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Don’t Look Up? You Better in 2022! Trends in the Talent Acquisition Market

February 2, 2022

By Matt Dumas, Managing Partner

The Chasm team kept with tradition during the week of JP Morgan and met virtually with dozens of executives in the healthcare technology and services space. What we learned during countless Zoom calls confirmed, in greater numbers, what we are seeing on the ground as recruiters. The overall theme? Be prepared for continued disorder and disruption when it comes to acquiring and retaining talent. The comet approaching planet Earth in Adam McKay’s hit movie “Don’t Look Up” is a good analogy to the talent market. Executives in our space (figuratively) are paying very close attention to the unusual, unpredictable and unthinkable.

Cash and Equity Will Continue to Soar 

Compensation will continue seeing inflationary pressures in 2022 driven by both trends in new hiring as well as retention activity. As experienced in 2021, Chasm continues to see offer letters with cash and equity compensation higher than traditional norms…particularly in commercially oriented roles both on the executive and non-executive levels. Historic compensation survey data is proving less helpful in establishing the framework of a competitive executive package.  The market is changing rapidly as this is a “candidate’s market” where demands are high and hiring managers are forced to take aggressive measures to ensure an accepted offer. This phenomenon, combined with continued retention bonus activity, means higher compensation related expenses this year.  

Prepare for the Unthinkable After An Accepted Offer

At first it felt like a collection of isolated experiences in 2021 when many of us saw firsthand a placement renege on an accepted offer or jump to another opportunity shortly after starting a new job. While these situations are still relatively infrequent, our network in the healthcare technology and services space has seen a significant increase in this kind of opportunistic candidate behavior, even among the most respected of candidates at executive level ranks.  With unprecedented cash and equity packages being pulled together to either close the deal or counter an offer, some of these candidates are seeing apparently life changing compensation packages causing them to second guess their decisions. The most sophisticated hiring managers we have met with are prepared for this possibility, taking nothing for granted after someone signs an offer letter.  That means staying close to candidates between an accepted offer and start date and keeping these placements engaged until they begin their new job.   

Outsourcing Will Become More Common For Certain Hard To Find Positions

Given the incredibly high demand for talent across most levels and functions in the healthcare technology and services space, we are hearing from executives that outsourcing for certain positions will become increasingly common as an interim solution. For highly specialized mission critical roles like mid-level Digital Marketing, Product Management or clinical roles, many company executives are turning to third party services that can address their immediate needs while looking to recruiters to find a permanent hire. While many of these positions traditionally were recruited through in-house recruiters depending on LinkedIn or job boards, many CEOs are looking for more sophisticated recruiting capabilities like ChasmTEAM (a recruitment capability supporting enterprise-wide hiring) to secure critical mid-level talent in a timely way.  

Don’t Let Looking Up Distract You From Focusing Inward

With such a significant focus on hiring and the talent acquisition market, it’s critical to remember that the talent we’re trying to retain is also on the receiving end of recruiter outreach and thus exposure to the compensation inflation phenomena. Many thoughtful and self-aware leaders are focused on creative ways to ensure that their high performing talent remain loyal without feeling alienated as new hire peers - and the compensation that comes with attracting them - arrive. Some organizations are refocusing their merit increases and equity pools to reward retention, and others have added in other benefits like investing in executive coaching and leadership development for their top performers.

Whether or not the plot in “Don’t Look Up” is the right analogy, the more discerning and sophisticated in our space are indeed “Looking Up” to avoid surprises and preparing for challenging times in this year’s talent market.

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