The Great Realisation: A New Trend in Executive Recruitment

Amid the ‘quiet quitting’ trend, we are seeing a transformative shift among business leaders. Inspired by the current economic climate, a growing number of tech executives are embracing new opportunities for balance and well-being. This phenomenon, which we term ‘The Great Realisation,’ highlights a positive change in priorities among senior leaders, who are choosing to step back from high-pressure roles to focus on personal fulfilment and life beyond the corporate grind.

Observations from the Field

Our conversations with tech leaders reveal a common thread: prolonged stress and burnout have led many to reassess their careers and life choices. These leaders are not merely moving on to other roles; they are taking deliberate breaks to recover from the toll of relentless corporate demands. This trend highlights a broader realisation that there is more to life than continuously battling corporate fires.

Impact on the Recruitment Market

This shift is reshaping the tech recruitment landscape in several ways:

  • More fractional leadership/consultancies being created: One of the most notable changes is the rise of fractional leadership roles and the creation of specialised consultancies. As seasoned tech executives step back from full-time positions, many are opting to leverage their expertise in more flexible or part-time capacities. This trend allows companies to benefit from the insights and leadership of experienced professionals without the commitment of a full-time hire. Fractional leaders can offer strategic guidance on a project basis, helping organisations navigate complex challenges while maintaining a healthier work-life balance for themselves. This model not only provides companies with access to top-tier talent but also opens new avenues for innovation and problem-solving within the industry.
  • Increased Availability of Experienced Leaders: While there is a temporary absence as these leaders take a break, the market is expected to see a surge in highly experienced and refreshed candidates re-entering with renewed energy and perspectives.
  • Demand for Work-Life Balance: Companies must now adapt to the heightened demand for roles that offer better work-life balance and mental health support.
  • Shift in Corporate Culture: There is a growing need for companies to foster healthier work environments that prioritise employee well-being to retain top talent and prevent burnout.

Supporting Data

While comprehensive local data is still emerging, several global studies shed light on this trend:

  • A survey by Deloitte found that 77% of professionals have experienced burnout in their current jobs.
  • According to a Gallup report, 23% of employees feel burned out at work very often or always, with an additional 41% feeling burned out sometimes.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon, emphasising the need for systematic changes in how workplaces address mental health (WHO’s Burnout Definition).

Local Insights

In Queensland, anecdotal evidence supports these findings. Conversations with tech executives reveal that many are prioritising personal recovery and are cautious about re-entering similar high-stress environments. This creates a unique challenge and opportunity for recruiters and businesses alike.

Two leaders we know have recently announced their version of The Great Realisation are Michael Gillespie, COO of Domino’s Group, and Vu Tran, Founder of Go1. Both Michael and Vu have played pivotal roles in shaping the foundations of their respective companies, but have recently made the decision to step away from their roles.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Michael stated he “could no longer find the spark at DPE that allowed me to give the 110 percent I needed in my role, so I felt it was the right time for me to hand over control of the Group eCommerce, Marketing, Digital, Data and Shared Services wheels to others in the business.”

And in May, Vu made a similar decision, announcing he will be stepping back from day-to-day operations of the Logan, Queensland-based edtech unicorn, and has described the encouragement from his fellow co-founders to pursue new opportunities as “rarefied air” in the startup community.

The Great Realisation is more than just a trend; it’s a wake-up call for the tech industry to rethink how it supports its leaders. Companies that recognise and address these changing priorities will not only attract top talent but also foster a more sustainable and productive work environment.

 

If you think it’s time for a chat about your organisation’s executive hiring plans, then get in touch with the Hunt & Co. team today. We would love to chat with you! Email us at hi@huntandco.io, or contact us here!

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