On-demand Executive Talent Market Trends

Aug 24, 2021
On-demand Executive Talent Market Trends

Now that Bolster has successfully matched over 100 executives to open roles, we have a lot of data about on-demand executive searches done by the startup and scaleup companies we work with. Below are insights into the market trends and why we think they are here to stay.

As we’ve written previously on the 10 Scenarios Where On-Demand Executives Work Best we look at 4 categories of “on-demand” executive work:

  • Interim: Someone fully dedicated to working with a company, but only temporarily
  • Fractional: Someone who works a few days a week on a longer-term basis
  • Mentoring, Coaching, and Advising: Someone who offers advice or coaching on an ongoing basis
  • Project-based Work: Someone who completes a fixed scope of work

#1 The CEO Coach

  • CEO Coach is the #1 role we’ve placed to date.
  • In a prior post, Bolster CEO, Matt Blumberg, talked about the different types of CEO coaches and the spectrum ranging from “Quasi-Psychiatrist” (type 1) on one end, to “Quasi-Management Consultant” (type 5) on the other end. CEOs are most interested in “type 3” and “type 5” coaches. In other words, tactical coaches to help them scale themselves and their companies.
  • Why we think this is here to stay: As more businesses start and continue to scale, CEOs will look to sharpen their skills and be prepared for the next stage of growth and unknowns. More CEOs we work with have a growth mindset, and realize that, in order to scale themselves with their companies, they need a coach and/or mentor to help guide them.

#2 The Independent Board Director

  • Independent board seats are being leveraged to build more effective and diverse boards.
  • As part of our Board Benchmark Study released earlier this year, we found that 50% of the 200+ CEOs surveyed had an open board seat, many of which were for independents.
  • We found that women are three times as likely to hold independent director seats (compared to management or investor seats).
  • Only 32% of private company boards we surveyed had independent directors, half of their boards had open independent director seats they expect to fill in the next 12 months.
  • Why we think this is here to stay: We found that most private company boards surveyed didn’t have independent directors until the Series C financing round or later. By this point, a company without a diverse board has likely missed out on years’ worth of feedback on decisions relating to product, audience, and employee recruitment. Starting out with a diverse board, even as early as the Seed Stage financing round, can maximize your impact and improve board performance.

#3 The Fractional CMO, CRO and CFO

  • Fractional work is the most popular work type searched for by our clients.
  • Historically, fractional work has been common in the Finance and Accounting function but is starting to be leveraged across more and more functional areas.
  • Within fractional work, companies are most interested in leveraging fractional CMOs, followed by CFOs, then CRO and CHROs.
  • CMOs are in high demand and help startups punch above their weight class - clients are leveraging CMOs on a fractional basis most frequently, followed by interim, advisory, then project based.
  • We heard this from a CEO when talking about fractional talent “At this stage, we couldn’t afford someone with XYZ’s experience on a full time basis, so we get the benefit of their experience at a lower price and their value to strategic conversations”
  • Why we think this is here to stay: As future of work trends have indicated, we’re in the midst of a major talent reshuffling. Employees are considering much more than just compensation for their profession and value things like benefits and flexibility as well as more intangible aspects like fulfillment and belonging that coincide with on-demand work engagements. Employers are becoming more open minded to remote employees as “work from anywhere” has become commonplace.

If you’re a startup or scaleup company that could leverage on-demand executive talent, sign up for a client account to browse our marketplace of 5,000+ executive members, or talk with our client team about current executive talent needs.

-Micah Mador, August 24, 2021