Podcast

Episode: 425 |
Chad Oakley:
The Consulting Job Market:
Episode
425

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Chad Oakley

The Consulting Job Market

Show Notes

 

Chad Oakley is the president and CEO of Charles Eris, which is one of the top executive search firms in the United States focused on recruiting management consultants. In this Q & A episode, he shares insights and answers questions that consultants have always wanted to ask about the job market. 

Key points include:

  • 09:37: The current state of the market for consultants
  • 15:18: Areas that are in demand now and will increase in demand
  • 21:49: Applying for a salaried position after working as an independent consultant
  • 33:34: The best way to interact with retain search firms

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:02
Hello and welcome everyone. I’m so excited for this session today. It’s one of the most popular sessions that we’ve done. We have 150 people signed up to hear Chad Oakley talk about the consulting job market. Chad is the president ceo of Charles heiress, which is one of the top executive search firms in the United States focused on recruiting management consultants. And Chad can correct me if I didn’t capture that, that’s not all they do. But there’s they’re super busy. And Chad’s Joe’s a good friend, he’s been on the podcast before. Before we get into it, I’m going to, I want to do one thing, I’m going to share my screen share screen, share my screen, just to show everyone this.

00:52
Charles Eris puts out the former strategy consultant compensation survey. So if you want to know what your worth, or what at least other people with your background are getting paid, you can check that out. And also they put out the strategy consulting compensation survey for folks that are still at consulting firms. Now, if you want to download those, you just Google Charles heiress compensation survey, and they have great SEO, you’ll get right to their site, and you can download either one. So definitely check out those. It’s, I’ll just flip through them. So you can see it’s, it really is the definitive source of information. As far as I’m aware of what consultants earn in the United States, pretty interesting stuff talks about, you know, likeliness to leave tons of useful information. So check that out.

01:43
Next week before to help you know, orient chat a little bit. Let’s do this mentimeter if you could go to your phone and pick go to minty calm that’s in E en ti.com. And then type in this code 82733015. I’ll repeat that. It’s the the site is just n E n ti.com. on your phone or your laptop. And then the code is 82733015. What’s on your mind, Chad has like, you know, 100 different things you could talk about? What’s on your mind, he wants to know, what questions do you have about the job market for consultants? So go ahead. We’ll take a minute here. type in your question. You can type in more than one if you like. Just type in your question, hit return, and we’ll start seeing your answers pop up on the screen. Okay, did COVID expand the pool of independent consultants out there? Interesting. Okay. options market for consultants with part time dedication? Oh, that’s interesting. Part time consulting options. Are there certain global geographies that are more fertile for opportunities? While we’re waiting for people to type them in? I’ll ask one question that i i preceded with Chad, which is for folks like us who are independent consultants want to ask a question as to Chad to start with is how do we That’s weird. How do we position ourselves? Well, if we want to return back to a full time role? How do we position that independent consulting experience so that employers don’t think we were just unemployed? And you know, couldn’t get a real job? So how do we position ourselves? Well, let me read some of these other questions. That’s very strange that writing haven’t seen that before? Okay. How do you expect increase in remote work to affect the consultant pay scale? Are you seeking Are you seeing more of a demand for ESG and stakeholder capitalism consultants? What are the biggest areas of growth for marketing consultants, trends and maintaining remote work practices? How is the market for more senior independence? How is COVID impacted the opportunities for consultants better, worse or the same? What functions are rapidly growing in the independent consultant US market?

04:09
As it recovered to pre pandemic levels, what kinds of projects industry topic growth are growing shrinking? Is there increasing flexibility for contractor roles among corporates?

04:22
Do you see a specific segment for independent senior consultants segment in terms of nature project which ones and I’ll just mention just just to clarify, you know, Chad is primarily doing retained search for full time roles. And he can talk about sort of what he served. Where’s my next consulting gig coming from which industries are trending which problems are more prevalent today than before? Our salary is going to be adjusted downwards and high cost locations now that remote working has won so much prevalence.

04:49
And what’s the market for ESG sustainability climate consulting? How might the client consulting career as a whole change over the next 10 years what competency skills etc Alright, so Thank you for your questions. I’m going to stop sharing my screen here and turn it over Chad. Chad, thanks so much for joining, really psyched to hear your perspective on the consulting job market.

