Youth is no longer a detriment to getting hired to help lead a company. In fact, it may be a benefit.
As digital, mobile and information technology have emerged as high-growth sectors, more millennials are climbing their way toward the top, according to a new report from CareerBuilder and HeadHunter.com. Of the companies surveyed for the report, 20 percent said they have executives who are younger than 30.
While millennials ―the generation born since 1980 ―are making their mark, the research found businesses are still lacking diverse leadership. More than 40 percent had no executive-level employees who were African-American, Hispanic, Asian, gay or disabled, and more than 20 percent of the companies surveyed said they do not have female executives.
Overall, the hiring landscape for company leaders appears to be improving. More than 30 percent of the businesses surveyed said they expect to hire for executive-level positions over the next six months, compared with 23 percent that said so last year.
Employers are hiring executives for a wide range of roles. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed will hire in business development; the next highest responses were for information technology, sales, marketing and accounting/finance.
"Hiring trends for executive-level management mirror what we're seeing in the labor market for all workers," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "As companies look to expand their sales force, develop new products and improve their tech infrastructure, the need for diverse, experienced leadership grows."
Employers said they are looking for executives with a variety of qualities. While experience in the industry is generally considered a crucial requisite for landing a top job, 35 percent of hiring managers said they would consider candidates who don't have background in the field.
According to the study, the qualities most sought-after in executive-level candidates are:
- Proven ability in addressing problems with effective solutions
- Adeptness at motivating others
- Ability to act with speed and agility in a changing market
- Emotional intelligence
- Experience in different areas
The findings were based on a survey of more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.