Staying Ahead in Executive Career Transition

Staying Ahead in Executive Career Transition

Filter tag: Change Management and Executive Outplacement, Leadership Capability, Strategies for Growth

There’s no getting away from the fact it’s a tough market for anyone looking for an executive position.  Here, Rialto director Nicholas Storey shares some of the strategies and advice he offers clients looking for support in their career transition against the backdrop of today’s volatile and dynamic economic market.


If you’re in work but frustrated by a lack of progress, audit yourself.

Whether you wish to remain relevant and do better in your current role or progress within your organisation, you need to audit yourself before someone else does. Are you bringing value for money? Do the numbers back it up? You may have been at your current role for 8, 10, 15 years or more and feel you have already proved your worth. I call that the danger zone. You go in, do your job, and expect everyone to be grateful.

But years of loyal service won’t mean anything to the accountants when they are looking at a spreadsheet and deciding where to save money, especially when you’re competing with technology and humans who are proficient in it.

Your organisation may have changed a lot since you joined. Have you changed with it? Try to look at it as though it is a new company. What are its strengths and weaknesses? Can you see space for improvement? How would YOU improve it? What skills and qualifications does it look for when employing new people at your level or above? Do you have them? If not, ask how you can obtain them.


Look into the future and understand market demand

Our data shows just how much has changed in a single year since we started capturing the dramatic fall in advertised traditional C-suite vacancies. The pace of change is accelerating exponentially so imagine how the next year or even six months is going to look.

Think ahead. If you want to stay in your role, how do you see that changing? Is your organisation embracing generative AI and using it properly? If it is, are you on top of it? If not, could you be the one to usher it in?

Perhaps you could consider executive transition but into the new roles being created by the AI revolution, chief automation officer, chief digital officer, chief data officer and chief experience officer. We can help you understand the market, pivot towards a new-world position that aligns with your existing skill sets and experience and help you identify and fill any gaps in your CV.

It may seem daunting but anyone who has managed to work their way to executive level in the old world has the capacity to make it in the new with the right support. Here at Rialto we’ve had our sights trained on this exciting new era for many years and we have helped executives from all over the world to jump on board and get ahead in the race. I see these new technologies not as a barrier, but as opening a portal to the dynamic global job market, expanding horizons and creating exciting new opportunities.


Take advantage of Executive Outplacement and Retraining opportunities

For those who have been made redundant recently, my first question piece of advice would be: Pause to reflect and plan.

Would your severance package and gardening leave be best invested in reskilling or upskilling or getting professional help to fully prepare for a positive re-entry into the job market.

Go back and identify why your role was made redundant. What changed? Was that change unique to your organisation or sector-wide? Look at what’s out there. Where is the growth? Where is the market contracting? Do you see vacancies in the roles in which you have previously found success? Or do you need support to help reposition yourself for the changing market?

All the data and everything I am hearing tells us there are far fewer positions and far more applicants out there than I can remember seeing for some time.

Organisations in all sectors are restructuring to cut costs and take advantage of new technologies. Was that a factor in your redundancy? It goes without saying that the reason generative AI is coming for executive jobs is because it can perform so many functions better, more efficiently and far more inexpensively than humans. But it needs you, or someone like you, to co-pilot it confidently. AI makes a better friend than an enemy. If you can take this time to master it and go back into the market proficient and confident discussing new technologies it could really give you the competitive edge.


Long term unemployed? Think about a change of direction to secure your future.

Many clients who come to Rialto are despondent after being knocked back time and again in their self-directed job searches. They may not understand why, after a long and successful career, they find themselves seemingly unwanted.

I see people who have burned through their redundancy settlement and then into their savings either because they have been over-confident that they will walk into a new role or gone straight into panic mode and repeated the same mistakes without stopping to ask why.

Stop firing off application after application in a scattergun approach and trying to change your CV to match different roles. Instead, refine your sights and improve your marksmanship.

Use this precious time to take a good look at yourself and ask where you fit into this new market. What drives you in the workplace? What are your transferable skills?

Is it a good time to broaden your horizons, open yourself to the idea of heading off in a completely new direction? It might need you to upskill or even retrain but if you have 10, 20 years of work ahead of you, it could rescue you from a soul-destroying battle to last until retirement in a role or sector that has had its day.

One welcome trend in today’s employment landscape is executive function mobility. People change jobs, change positions, change organisations and change careers all the time. Organisations welcome candidates with a diverse set of life and work experiences. Change wards off stagnation.

I get a real buzz when I can help a client get out of a miserable rut and see them invigorated as they set out on an exciting new path.


Never stop learning

I can’t emphasise enough how vital it is for senior executives in post and looking for work to constantly re-invent themselves and show willingness and commitment to a permanent learning process. It might mean working in new and emerging markets, integrating new business models. In today’s disruptive economy, you may be expected to embrace generative AI and other technologies. It does not matter where you are in your career trajectory – on the first rung of the executive ladder or chairman of the board and close to retirement. A healthy curiosity and appetite for learning will keep you sharp, efficient, and in the game. On a personal level, it will give an almighty boost to your job satisfaction and your final salary.

In short, don’t be intimidated by the fast pace of change – be energised by it. A little fear and apprehension about the new can reignite that spark that fired you up when you first started out.

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