Chad Oakley 05:11
will thank you very much. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be here with everyone. And I appreciate everyone logging in and joining us, especially at the start of a long holiday weekend, for those of you who are traveling and all kind of stuff, travel safely, and hopefully will be a nice, nice getaway. So maybe what I’ll do is I’ll provide just a brief introduction to who I am in our firm Charles Ellis, and then I really look forward to entertaining a lot of these questions, you all have some really, really good ones. So my background is similar to I think what probably is many of yours. I started my career in consulting. I graduated undergrad from my beloved North Carolina State University go Wolfpack. And then I moved to Philadelphia and I started working for Deloitte Consulting at the time, Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group, for those of you who who are old school like me on that particular front, I spent three years there. And then I went to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for my MBA and then I shifted and moved to Boston to join Bain and company. And so I had I’ve had experience kind of on the operation side, my Deloitte experience was little bit more operational, I did some it implementation, right European implementation type projects, and then in shifting to Bain and company was more growth, strategy oriented projects. And then 18 years ago, I came back home to North Carolina and joined Charles Harris, an executive search firm where I started our strategy and corporate development practice. That is a practice that over the last 18 years, we’ve now completed a little over 940, I think we’re at 943 searches in the strategy space. So and I think that is the the largest number of strategy and corporative element searches completed by any firm during that particular timeframe in the United States. So we’re proud of what we’ve had a chance to grow in that practice, strategy. And corporate development is just one of our six practices. We do a lot of work in finance and accounting, engineering operations and supply chain, sales and marketing, human capital, and executive leadership leadership, which is effectively CEOs and general managers. Our client base is really split 5050, half of our clients, our private equity firms and their portfolio companies. And we work with private equity firms of all shapes and sizes from the very largest firms that you would read about in the Wall Street Journal on a regular basis down to smaller mid market firms. And truly everything in between over the last five years, we’ve completed searches for about 100 different private equity firms in their portfolio companies, we help private equity firms on two different fronts. One is the firm level itself. So individuals that would be on the deal side, or on the portfolio operation side of that firm, and then also within their portfolio companies as well. And then the other half of our client base, our corporations, everything from the largest fortune 10, companies, publicly traded organizations down to much smaller even at the startup level. And again, everything in between those businesses. If you do go to our website, and you download some of that content that we’ll be sharing with you, you’ll see that the vast majority of the people that we are placing are either current consultants, or former consultants. And while this is not universally true, I suspect that the majority of those individuals have worked for some probably the larger firms, kind of the Bain BCG McKinsey at karney strategy and those those types of organizations. Again, this is where most of our candidates are probably coming from however, we’ve we’ve worked with individuals across the entire spectrum, if you will. So that is just maybe a little bit of an introduction as to Charles Harris and our organization. There were some really good topics there. And I what I’d really like to do is try to maybe give short, sweet answers to some of those questions. And then maybe what we can talk about are any other questions that people have? And we’ll actually I’ll rely on you, if you wouldn’t mind to maybe prompt me a little bit on some of the more popular questions that came through as I’m not going to recall all of them as big long list. And if you have additional questions, just go ahead and pop them in the chat, as we’re going through here. And then periodically, I’ll kind of curate those and get to perfect, great.

Will Bachman 09:28
Why don’t we start with this? Why don’t we start with the current state of our market for consultants.

Chad Oakley 09:36
So I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I can honestly say I don’t think I can recall a market that is as hot as the one that we are in right now. It is my guess that the vast majority of you are having an opportunity to pick and choose the type of consulting projects that you work on. As opposed to six months ago when it was probably a month. different story. So we’ve all had a chance to read about what the economy is doing right? I just read something today in the Wall Street Journal that I think I have this correct that the, the market is expecting GDP growth of 10% for the second quarter or something like that, which is just mind blowing numbers. We’ve all been reading about the fact that companies cannot find staff, they cannot find talent. I had a friend of mine, who was in Chicago yesterday. And he said he went to a Starbucks at one o’clock, and they were closed with a note that said, we are closing our stores at 12 noon, because we do not have the staff to remain open in the afternoons. That is wild, right? I cannot recall a time when when the market was that constraint. So companies are suffering on a major basis, from a from a staffing perspective, and that goes all the way up. The good news is that goes not only from your hourly employees, but that goes all the way up to the more to the more senior levels. Our firm has never had the number of retain searches that we’re working on, until today. So we’re at a record breaking number within our organization. We’ve been in business now for 51 years. That’s a pretty telling statement, if you will, our phone is ringing constantly. all shapes and sizes of companies, all industries, all industries are are desperate right now for World Class talent. So this this is a seller’s market. This is absolutely a seller’s market. It’s it’s not always true that the talent market would mirror that of the real estate market. We all know what’s happening in the real estate market, right prices are up 20 30% relative to the average. And the exact same thing is taking place within the talent space. The demand for talent today is again as high as I’ve ever seen. So we’re all in a good place. At this particular stage, the consulting firms themselves, the big firms are sold out. Many of you may know this, but last year, the year of the pandemic 2020 was a record breaking year for Bain, BCG and McKinsey, all three firms had record revenue, even during the pandemic coming out of the pandemic, they are way over salt, way oversold to the point where we are now seeing those organizations try to poach aggressively from other brand name firms. BCG and McKinsey really are on the prowl for new talent. And they are extending offers to consultants at other firms. You know, the Deloitte, the 80 carnies, the strategy ends the Parthenon, a wise monitor group, all those organizations they are extending offers to consults at those organizations at pay rates that we have never seen before. talked with an E y Python individual the other day that had received an offer. And the person said, You know what, I really like it here at UI Parthenon. But I probably can’t turn this offer down. It’s just too rich. So the the dollars are flowing now at an incredible pace. And for those of you who love consulting and might want to think about going back to work for for a broader firm, now is the time to start to maybe reach out to some of your colleagues at that organization, if that’s what you’re if that’s what your goal is right? If you will, please know that those firms plan to get back on the road pretty darn soon. BCG, McKinsey and Bain have kind of send out the have sent out the all points bulletin to the team that says, Hey, guys, we know everyone’s been working remotely. Here during the pandemic, it’s now time to start coming on back home, get back towards the home office. By the end of the summer, they expect that they will be traveling to client sites. So from that perspective, those consulting firms believe that we’ll be we’ll be heading back to normal here pretty darn soon. So, in short, this is a good time for consultants. And part time full time. If you just put yourself out there, my guess is that you will find opportunities, and you’ll probably be able to pick and choose what opportunities you focus on here for the next six to six to 12 months would be my guess we’ll continue to see this demand at a pretty high level for the next six to 12 months. Let me pause for a second. And we’ll I want to make sure that I can address some of the questions that had popped in and I also want to make sure that I if anything that I’ve said if people have clarifying questions or things like that,

