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ON Partners Validates the Consumer Market Prioritizes Data Analytics and AI Skillsets in Executive Hiring Trends

Consumer trend is especially visible in supply chain executive roles

ON Partners, a pure-play retained executive search firm building diverse C-level and board leadership teams, validated that in-depth understanding and experience with data analytics and AI are two of the top trends found in executive hiring practices within the consumer market. In a post-pandemic economy, consumer buying habits and motivations have fundamentally changed, resulting in the need for executive candidates with a high degree of expertise in current technologies. This is particularly visible in supply chain roles as companies continue to scramble to source, make and deliver goods that consumers want in the age of constant disruption.

“The candidates who are being hired for consumer-focused executive leadership positions have a strong knowledge base of data and analytics software as well as AI,” said Bryan Buck, Partner at ON Partners. “The expectations and demands of the consumer whether buying online or in-store – continue to change in this post-pandemic economy and what the companies need to do to satisfy them must also evolve. Externally, Generative AI is empowering brands to create- at scale- highly personalized and targeted interactions; while internally, emerging technologies are enabling business efficiency. Clients are seeking the best talent available who come in with an understanding of these emerging tech capabilities and marrying that with consumer wants and desires to deliver a frictionless experience.”  

In an economy that has experienced mixed messaging over the past months with discussion of a recession and the consumer spending fear that comes with it, according to a recent US Chamber of Commerce study, new orders for durable goods are increasing. Orders increased 3.3% in March, rose 1.2% in April, and increased 1.7% in May; which is an optimistic sign for the economy. While consumers and businesses are getting back into the pattern of cautious spending as confirmed in the recent McKinsey & Company ConsumerWise report, leadership roles need to be able to track this demand and directly cater to the trends associated with them.

“Candidates need experience with new technologies and tools that track the data and analytics that explains why and where people are buying,” said Heidi Hoffman, Partner at ON Partners. “There is an expectation of same-day delivery and top notch customer experience. It is the supply chain’s responsibility to ensure the products are made and available as quickly and efficiently as possible. New technologies and tools are popping up constantly to link together innovation, customer demand, and product availability. Consumer supply chain executives must be constantly exploring and utilizing these tools, or they and their companies will suffer.”  

Current and emerging supply chain technologies are enabling leaders to automate many tactical parts of supply chain and focus more on strategic requirements. For example, consumer companies are finding that ESG and sustainability positions are gaining importance for customer demand, so supply chain leaders must focus on the environmental and social impact of their supply chain choices, which requires reliable data and analytics. These changes have a direct impact on the desired skills and experiences being sought in consumer supply chain executive talent.

Buck confirmed that in this current era of consumer executive hiring, he finds himself advising clients to prioritize talent with practical innovation experience versus those who are trying to future-proof products or platforms with a five plus year lens.

As we begin to understand the incredible power and potential of Generative AI, companies can drive significant innovation with agile, iterative adoption. This new era places even greater importance on finding the right tech minded executives who are capable and proven in driving the next level of technology enabled impact.