Senior executives who changed jobs last year were rewarded with double-digit compensation increases for the 10th year in a row, executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group found in survey results released this week.
"It’s a seller’s market," John Touey, head of the group's finance executive practice, told CFO Dive. "Individuals are looking for things better than what they have in their current organizations. People are not afraid to be out there, looking for roles. If you’re a good worker, you’re very marketable."
The group has conducted its survey on an annual basis since 2009. The study, which tries to gauge compensation changes in pre- and post-recession periods, is based largely on the company's placements of senior executives across industries and functions.
Given the demand, offering good pay won't be enough to land top people, Touey said. "If the data shows us anything, it’s that someone is always willing to pay more for talent," he said. "A company that’s competing for people solely on compensation is most likely in a losing position. There must be other anchors beyond compensation to engender stickiness with the executive population."
Touey said CFOs can help their own career prospects by helping the prospects of the people working for them.
"As a CFO, that’s one of the critical factors that will contribute to the success of your own career," he said. "If there’s a good amount of turnover [among] direct reports, or if you're not giving them the opportunity to progress, it will disrupt your ability to develop or take on more opportunities yourself," he said. "That growth opportunity is stunted dramatically if you don't have a stronger team underneath you."
What's more, you risk creating "a revolving door," he said, "particularly in an environment where talent is at such a premium.”"
Compensation to stay high
Looking ahead, signs point to more strong compensation gains for CFOs. "Continued upward pressure on executive compensation is to be expected given the tightness of the labor market," company principal and HR leader Sally Stetson said in a statement.
The average pay hike for job-hopping executives was 11.42%, but the figure climbed to 14.64% last year, CFO.com found, with the most compelling offers combining generous salaries with other amenities, including flexible hours and location, and the opportunity to broaden skill sets.
Touey reminded CFOs that the good job environment they face means their staff face a good environment, too.
"If [CFOs] don’t create a robust environment for their teams, from developmental standpoint, or an environment where the team feels like they’re learning and growing, then they’ll be in a position of needing to replenish their own talent," he said.