Between the changes brought about by the pandemic and subsequent economic turmoil, and the effects of technology on business, we are seeing an evolving C suite. From smaller companies holding off on hiring at the C level to creating new C-suite roles, there is no shortage of change at the most senior level of organizations.
Korn Ferry recently reported on survey findings about which roles are filled at the C level.
- 62% of Fortune 500 companies don’t have a Chief Human Resources Officer
- 60% don’t have a Chief Operating Officer
- 20% of US firms don’t have a Chief Marketing Officer
- 10% don’t have a Chief Financial Officer
- 7% don’t have a Chief Legal Officer
- Less than 1% don’t have a Chief Executive Officer
They found that a company’s financial structure determines its hiring roles. For example, private equity financed companies will typically prioritize a CFO. Whereas early stage venture capital backed companies place less emphasis on CFOs as they are accustomed to handling it directly or outsourcing it to a fractional CFO.
Unsurprisingly, smaller companies are more selective in hiring C-suite roles as they can’t afford to hire a full complement of officers. Some of these companies take advantage of fractional C-suite roles as a bridge to the growth required to hire full-time roles.
As companies grow, they must look beyond the traditional C-level roles. Technology is creating new roles for companies to consider. Worklife outlines research findings from The Future Laboratory and Qlik. Here are a couple of the new C-suite roles companies are hiring.
Chief Metaverse Officer
The research indicated that 85% of C-suite respondents believe they will need to hire a Chief Metaverse Officer in the near future. As a new and not fully understood technology, having someone guide the company through education and adoption will be necessary. Disney is one company that has already hired for this position. Though some don’t believe the role will be necessary, comparing it to the internet and the fact that we don’t see Chief Internet Officers.
Chief Automation Officer
As AI takes on a larger role, there will be a need to oversee technology integration and people to optimize business processes. According to Leslie Joseph, Principal Analyst at Forrester, “Automation is becoming a lot more core to digital transformation, rather than four or five years ago when most people were looking at automation as let’s save some money, let’s cut some heads, cut some operational expenses. Whereas now, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, one of the big trends I’m seeing is that the conversation shifted to address business continuity, and from there it became almost overnight a C-suite topic.”
Beyond these two roles, the coming decade may bring other new C-suite opportunities. A Chief Collaboration Officer to help departments work better together and reduce silos. A Chief Betterment Officer to focus on employee development, reskilling, and upskilling for employees. According to Strategic Foresight Editor at The Future Laboratory, Adam Steel, “Each of the roles we’re talking about are all issues that we agree upon as a society and as businesses usually, but it’s all about who is responsible for that transformation. Generally the benefit of the C-suite is more often than not, you kind of sit across different verticals, and as a result of that, you can break down silos and you can align people in different teams.”
As technology continues to redefine the workplace, today’s executives need to understand how changes will affect the workforce of tomorrow. The mix of technology and empathy will be critical to developing a positive work culture. Gartner highlights four issues for the C-suite today: people, purpose, prices, and productivity. According to Steel, “As a society, we’ve had an opportunity to reconsider the purpose of work, why we work and what we want from the world, and that’s being reflected in the C-suite.”