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David vs Goliath in the War for Talent

David vs Goliath in the War for Talent

A Paradigm Shift

The year 2020-21 will go down in history as an important time for many reasons in many contexts. On the enterprise front, the swing from panic shutdowns and knee-jerk involuntary attrition in 2020, to hyperactive hiring funnels and scramble for top talent in 2021, will be remembered for long.

Senior Suite Movements in the Indian Tech Sector

One of the facets of the hiring action is that of the Leadership Hiring and Senior Suite talent movement. The volume and velocity of leadership hiring is a strong indicator of progression at enterprise and industry levels too. As a high stake and high-value layer of Top Talent, Leadership & Senior Suite hiring has gained traction since late 2020 and hit buoyancy through 2021. 

We observe talent movement patterns and the Tech Domain is a high-interest growth sector that bounced back the fastest from the pandemic impact. This study of the Senior Suite Movements in the Indian Tech Sector is a dipstick into the personal and enterprise dimensions of Top Talent that made career moves in the first 2 Quarters of FY2021-2022.

Data from observing a period of a significant shift in the first two quarters of the year was indeed interesting, and a reason for further curiosity. While we observed some very direct messages & indicators, as the data unfolded, a question emerged if the demand-supply curve is a prominent driver for the observed trends.

Disposition towards start-ups and micro enterprises

The indisputable leaning towards startups and micro-enterprises was evident. If we were to believe that this is more of a permanent shift that is here to stay, the questions were about propellers behind this shift. This is especially pertinent to the movements in the 20-22 years experience group or the 42-46 years age category, which forms a significant part of the subject pool. Some of the propellers identified were: Natural monotony, the limited scope of choices and variation in projects with large enterprises.

Reinventing is centerstage

A deeper understanding among the senior tech leaders is that when the space at the top of a large pyramid/company gets tighter, it becomes difficult to be a leader at such organizations as the plunge is kind of inevitable. This is not to be read as a survival tactic, but also a strategy to stay relevant for longer.

With more adequacy in financial planning along with a rewarding career in the technology sector, the shift to startups is more of a calculated risk. One with hopes of another powerful inning on a different pitch, rather than a draw on the familiar home ground. For many, this may be just the perfect moment to onboard the adoption curve. It is a fantastic market time for both talent and enterprises, without a doubt.

Startups, with a zeal for expansion & valuation, are increasingly absorbing Top Talent from the market. Startups are pitched against large enterprises in a War for Talent and as it stands, they seem to have a net gain advantage.

It’s David vs Goliath out there on the field and David currently seems to have an edge in the War for Top Talent.

A Dipstick Study on Senior Suite Moves in India’s Technology Sector

 Enterprise and Personal Professional demographics

As businesses across the world progress with technology adoption and tech spending due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for technology professionals in India has skyrocketed. 

The period of study has seen several new appointments and movements among the Senior Suite in the tech sector. In this study, Xpheno maps and analyses the movement of 300 CXOs on Enterprise, Personal & Professional demographic dimensions. Enterprises dimensions cover aspects like enterprise size, start-up status, industry and role diversity, while Personal Professional demographics cover experience profiles, stability, tenures and pedigree of qualifications.

Statistics of CXO moves in Tech Startups 

Tech Startups accounted for 45% of the moves studied, while IT Services emerged second with 32% of the moves. Tech Products sector added 5%, while Senior Tech movements in Consulting sector contributed 3%, followed by GICs at 2% of moves.

With a net gain of 9%, the Micro Enterprises cluster has emerged as the top gainer of Tech Senior Suite over the last six months. The biggest net loser on the other hand is the Large Enterprises sector with a 19% gap between Exits and Absorptions of Tech Senior Suite in the period of study. 

The Startup sector emerged as the net-gainer of Tech Senior Suite movements with an 11% difference between Exit and Absorption counts.

Gender representation in Senior Tech Suite

Tech movements showed a prominent skew in gender representation at the top. Despite various gender diversity interventions by enterprises, women representation at the Senior Suite in the technology sector seems to have a long distance to cover. With just a little over 7% of the moves involving female executives, the tech sector is yet to strike the balance on gender diversity across the organogram.

Age and experience data of Senior Tech Suite  

The tech cohort seems to be managed by a fairly mature Senior Suite with an average age of 43 years. With 46% of the CXOs falling in the 36 to 45 years bracket, 32% in the 45 to 55 years range and only 12% in the 22 to 35 years bracket. 

CXOs covered in this study hold an average experience of 20 Years. Three out of five Senior Tech Executives are in the 15 – 25 years experience category. The average tenure of tech executives is 5 years in their previous employment and the sample also suggests that executives are spending more time in large companies as compared to smaller and mid-sized ones. 

Preference of location

Tech Senior Suite movements showed a preference to stay put in one’s current location, with just 15% of executives changing locations in their recent career move. Bengaluru remains the hottest location for tech talent, with 38% of the Senior Suite movements, followed by Delhi NCR.

Preference of Educational Institutions by CXOs

It was interesting to observe that CXOs have had a preference for premier institutions in Post Graduation qualifications as compared to Under Graduation. While 24% of the CXOs had their UG from Premier Institutions, the number increased to 27% in the Post-Graduation level. STEM remains the preferred stream in Graduation and a PG in Management is the popular choice.

As the tech sector continues to evolve, it would be interesting to observe the changing talent dynamics at the Senior Suite level.

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