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State Of Executive Search in Canada

Throughout 2023 and into 2024, Canadian recruiters have witnessed heightened competitiveness, requiring a strategic approach to talent acquisition. There is a growing demand for executive leaders equipped with a deep understanding of global market trends, technological advancements, and emerging soft skills. While similarities with the U.S. exist, Canadian recruiters face unique challenges.

We were recently asked to participate in Hunt Scanlon’s annual Canada Recruiting Executive Search Review, and our Executive Vice President, Brent Verriez provided his insight:

“With respect to expectations for 2024, we expect to see some of the late 2023 trends continue.  Candidates are more risk averse with due to the bleak economic outlook in many industries, and stability is a huge factor as candidates may not want to leave their current employer, even if they are somewhat dissatisfied, if it means putting their current family financial requirements at risk. To that end, the challenge of finding the right talent continues to drive up compensation expectations in what is still somewhat of a candidate-driven market.


Another big factor of success moving into 2024 is managing the balance between hybrid/remote work and in-office work.  Many companies are pushing to a return to office either full-time or 3-4 days as they work to increase morale, collaboration, and productivity, but many candidates are holding out for more flexibility based on what they have been accustomed to since the onset of the pandemic.  How do prospective employers market roles that could be in-office or remote? and how badly do they stick to their guns when evaluating the talent pool?

Companies that are recruiting also need to frame a more exciting picture of why someone would want to join them, outside of the just the typical competitive pay, benefits, pension/rsp, etc. We’ll see Generative AI (ChatGPT) being used more and more this year, so it will be telling to see how both candidates and companies present their story ‘on paper’ versus how they perform in an interview. Does it align and can they live up to expectations? Is the opportunity that exciting?

Compared to the US, we would say we were busier in 2023 than many of our colleagues in the US (specifically industry specialized firms) based on our conversations with other search firm leaders, but the issues faced in the market with respect to candidates and client expectations seemed to be the same on both sides of the border, and we expect that to continue into 2024.”

Executive recruiting firms in Canada have expanded their roles beyond traditional search and placement functions, showcasing a heightened focus on providing comprehensive talent advisory services. These firms play a crucial role in assisting organizations in shaping their leadership pipelines, conducting talent assessments, and offering strategic guidance on succession planning. As the business environment continues to evolve, executive recruiting firms are expected to take on a more strategic role, collaborating with organizations to align leadership capabilities with future challenges and opportunities. This shift aims to ensure the seamless integration of executive talent into the broader organizational strategy, reflecting the evolving demands of the Canadian business landscape. To read more on the current state of the Canadian Search market, visit Hunt Scanlon.  

If you’re ready to hire in a CSuite or Senior Finance role, or just want to chat talent strategy, get in touch with us! Email Paul, Brent, Troy, or Tara, or give us a call at 519-673-3463 or 416-847-0036.

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