BIE Executive Director, Finance, Alex Hyde, recently spoke to The Treasurer magazine about the senior finance job market, where opportunities have presented themselves, what the challenges have been and he shared some predictions for what's to come.
Read the article below or visit The Treasurer magazine website.
Finance leadership roles, including group treasurer roles, should increase markedly in the near term.
If 2020 was about survival, 2021 has been about ensuring businesses have strong foundations combined with the agility to adapt to uncertain and fast-changing circumstances.
While there aren’t many remaining superlatives that haven’t been exhausted when describing the past 18 months, it has been extraordinary to see how quickly organisations and their people adapted to such unprecedented change. I believe this should give us great encouragement for the future and the career opportunities that will present themselves to future leaders as conditions continue to stabilise.
It was remarkable how quickly organisations became comfortable making senior appointments online, and this can be seen in the number of changes at CEO and CFO level in large FTSE-listed businesses. In the six months to the end of February, there were more than 50 changes of CEO or CFO, and in some cases both, in the highest-ranked FTSE 200 companies. Tesco was one of those who made changes of both, with Ken Murphy of Walgreens Boots Alliance taking the reins from Dave Lewis and Imran Nawaz, joining from Tate & Lyle, replacing Alan Stewart.
Typically, this large-scale shake-up would trigger the creation of numerous opportunities as new leaders arrive with mandates for change. Despite the number of changes at the top, we are not seeing as much movement in the market as one would expect, but there have been some high-profile treasury moves in 2021.
Companies hiring new leaders into their treasury teams include RB, BT, BP, Ocado, Drax and Dr Martens, and in a ‘normal’ year, this wouldn’t be far off the number of hires we’d expect to see. However, given the scale of leadership change further up organisational structures, the number of group treasurer roles coming to market feels light.
So, why aren’t we seeing more opportunities for group treasurers and their peers? While organisations have become more comfortable making leadership appointments remotely, or have had to through necessity, a high number of new to role CEOs and CFOs have not been in their organisations long enough to start driving change.
Typically, CEOs and CFOs will spend six months getting to know their new businesses and management teams before making changes, but crucially the impact of COVID-19 has added an initial delay. During the time when CEOs and CFOs would usually have been travelling around the world familiarising themselves with the business and its people, they’ve been stuck behind screens. As we can all agree, virtual meetings have been great for some aspects of our jobs, but it just isn’t the same as meeting in the real world, and this has made driving significant people change problematic.