Data Among the Top Rising C-suite Roles

What C-suite roles are the most in-demand? The latest LinkedIn research analysis over 12 months (from September 2020 through August 2021) shows that while the traditional “big 3” chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer, several other C-suite titles have surged over the past year.

The most significant gains were seen in chief diversity & inclusion officers and saw the most intense hiring push in a 111% surge, which is even faster than the previous year. Other top titles are a chief underwriting officer and chief people officer, which grew by +71% and +61% in those 12 months.

Rounding out the top-10 — chief data officer (+29%) has gained popularity in the past decade. NewVantage Partners’ Big Data Executive Survey found that 57% of senior Fortune 1000 business and technology decision-makers said their organization had appointed a chief data officer.

In general, this trend reflects a recognition that data is an important business asset worthy of management by a senior executive. It’s also an acknowledgment that data and technology — the latter usually managed by a CIO or Chief Technology Officer — are not the same and need different management approaches.

Thus, the CDO’s role has drastically evolved. The CDO is not only responsible for maintaining regulatory compliance and potentially increasing efficiencies – the CDO could be the essential member of the leadership team other than the CEO.

Harnessing the power of data in digital transformation will be imperative for most organizations going forward. AI, ML, and data analytics are no longer buzz words only for tech and finance, and every successful organization will pivot towards viewing data as an asset.

The CDO role has become notoriously hard to stay in. The average tenure of CDOs is just two to two-and-a-half years.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. One successful CDO imparted two pieces of advice: 1) Start with a clear connection to business strategy with tangible examples of how data analytics can drive business outcomes (top line, bottom line, cash, stewardship), and 2) lead with 1-2 forward-thinking business partners to demonstrate what is possible. Those partners become the change agents across the organization.

Creating a consistent pipeline of candidates for practically any C-suite title that’s rising in demand becomes a challenge, especially for start-ups. Internal talent development can’t keep pace. Companies trying to find the right new leader in a hurry are wise to work with an experienced recruiter who has access to a nationwide talent pool like the team at Innova People.