Welcome to your quarterly update on the Strategy market, where we provide you with insights from the previous and upcoming quarters.
What are your candidates asking for in their next role?
From a candidate's perspective, the foundations of a strategy team remain constant: a strong leader, a proven career path, and exposure to senior executives reign supreme as the hallmarks of a desirable function.
Businesses in an accelerated growth phase - particularly those backed by PE or venture capital - continue to attract top talent, and we’ve seen a shift away from stable-but-slow career pathways, to those teams which lead down a path towards global mobility, P&L ownership, and line management.
What are your clients asking for in their next hire?
Diversity, as always, dominates the hiring conversation. This isn’t limited to gender or ethnic diversity, but spans various age ranges, backgrounds, and thinking styles. The most successful and attractive large strategy teams blend candidates with different professional experiences, meaning they can lend expertise across a broad range of projects and types of work. For example, taking on an investment banker, a top-tier strategy consultant, an engineer, an economist or financial analyst, and perhaps a project manager or transformation guru.
Delivery or implementation experience is also being viewed favourable, particularly in the realm of new technologies such as AI.
What challenges have your industries been facing?
The Royal Commission is an obvious disruptor in financial services, delivering increased volatility, job uncertainty and cultural malaise in some of the teams across banks, insurers, and wealth management businesses.
Energy and telecommunications organisations could be next, so these organisations are battening down certain hatches, while simultaneously growing capabilities around customer experience, organic growth and digital innovation.
Within retail and consumer, the threat from offshore e-commerce businesses definitely pose as a threat, so supply chain optimisation and innovation within this area in particular is key.
While the journey for many of Australia’s largest businesses in 2018 has been challenging, this has created a huge amount of opportunity for individuals to be part of a journey that will fundamentally change the experience for customers across Australia for the better.
What skills and/or qualifications are proving in demand?
In line with previous years, more than 50% of senior mandates this year had a preference for candidates coming out of top tier consulting firm (i.e. McKinsey, Bain or BCG). Top tier consulting experience remains the most straightforward pathway to corporate strategy roles, regardless of industry.
Outside of this, we have seen a huge uptake in preference for experience in design thinking, human centred design, customer experience and lean methodologies. As the larger consulting firms pour resources into advanced analytics practices, so too do industry clients pay a high premium for strategy professionals who are data literate. These highly prized individuals are utilised as ‘translators’ for technical data concepts, turning them into actionable business insights and using them to formulate long term growth and customer strategy plans.
What changes do you see on the horizon for 2019?
We expect 2019 to be the year of AI and robotics. Candidates/clients who have already started to build capabilities in this area will find themselves ahead of the curve, and poised for success in the new year.
Strategy teams will be driven to focus on risk and governance like never before and we expect a renewed push on culture from our leading clients across all sectors as they battle to win the best talent.
Organisations which foster an environment of growth and dynamism will win the day, and those that really appeal to the wider market will package their various functions as ‘start-up’ or separate, high growth engines.
Top roles in demand in Strategy
- Strategy Consultant
- Senior Strategy Manager
- General Manager Strategy