networks, and industry events, to reach a broader pool of potential candidates.
  3. Leverage your network: Reach out to your professional network, including current and former colleagues, industry experts, and business partners, to seek referrals and recommendations. Top C-level executives often prefer opportunities that come through their trusted contacts.
  4. Offer an attractive compensation package: C-level executives are usually well-compensated, and they expect competitive compensation packages that align with their experience and qualifications. You may also consider offering other perks, such as equity, bonuses, and flexible work arrangements.
  5. Conduct thorough interviews and assessments: During the interview process, evaluate the candidate’s skills, experience, and cultural fit with your organization. You may also consider conducting assessments, such as personality and leadership tests, to gain deeper insights into the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Communicate your vision and values: Top C-level executives are often attracted to organizations with a clear vision and strong values. So, be sure to communicate your organization’s vision, mission, and values during the interview process to attract candidates who share your organization’s philosophy.
  7. Move quickly: Top C-level executives are in high demand, and the recruitment process can be lengthy. Move quickly to avoid losing qualified candidates to competitors or other opportunities.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of successfully recruiting top C-level executives who will help drive your organization’s growth and success.

Learn more about building diverse executive leadership teams.

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What makes ON Partners different from other executive recruiting firms?


ON Partners is a pure-play leading executive search firm with a track record of successfully recruiting top C-level and board executives for companies across various industries.

The company was founded in 2006 with a mission to rebuild executive search to make it an easier, better experience for clients and candidates and the way they work. Here are some of the benefits of using the ON Partners approach for executive search:

  1. Present partners: Our partners are present during all phases of your search – from the first brief to the final decision. Think of our partners as a team of MVPs who are free to build their own portfolios and team up to give you the best combination of marketplace expertise, prioritized consulting, and a wider range of candidate networks. We don’t hand our clients off to junior staff to execute. We don’t believe in quotas and we don’t impose limits on who our partners can work with. So when you come on board, your partner and team are fully committed to your search. Start to finish.
  2. Crafted solutions: Our recommendations are sometimes unexpected. In the best possible way. Rather than just letting an algorithm or past playbooks tell us which candidates are a good match, our partners consider a 360-degree view of your company. This includes where your company is today and where it is heading, your company culture, and the intangibles that are common to successful leaders at your company. In addition, we get to know your company so well that we can position it in a way that attracts the right candidates. We are your storytellers in the market, which is key to finding a candidate who will succeed at – and stay with – your company.
  3. Easier experience: Your time is valuable and your business shouldn’t have to wait. We got rid of playbooks, outdated practices, and unnecessary layers such as long contract processes and the result is simple: an easier executive search. Faster too.

To learn more about partnering with our executive search firm, meet our executive search consultants.

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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.

Untraditional by Choice. Original by Design. Since 2006.


If you want to create a new path – ON Partners knows how to help you get there.