Technology leaders over the past 24 months have been placed under the microscope and provided with a unique environment to validate their digital transformation. Technology is now widely accepted to be interconnected across strategy and operations and it is reflected in the ASX100, with only seven organisations’ technology portfolios accountable to the Chief Financial Officer. The maturity and increased demands of customers for high-quality experiences and digital services stress the need for executives that can operate horizontally and commercialise technology across their business, strategy, and planning.

Interestingly, only eleven out of the ASX100 have the Chief Information Officer hold sole ownership of the technology portfolio and it is a growing trend for it to be divided between multiple executives on the Executive team. To further add to the blurry lines of responsibilities, new Executive level positions and titles have been established or elevated including; Chief Digital Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Chief Transformation Officer as well as expanded, dual titles, including Chief Digital and Data Officer, Chief Information and Technology Officer etc.

The creation of these new titles has created confusion and debate in the market, however broadly speaking, the trend has been to appoint commercial leaders that can communicate and leverage the value of both digital and technology. Conversely, some Chief Information Officers have shifted their focus internally and expanded their remit to cover cybersecurity, as it becomes increasingly dynamic with the increase of potential threats and sensitivity around data and privacy.

As enterprises embrace digital across their business, data and security have been moved up to the top two key foundational building blocks. In our discussions across the market, another common theme has been the need for experienced, commercially orientated technologists, particularly, those that can lead large scale cloud and digital portfolios. However, these high calibre individuals are in high demand and are drawn to organisations with high performing cultures that promise them autonomy to operate at speed and innovate such as fintech, crypto and other digital-native businesses.

The demand for developers and technology executives are widespread. Banks and global tech companies are paying premiums for talent, causing a ripple effect across all industries with varying effects. Inflation is also being felt in the vendor space and many are reassessing the cost-benefit of off-shore vs. in-house resources. The trend is global, and Australia will need to readjust its remittance and rewards to compete with other regions including North America/Europe as well as the large global hyperscalers. Some organisations are addressing the problem long term and getting in early by expanding their horizons with regional working hubs, hackathons, upskill programmes and flexible work arrangements in attracting fresh talent.

The strategy of working from home and flexible working has been both good and bad. Some businesses thrived during this environment, some are failing, and their performance is closely tied to their current business model. As we have been and are in an unusual circumstance for the past two years, we do not have enough factual and trends data to decide on the positive and negative impact on the way moving forward. However, what is a common theme is greater choice for employees and it will be up to leaders to create an atmosphere that can foster collaboration and engagement.

Technology leaders in 2022 will face a different challenge; procuring the relevant talent to meet the increased expectations in a very competitive landscape and a short supply of talent. Leaders have already increased remunerations to mitigate departures of key team members and in some instances, offering ESOP and retention bonuses to add “skin in the game.” In this buoyant market, there has been increased curiosity from top executives to seek new pastures and although comfortable in their current circumstances, would consider a change if presented with the right opportunity.

In this market for tight talent, focusing on the value proposition is increasingly important. It is unlikely that the churn in technology will slow in the medium term and until for the foreseeable future, leaders will continue to pay a premium for top talent. A consolation to hiring managers is that those in technology are not simply motivated by remuneration but the breadth and scope of projects. Representation in this market will prove to be a key in identifying and securing these top executives and perhaps will prove vital in competing in a talent market starved of supply that has not been observed in over a decade.

Kenrick Lui
Associate Partner, Technology and Digital Transformation
Contact us