Will Bachman 14:47
I’d be interested I want to make sure that I can clarify anything there. It said we had a number of questions Chad, about specific sectors or skills or functional areas or industries. Is it just super fun

Chad Oakley 15:00
are busy across the board are there are some areas that you think are particularly in demand now and will increase in demand and any comments on that? Yeah. So we’re seeing demand across all industries. And so at our firm works across all industries. So our largest industry is industrial that’s largely driven because of the private equity work that we do, right. private equity firms like to invest in hard assets, right, we are seeing a greater number of private equity firms invest in services firms where people are the primary asset, but historically, it continues to be true the private equity firms will invest in in hard asset organizations, manufacturing businesses and things along those lines. However, we are seeing really strong demand in manufacturing or in a business, whether it be b2b, industrial manufacturing, or b2c, you know, consumer packaged goods, businesses, we’re seeing huge demand in financial services, right, those organizations coming back online, and a lot of demand in that particular space, we’re seeing a huge amount of demand in healthcare and life sciences, pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech very, very strong. The healthcare system, of course, very, very strong. As you might imagine, given what we’ve just recently gone through, we’re seeing a ton of demand in tech, media and Telecom. For the first time in our company’s history. Last month, we had two of the Fang companies reach out to us for talent. All right, so let’s think about why that’s a big deal. Right? So we all I think we’re all familiar with the Fang companies, right? Facebook, Amazon, alphabet, Netflix and Google, right. And you know, those particular organizations, they are overwhelmed with applications every day. Right? They are hiring and qualifying engines, machines. So when those organizations are having a hard time finding what they want, that is a very compelling moment in the marketplace, everybody that’s about is telling a statement is on. I’m going to make we projected You know, we’ve had a long conversation about this, we have a TMT practice technology media and telecom practice, we’ve we felt like it was going to be 10 years before we would ever before those organizations would ever need an executive search to partner with them for broader base positions. Certainly, they use executive search firms for maybe a couple of very unique places. But that was incredibly unique. So we’re seeing huge demand and in in TMT as well, as well. In other words, whatever your space, whatever your area of industrial expertise, my guess is, there are businesses out there that would want to engage with you. Very, very quickly, on the on the functional area, right? From a consulting perspective, I don’t know if I’m going to have any blinding insights on this that are going to blow anybody away, I’m going to provide you with the answer. But I suspect that most of you will probably know this. So when the pandemic hit, right, everything, all consulting immediately shifted, right? And it really went to life in a pandemic type consulting. How do we handle this? How do we react to this? What’s our internal employee mentality? How do we handle this with our clients? How do we pivot? How do we change our business model in a way that can support what’s taking place right now in the world, that’s where a lot of companies pivoted to. At the same time, we, you know, as you guys know, we went to a lot of cost containment consultants. So even the growth strategy consulting firms immediately shifted to improve the bottom line for these organizations through operations, efficiencies, terminations, you know, re engineering, the processes, so we can squeeze more to the bottom line, if you will, coming out of the pandemic, as you might imagine, everyone is trying to to grow their businesses. They’re seeing opportunity now. So growth strategy is the current consulting topic does You’re right, that we’re seeing by far the most demanding, that’s the classic where to play, how to win, how to take advantage of this new marketplace, how to think creatively about the future of the consumer, and how they’re going to spend money. Read the retail landscape is changing to some degree, how do we need to think about that? How do we digitize our processes? How do we digitize our services? Right? So my guess is probably not a huge surprise on that. But that’s definitely what we’re seeing. The biggest topics in consulting today continue to be anything digital. Anything big data, and data science, data sciences are going to be one of the most and are today and will continue to be one of the most in demand spaces in business. We’ve got 20 more years of trying to catch up to create more data scientists in the marketplace individuals who can take massive amounts of data and make sense out of it. That is in huge demand right now and in in business. And going along with that coupling with that is artificial intelligence right AI is very Rubik and automation, automation continues to be incredibly powerful as companies figure out how they can do more with less right age old question we’ve been dealing with this for since the beginning of business, how do you do more with less, that continues to be a very, very significant demand in the marketplace.

Will Bachman 20:20
Chad next question is, I believe that there are some people on this call who are being the following situation, they may have gotten into independent consulting a few years ago, maybe when the market wasn’t as good and they couldn’t find just the right full time job, or they needed some independence at the time, or they had something going on. And they’ve been doing independent consulting for a few years. And it’s, it’s probably going, Okay. But perhaps some people are at the point where like, wow, it’s kind of hard to get work all the time, the ups and downs of feast and famine. And it’d be nice to be back in a full time job, perhaps. And so for that person, what’s the what steps do you recommend to take advantage of this hiring market? Where you’re seeing demand, both by consulting firms as well as by companies? How do you take your your years of independent consulting and position and package yourself?

