Over the last 12 months, despite significant activity in technology and digital movements, there have been limited changes in the most senior technology lead on the Executive Leadership Team.

ASX300 Technology Leadership as of 30th June 2023 are as follows:

    • 49% of companies have technology represented on the Executive Leadership Team, of which 19% are female.
    • 82% have a dedicated executive with accountability for technology, of which 17% are female.

Securing diversity in a supply constrained market has been a prevailing challenge. As a result, retention of female executives has been a consistent frustration, from which the large banks and ASX20 are not immune. Although diversity is recognised as a key criterion across the market, representation of females in senior technology positions on the Executive Leadership Team consistently remains around 20% in the ASX300.

A further breakdown of the ASX300 is as follows:

    • ASX100
      • 65% of companies have technology represented on the Executive Leadership Team, of which 21% are female.
      • 87% have a dedicated executive with accountability for technology.
    • ASX101-200
      • 41% of companies have technology represented on the Executive Leadership Team, of which 17% are female.
      • 82% have a dedicated executive with accountability for technology.
    • ASX201-300
      • 35% of companies have technology represented on the Executive Leadership Team, of which 12% are female.
      • 71% have a dedicated executive with accountability for technology.

Furthermore, we have observed a variety of approaches towards technology leadership, as well as the plethora of executive titles.

    • 9% in the ASX300 have multiple C-level titled executives in technology in their organisation, of which 25% have at least two executives on the Executive Leadership Team with technology accountability.
    • Conversely, 3% of the ASX300 have executives with remits expanding outside of technology, highlighting the convergence of technology and broader operations which has been observed in mining and financial services.

In addition to the current state of the market, we would highlight a few recurring themes from discussions with technology and digital executives across industries since the beginning of the calendar year.

    • Modernisation and Transformation – Technology debt, rationalisation and modernisation of platforms continue to be a pain point and hindrance to enhancing customer experiences. Maintenance of legacy systems also presents key cyber security and operational risks.
    • Cyber – Critical infrastructure, regulations, media coverage on data breaches and the dynamic pace of cyber threats from bad actors have resulted in increasing pressure from Boards and CEOs on Technology Executives to ensure safety and security for customers and operations.
    • Digital – Being “digital-first” does not imply it is a digital business. In-house engineering and software teams are a costly endeavour in a supply-constrained market, Organisations must adequately outline where digital sits as part of their broader strategy and whether it provides a competitive edge.
    • ChatGPT/AI – ChatGPT has injected a fresh interest in AI, showing potential for a range of new applications, making it more accessible to those outside technology – Should organisations take a risk governance approach or embrace these new technologies? Where and how will organisations realise the cost and scale benefits of technology and automation?
    • Digital Literacy and Adoption – Technology leaders are expected to ensure the uplift of digital literacy across their organisation and be the thought leaders towards the adoption and application of new technologies.

In our active conversations, the consistent demand is for those executives that can comprehend their organisation’s business drivers and not simply pursue “technology for technology’s sake”. Although one would think executives should have commercial acumen, there is a limited pool within technology.  These leaders are curious about a new challenge but not actively advertising themselves on the market and are particularly selective for their next venture.

Despite the general acknowledgement that significant changes in technology are required, organisations are tightening their belts. The lack of adequate funding and a genuine appetite for change is a hurdle to attracting those with a track record and proven experience. Work from home and flexibility in the interim may still provide an edge to procure talent but could change suddenly following the recent pullbacks in venture capital activity and lay-offs, with a broader economic slowdown.

Exerting prudence and doing more with less will be crucial as we face headwinds. Ironically, under capital-constrained conditions, innovation often thrives through the need for change and new thinking but does require leaders to be courageous in pursuing the path untaken. Understandably, hiring for those that have “done it before” is taken as the perception of risk mitigation. However, due to the exponential compounding nature of technology such as AI, leadership choices will prove to be the difference between dominating a sector or being left in the past and irrelevant.

It is our view that hiring technology leaders should not be based solely on candidates’ track record but more importantly, their aptitude and ability for building and delivering a business case to fully realise the potential of new emerging technologies.

If you would benefit from a detailed personal briefing specific to your industry or how organisations are addressing their technology leadership challenges to position themselves for the future, contact our dedicated Technology and Digital Practice.

Kenrick Lui
Associate Partner, Technology and Digital Transformation

Contact us