CHROs Wanted in 2015

News Updates

Chief human resource officer (CHRO) will be one of the most in-demand executive positions for 2015, according to a new report from recruiting consultants Korn Ferry. 
Companies will also be searching for senior leaders in the cybersecurity, digital and innovation arenas. The hottest sector overall for executives looking for new opportunities will be in health care.

Korn Ferry based its predictions on a poll of senior executive search consultants conducted in October and November 2014, findings on executive search requests from around the world, and an analysis by its senior search consultants. The list of hot jobs, which is in no particular order, spans all industries.

“These positions are in high demand because they represent four underlying global business trends: the need to increase revenue growth, heightened awareness and greater vigilance surrounding issues of privacy and security, the need to create deep engagement with customers, and finally, major changes in the health care industry,” said Korn Ferry’s Executive Chairman of the Americas Bob Damon.

Can HR Get Leaders Ready for New Challenges?

But while HR will be asked to play a critical role in helping companies find executives to meet evolving business goals, another report reveals the profession may not be up to the task.

HR is currently “focusing heavily on two skills that they are not rating as critical for the future: building consensus and commitment, and communicating and interacting with others,” according to Development Dimensions International’s Global Leadership Forecast, Ready-Now Leaders: Meeting Tomorrow’s Business Challenges . The talent management consultancy states that “only one in three organizations currently is focused on developing their leaders’ ability to foster innovation; only one in five is emphasizing development in global leadership. Though both skills are critical, HR hasn’t implemented development initiatives that focus on them.”

Hot Job Titles for 2015

Nevertheless, Korn Ferry’s Damon said “We expect demand for ... C-level positions to continue to grow, largely because they are being filled in a broad cross section of industries. For example, you will find demand for a chief innovation officer not just in the technology sector, but in areas like manufacturing, health care, retail, consumer goods, finance and pretty much every industry worldwide.”

Here are Korn Ferry’s “Top 15 for 2015”:

  • Chief commercial (revenue) officer.
  • Chief cybersecurity officer.
  • Chief digital officer.
  • Chief executive officer.
  • Chief human resource officer.
  • Chief information officer.
  • Chief innovation officer.
  • Chief marketing officer.
  • Chief medical officer.
  • Chief operating officer, energy.
  • Chief operating officer, manufacturing.
  • Chief risk officer.
  • Chief sustainability officer.
  • Chief technology officer.
  • Executive director of development/funding.

In addition, between Nov. 10-18, Korn Ferry conducted a separate survey of 367 executives, asking in which sectors executive positions would be most in demand in 2015.

The answers?

Health care—29 percent.

New media/social media—20 percent.

Cybersecurity/risk management—18 percent.

Energy—19 percent.

Sales, marketing, development—14 percent.


Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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