Chad Oakley 21:17
Well, first part, and then the second part is, you know, any tips on doing that sort of job search, if you want to go back to a consulting firm to just call up the recruiting firm to try to network your way in through some partner that you know, so tips on folks that are looking to leave independent consulting? How do you position yourself and how do you go about that search? Absolutely. I talk about this all the time, with individuals, and I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this particular piece. So the number one mistake that I see consultants make when they think about joining a corporation, right, I’m gonna let’s make this focused on a corporation, not necessarily going back into consultant, okay, the number one mistake that I see consultants make is that they spread themselves and their capabilities to them. Okay, so I’m going to give you a perfect, very timely discussion just yesterday, just yesterday, I’m on the phone with a consultant that is thinking about leaving for a new opportunity, okay, for a corporate opportunity, once you get off the road, sees the travels, coming back ready to doesn’t want to do that, as enjoyed working from home, etc, wants to get join a corporation, he effectively said, I can really go, I can really get excited about pretty much any industry. And I can pretty much get excited about any size company. I have full geographic flexibility, I can go anywhere in the United States that, you know, my family is ready to go and land somewhere. You know, we’ve got some preferences, but we really have full and total flexibility. And Gosh, from a role perspective, Chad, I could, I could see myself doing just about anything, I could be excited about a finance role, a marketing position, something in sales, I could do something in strategy, I could do something anything. By the way, this person, just like many of you, right, just like many of you could probably do just about anything. That’s the that is the blessing and the curse of being a consultant. I bet I could drop any one of you into almost any situation, in any industry, any functional position within reason, right? Maybe not being a brain surgeon, but within reason, right? And you’d figured it out, you would figure it out, you’d figure out how to actually add value in that particular situation. And so it’s not uncommon for a consultant to say, Man, it’s less about the industry, it’s less about the function. It’s more about the opportunity, right? I hear that all the time. I get it. I totally understand. I’m a former consult myself, I kind of live that. However, hiring authorities companies struggle with that. They really struggle with that concept, right? And they and so what is it what is a company wants to hire, right? They want to hire someone who is really strong intellectually has the technical skills has the experience that they are looking for. But at the same time, they want to hire someone who is passionate and very interested in whatever it is they do. So if you’re that consultant that says, hey, I can work anywhere and do anything, the hiring authority, the company gets a little nervous about that, right? They don’t want to make some big announcement within their company that says, hey, we just added this amazing person, check them out. And then it turns out that that amazing person maybe isn’t quite as passionate about their space, maybe isn’t quite as dedicated, as they were hoping. Right? And the team can feel that when they when they walk in the door. So what do you do about that? Right? So a couple of things, number one, think very strategically about not necessarily just what you can do, but what are your spikes? Right? What are your What are those three things that you can almost do in your sleep? whatever that might be, right? Maybe that’s a functional skill set in marketing. Maybe it isn’t big data in our Official intelligence, maybe it is in growth strategy. Maybe it is product management product, new product launches, right? Whatever it is think strategically about what are those three things that are my go to in my wheelhouse, right down Main Street, I’m gonna knock this one out of the park every single time. Okay. And then secondly, think about what industries are you really passionate about? Yes, you can probably do this in a lot of different industries. But think about one of those industries that I really do value that I Natch, if I had to choose one, you know, if the job theory came down and said, You can only choose one industry and for the rest of your life, this is what you’re going to work in, what is that industry for you what best resonates with you personally, okay. And then what you want to do is identify all of the all of the companies that kind of would fall within that space within a geographic match. The other thing is, I’ll encourage you to say, Alright, geographically, where do I really want to live? Okay, let’s, let’s think about a very simple example. You like Chicago, you really like consumer packaged goods, and you want to do something in strategy. Those are, that’s your three, your industry is consumer packaged goods, your geographic location in Chicago, your function and strategy. Well, that’s, suddenly we’ve taken the entire world, and we’ve narrowed it down to a very manageable scope, right? We’re not gonna boil the ocean ocean is not going to boil, we got to get that ocean down to something that’s more manageable. Now we can identify, well, who are the consumer packaged goods companies in Chicago, right? And I can start to take a long list, maybe there’s 25 of them. And I can take that list of 25 and get it down to 10. Just based on my own personal research, what are the products that I personally resonate with? How do they go to market? Do they go to market in a way that I personally value? Right? Are they all digital? Are they all online? Maybe I don’t align with that as much, maybe I want to still, I want to be with a company that still sells products through brick and mortar. Whatever that is, right? You figure out how to get that list down to something that’s a little bit more manageable. And then there is the networking piece, right. So I’ve taken my list of 25 companies, CPG companies in Chicago. And I now know that I want to do something in strategy. So who am I likely to report to the Chief Strategy Officer. So the first thing we do is we go to LinkedIn. And we try to identify who the Chief Strategy Officer officer is at that organization. All right, we’ve got a little bit about that person’s background. And then there’s a networking part of the process. Who do you know at that company that you’re connected with, in any way, shape, or form? What alumni from your education, or the former consulting firm that used to work for is now at that organization that you can reach out to and try to connect with? Let’s say you do all of the networking. And it turns out Yikes. I don’t know one person, I have not one connection with someone at that organization. What do I do now I just give up not at all right, you want to reach out directly to that Chief Strategy Officer and introduce yourself.

27:48
And when you do that, by the way, you’re putting yourself out there a little bit. But when you do that, you want to say a couple of things in that email connection and that LinkedIn connection, and in the phone call that I will strongly encourage you to make. Okay? What you want to say is the following. You want to introduce yourself so our consumer packaged goods Chief Strategy Officer, her name is Sally. Okay, our fictional CSO, Sally, and we would say, Hi, Sally, my name is Chad Oakley, you don’t know me, we’ve never had a chance to meet. But for the last 10 years of my life, I’ve been completing strategy projects for consumer packaged goods companies along with other organizations, I am actively looking to join an organization full time, I’m incredibly passionate about consumer packaged goods. And I want to live in Chicago. I have no idea if you’re actively looking to hire anyone like me at this particular stage. But I would greatly value the opportunity to speak with you further about my capabilities, and how I can help your organization to grow something that’s simple. Now, there’s a couple things that we did there. Number one, we started by saying you don’t know me, we’ve never met before. Automatically, Sally now knows that you’re kind of an honest person, right? not pulling trying to pull a fast one, her guard starts to come down. Now she starts to listen to what you’re saying. The second thing is you gave a very brief summary of what you’ve done. My example is probably a little bit too late. I might encourage you to actually add one or two statements like pricing strategy has been at the core of my focus, or go to market strategy has been the core my focus or consumer segmentation has been the core of my book, whatever those spikes are, that we talked about before that you do incredibly well, is important. And then the last thing that you said was, I have no idea if you’re actively looking to add anyone to your team, like me with Sally then hears is that you’re a reasonable person who will take no for an answer. Because no one wants to hop on the phone with someone who they don’t think will take no for an answer. Right? They just want to have an open honest conversation about the skill set. You want to send that via email, LinkedIn, etc. And then I will strongly encourage you to pick up the phone call the main switchboard, ask for Sally’s number And be redirected to her phone. I’m sorry, you’re gonna leave a voicemail. your voicemail is exactly what I just said. You might even get Sally’s assistant on the phone. You say to Sally’s assistant, exactly what I just said, no different. Hi, I’m so and so I’m trying to get in touch with Sally, you should know that Sally does not know me. We’ve never met before, the same thing just went right through it right? You’re just being completely open transparent with that with that particular individual. Your voice matters when Sally hears your voice makes it real. She sees that you’re a normal person. You know, that’s who she’s going to want to engage with, at that particular stage. And that’s the process that I encourage you to do that. It’s hard. It’s challenging. You’re putting yourself out there, you’re kissing frogs, not all the frogs going to turn into your prince or princess. But if you do it this way, I assure you, that is the fastest way to find the great opportunity. So notice one really important thing. Not once did I say Do they have a job opening on their website. Don’t care about that. Don’t Don’t ever let whether or not a company has a job posting on their website, be an indicator as to whether or not they’re hiring great talent, I promise you. The salaries of the world are always looking for good talent. Many of you have been executives in your past, I promise you 1/3 of what you thought about was Do I have the right team? If I need to expand my team? How am I going to do it? What’s the skill set gap that I have right now. But if someone shows up on your doorstep that can help to bridge one of those gaps, you’re going to engage in that conversation. So forget about whether or not there’s a job posting. This is about engaging with someone who’s constantly thinking about talent.

31:40
Let me pause for a second happy to clarify anything that I said or mentioned or that along those lines.

Will Bachman 31:45
That was a masterclass say a couple of things first, if you have questions for Chad, go ahead and put them in the chat right now. Right now just put something in the chat. I if I you know, the thing I’m gonna take away from today is you don’t know me What a great line. You mentioned, Chad, you know, having that list of companies. Some a tip that I got from a career coach about 15 years ago, which I found so helpful. Still remember it is in you, when you have this list, the question to ask the killer question is not when you’re when you’re networking, or having a meeting is not Oh, do you know, can you introduce me to someone on this list? Or do you know these companies, but it’s, what do you think of this list? Which if you ask someone that question, it opens it up. And somebody might say, Oh, well, I know the CFO here. Or you should add company number 12 that you don’t have or you don’t want company number six, because the CEO is a jerk. So what do you think of this list? Was the magic question that I had. Next question for you chat is, you talked about going direct to the chief strategy officer? What is your recommendation for us on reaching out to folks like yourself at retain search firms? Should and you can talk specifically about Charles Eris? And should we, for those who are interested? Should we email a resume submitted online to your firm? Should people try to get a call with a busy recruiter? Or just send them the thing? What’s Should we try to get someone to introduce us that knows you? What’s the best way to interact with retain search firms to get on the radar?

Chad Oakley 33:25
Well, that’s such a great question. And I get this question a lot. And I hate the answer that I have to provide for this question. Because I will tell all of you that the truly, truly the best part of my job, and the best part, in my humble opinion of any good recruiter shop is talking to an individual one on one about their career. I love that conversation. It is the brainstorming about where they want to go, how can they get there? What are the steps that is going to take what are the skills they need to, to further their career is the best part of what I do. Charles Harris, you know, we probably we received dozens of, of resumes every single week. And everyone wants to have a one on one conversation because everyone wants to have a chance to kind of tell their story, why that they should be kind of at the top of the list all those types of things. And unfortunately, the vast majority of recruiters do not, do not have the time that they would like to have those one on one conversations. When you are in a market like this. And you know, an executive search all executive search firms right now are overwhelmed, I can just tell you that all of them are right or the good. The good ones are right, so they are overwhelmed with with demands. And so I’ve got to spend 120% of my time right now solely focused on finding the exact candidate that my client is looking for. What that means is that those conversations that I really enjoy and love to have, I’m not able to spend the time having those so when you reach out to a recruiter Do but it’s really really hot, it’s gonna be in this market, it will be very, very hard for recruiters say, absolutely. Let’s set up 30 minutes. And let’s talk and I want to hear all about your story kind of where you’re trying to go in your career. So send that email, attach the resume include, in that email, hey, I’m looking for this type of organization, this type of functional role in this type of geography, right? industry, function, geography, that’s how you should be thinking about it, right? industry function, geography, knowing that a really, really good recruiting firm holds on to that information like gold, right? the lifeblood of my company, Charles Eris, he is world class talent. So when I get a resume, I may not be able to grab time with that individual. But I assure you, your resume is immediately added to our system. Any notes you include are immediately added to our system. And tags are applied based on those keywords and things like that, that you mentioned, by the way, that’s not like us. We don’t AI might do it in the future. But today, it’s done manually. So we read through it, we say alright, this person loves Chicago loves consumer packaged goods and loves strategy. Anytime there’s a CPG strategy role in Chicago, you will get a phone call from us. And so do that, just but know that even though they that conversation is unlikely to happen, a great, great recruiting firm is doing the right things with your information, I can assure you of that. They will never just discard it. Even if even if you’re not a candidate can help them today. You’re a candidate that can help them in the future. That I can promise.

Will Bachman 36:36
Chad, you gave us some insight, which is fascinating that the top firms are telling people to come back to the office by the end of the summer. beyond those firms, what are you seeing with the job market in terms of location expectations? Are? Are you seeing some companies being willing to have people be remote forever? Or being like what are you seeing around hybrid options for people on this call? Who kind of maybe want to don’t necessarily want to go to the office every day? What are you seeing evolve with like hybrid or remote only kind of jobs?

Chad Oakley 37:12
Yeah, I think this is a great question. And I I don’t think that I think the jury is still out on this one for the broader economy. But we are seeing some trends that I’m better, better. Very, very interesting, right. So yesterday, for those of you who might be on some of McKinsey distributions, just yesterday, McKinsey issued their their charts of the day, if you will our chart of the week, if you will, which was a question that they asked all Brazilian CEOs, what is the future of work within your organization based on remoteness 3%, and only 3% of CEOs answered, full remote, everyone full remote only 3%. There was about 1/3 of the responses that said we will be a hybrid model with 50 to 75%, remote 25%. In the office, another 1/3 answered, we’re going to be a hybrid model with maybe 20 to 25%, remote 75% in the office, right, if you will, and then a small percentage 10% or 50% said we’re going back full time into the office. We see a little bit of everything right. So jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter, you may recall, he was kind of the first CEO when the pandemic happened, we stepped up and said, we’re going to go fully remote. You know, if you’re if you’re a Twitter employee, you never have to step foot in an office again. Right? That statement was made by him, right. But other companies right have said the exact opposite. They have said we believe in face to face, everyone is coming back, right, every last person will be in the office full time. And we’ve seen everything in between most companies, most companies today believe that a hybrid model is going to be best. And that hybrid model is not a Hey, twice a year, we’re going to ask everyone to fly back into corporate headquarters for a meeting. The hybrid model is every week, we expect these individuals to be in the office in some way, shape, or form. So most of our clients are not saying find someone and they can work anywhere they want to some of that is happening. But it’s a very, very small percentage. What a lot of our clients are saying is we want someone to be local, they can live an hour away, they can live an hour and a half away. But at least once or twice a week, we expect that person to be in the office for team meetings, face to face meetings and things along those lines. Now, if I’m a remote consultant, and I’m serving a company on a part time basis, or on a contract basis, rarely do I think that companies can expect you to actually be there every single week, all day all those types of things. We’re seeing a lot more flexibility on that particular front and I suspect many of you are seeing that level of flexibility as well. But right now, I do believe most companies are going to do a hybrid model and that hybrid model for most organizations will be you will be expected to be in an office physically some portion of a week. Is that is the current answer that we see in the marketplace that’s most, most prevalent.

Will Bachman 40:22
Shed, we had a question from Ana, and it’s about what if you are applying for a job that where you think that you’re strong, but he doesn’t really match your track record, it might be in a slightly different area than your track record suggests either your industry your functional track record, but it truly is an area that you’re excited about. How do you counsel candidates on in that kind of situation?

Chad Oakley 40:50
Yeah, do a mini project for free. Okay, say to that, or you’d like do a case study, volunteer to do a case study asked to do a case study. Right. So that’s by far the best way that that they will confirm that, yes, indeed, you can do the work that they need to be done. Honestly, it’s also probably a pretty good way for you to confirm that you can get the work done in the way that that you believe in as well. So I will encourage you to say, you know, hey, I’m applying to this role. Here’s my background, this position is going to be slightly askew, from what I’ve done in my past, but I’m passionate about it. I’m eager, I’m a lifelong learner, I’m going to dig into this, my sleeves are going to be really rolled up, I’m going to crush this assignment for you. And why don’t we do a live case? And by live case, I might say something like, Hey, why don’t you send over if you need to cleanse it? You certainly can. I’ll sign your NDA right, I’ll sign the non disclosure agreement, send over some of the data, send over some of that confidential stuff. Give me a week, give me two weeks part of the interview process. Let me go and actually do some work for you. And then present it back. Right? Yes, you’re doing some work for free? Yes, your time is very, very valuable. But if you are passionate about that opportunity, and joining that organization, and you are nervous about whether or not you’ll think they’ll choose you over someone else whose resume might look a little bit more robust. Say, the proof is in the pudding. Let me show you. Let me show you exactly what I can do for you. That is, by far the I think the best way to get that job that might be slightly askew. Yeah.

Will Bachman 42:25
Why one question we have Chad is for now, you know, legally, right? Age Discrimination is illegal. Right? We have one question, though, about how to hiring companies look at 50 plus aged candidates in the current market? And what is your guidance on for, you know, older candidates and to, you know, position themselves?

Chad Oakley 42:52
To make, you know, kind of come across to make sure you’re coming across that, yeah, I had the energy, I’m still willing to roll up my sleeves. You know. So, companies might be thinking, Oh, this older person, they’re just going to want to have a staff and we’re going to want to like, you know, direct stuff. And they may not be tech savvy or may not have the energy or something, they may be certain biases. How do you overcome those? And what’s the current? What are you seeing for candidates who are over 50? There has never been a better market that for candidates that are over 50 than right now. I’m just gonna tell you, it companies are absolutely expanding retirement dates. And there are thresholds within that companies need talent. If you were an older worker, I assure you, if you put yourself out there, there are going to be opportunities. Now, let’s talk about how do you present yourself in the best way, much in the exact same thing that we just talked about? The proof is in the pudding, show, work product. That simple. Show your work product, show what you have recently done, show the analysis that you have recently done, show how your sleeves were rolled up and look at look at this that I just completed, show that PowerPoint presentation that you that has all the content in it that you have just created. Show the spreadsheets right, whatever, whatever is the work product that you have been completing on behalf of your clients show it demonstrated that is what’s going to have them say, absolutely all day long bring this person on board, he will not even become a factor in those types of decisions. Right? And I think of course, we all know just bring the energy, right? Bring the energy, you know, so funny, everyone always says to me, you know, the big kind of common thing as well, you know, it’s an older person, are they really going to have the energy for the job? I gotta be honest with you. Most older people have the energy. I mean, when you really boil it down, it’s not about the energy level. Right? It is about how I’ve been keeping my skills sharp, right. You know, when I was coming along and consulting, there was one analytical program that we used for the most part Microsoft Excel, right? Microsoft Excel remains, you should all know it. remains the number one analytical tool that consultants use in today’s market. Bain, BCG, McKinsey, Excel and all the other firms Excel still number one, however, right? There are a very close second with alteryx and tableau. Five years ago, I never heard the word ultrix or tableau. Today, I hear alteryx and Tableau in every interview I do with a candidate. When it comes to analytics, I asked the following questions. Is it safe for me to assume that Microsoft Excel has been the primary analytical tool that you’ve used over the course of your career? That’s number one 100% of the time, the answer is yes. 100% of time. Okay. My next question is, besides Microsoft Excel, are there any other analytical tools in which you have gained a level of proficiency? Today 90% of time I hear alteryx. And I hear tableau, okay. Now, are these individuals, experts in those programs, they’re not right there. They have data scientists that are the experts. But they’re expert enough that when it’s midnight, and your presentation is the next morning at 8am, and the data scientists have all gone home for the night, you can function in that space. So if you are thinking about adding a couple of tools to your skill set, I will strongly recommend alteryx and Tableau alteryx is an analytical statistical program, Tableau is more of a data presentation, very similar to Power BI, Microsoft Power BI, if any of you have used Power BI. Yeah, definitely. Second that I know sometimes I’ll, I’ll talk to candidates that have been away from consulting for a while, or they left the firm while ago and their PowerPoint pages still look like McKinsey PowerPoint in like the early 90s or something. And their Excel might be a little rusty. So definitely brushing up on those areas can help for folks on this call that are interested, one area we haven’t talked about, but I think that your firm does some board searches for folks that would be interested in position themselves for a board role. Any any thoughts on how to position yourself? How do you find out about board roles get in the flow of those kinds of opportunities? Yeah, board board rules are complicated, you guys should know that we get hired for board roles very rarely, almost never. Okay. And the reason is, because everybody wants to serve on a board. It’s like the coolest, sexiest thing you can say, well, I’ve got that board meeting later that we you know, that just sounds cool. So everybody wants to serve on a board, right, you do a limited amount of work, you probably get paid pretty well, you’re at the cutting edge of an organization. And so organizations don’t tend to need a heck of a lot of help, you know, finding kind of interested board members and things like that, when they do, it’s because there is a highly technical skill or experience base that they’re looking for, for that particular position. So if you are passionate about Lourdes know that you are going to kiss a lot of frogs before you find an opportunity. Just because there’s an overwhelming amount of supply of individuals who want to serve on a board, the best thing that you can do is to engage with other board members on that board, right. So find out who is on the board of that organization. And reach out to those board members directly, much like we talked about before, how you would you would reach out to those individuals, there’s an email, there’s maybe a LinkedIn note, and then there’s probably a phone call, if you will. And that phone call probably sounds pretty darn similar to what we said before. Hey, so and so you don’t know me, we’ve never had a chance to meet before, but I see you’re on the board of XYZ company. And I have an interest in joining the board of that organization as well. This is what my background is, if you needed a board member that had expertise in X, Y, or Z, I could be a fantastic member of the board, love to have a chance to chat with you a little bit further about if there’s an opportunity, etc, etc. Right? That’s the manner by which you want to do that. But it’s, um, it’s directly reaching out to those individuals and engaging in that conversation.

Will Bachman 48:51
We had a couple questions from very beginning there in the mentimeter, about ESG and sustainability, climate. Other topics like that, what are you seeing in demand in that area?

Chad Oakley 49:06
You know, um, ESG is going to grow like crazy over the next 10 years, it’s gonna grow like crazy, because it is a global movement. And it’s also gonna grow like crazy, because the Biden administration has identified it as its number one area of focus, right, so a lot of dollars are going to be spent on this in the near future. That being said, where I’m not seeing any excess demand for that particular skill set or capability relative to other other skill sets as well. But if that is an area of focus for you, there are going to be a lot of companies that come out within that space to help organizations and there should be plenty of opportunity. But But, um, it’s actually maybe I say this, even if you don’t have an ESG skill set, per se, but you’re just passionate about it, there’s gonna be opportunities for you. But if you do have that skill set, there could be there could be really great opportunities, but right now, that has yet to attraction has not happened in a way where we’re like, oh my gosh, where are we gonna find all these people? We have not? We have not seen that happen in the marketplace just yet. I got a private question, which was, if you’re interested in going, like to a consulting firm for going back to some consulting firm, what’s the path to do that? Should you get a partner to introduce you or reach out to like the head of recruiting for North America? Or sort of just like, what’s the path into as a experienced hire? Yeah, great question. The answer is yes. And yes, right. So there’s no wrong answer for this right, the consulting firms today, I assure you, everyone, there’s every path available, you know, that that could head to the to the powers that be at that particular organization. I’m a bay, I’m a fourth, just so you know, the demand that also is taking place in workplace. I’m a Bain alumni. And earlier this year, I received an email from Manny Machado who is the new global Managing Director, that did not go to me, only to me, it went to every single alumni that basically said, calling all alumni, if anyone wants to come on back home. We are we’re hiring. That’s the first time in 20 years since I left Bain that I’ve received that email. So that’s that’s where they’re at. These firms are desperately trying to add to their rents, they’re out of capacity. So if you know if you know a partner, sure, if you know an analyst, I don’t care if it’s a brand new employee, you’ve just graduated from undergrad last week, but you happen to know it’s the daughter of one of your buddies, you can send that person a note that says Who would you know, Who should we engage with? At this particular stage? Right? I see in the chat that McKinsey has done that see what all the firms are doing this right, they’re sold out. So the word if that word has happened, I promise you that the word has gone to every consultant, every employee at those firms to say, hey, team, we need talent. Who are your friends? Who are your buddies? Who did you go to school with? Who do you think could be a good consultant? Let’s get those individuals in here for an interview. So you can probably touch base with almost anyone, and they will feed your application, your resume to the to the right team. If you know no one at that particular organization, absolutely go to recruiting, I can promise you, the recruiting engines, right? Go to the website, it’ll there’s got to be an apply here. Whatever that is, click that button. I promise you they are working overtime to get those applications process as fast as possible. So yep, just lots of opportunity there on that front. According Tim Maria Rios, let us know that McKinsey sent an email like that, and so did Ernst and Young. Thanks, Julie Newland, for letting us know about that. Perry’s if asked the question, what’s the market like for PE operating partner roles? Or just more broadly, if you’re interested in going into private equity? What are you seeing in the market there? And also what’s what’s what’s the path if different than than the SIDS what your suggestion was earlier? Yep. Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, operating partners are the fastest growing part of a private equity firm today, let’s go back 10 years ago, 10 years ago, operating partners did not exist at most, and most productive friends, right. So most private equity firms, they have their deal side guys, these are the, these are the hunters, right, I’m going after I’m gonna find a deal, I’m gonna slay that dragon, drag it back to camp, right, I’m gonna buy a company, I’m gonna buy that company, okay. And then that company would grow theoretically hold it for five or six years, and we’re gonna sell it at a premium and you know, reap the benefits of that. But what we started to realize what he’s probably starting to realize is there’s too much money, this still is an issue today, too much money, too much dry powder chasing too few deals. So the price of all these deals is going up. Now, suddenly, we really have to improve these companies, we really have to grow these companies to actually create a return on that invested capital. So the best way to do that is to bring in very smart, lots of consultants, because only people to say, How do I grow my top line? How do I improve my bottom line? How do I go into new channels, new products, new industries, new segments, whatever that might be, right? I’ve got to grow this portfolio company, if I’m ever going to get a return from my limited partners who have given me their trusted dollars for me to make money for them, right. So operating operating portfolio operations groups were born. And a lot of private equity firms have been adding these particular groups. We do a decent number of these searches every single year, the most popular operating partner, and I’m going to say, I’m not even going to call it partner right partners are the people that are at the very senior, the firm, but they’re hiring at all levels, right. But the most popular profile for an operations group and then a private equity firm is someone who has a very strong academic track record, probably went to a brand name school, either for their undergrad or for their MBA right probably needs to be a school that they would recognize. Number two, they have some experience. Some of what I’m going to call Academy consulting experience from a top to your firm. Don’t have to be Bain BCG, McKinsey, but it needs to be a firm that they would say I know those guys. I know they’re good and I feel comfortable, then that individual left consulting went into corporate America, in a Grand Slam home run scenario, they went to work for a nother private equity backed portfolio company. And they have moved from a strategy capacity into some kind of operations role. So maybe they join that company that firm in a functional position, but they’ve moved into maybe a p&l doesn’t have to always be a p&l doesn’t have to, but they, they went and ran some portion of the business, they ran supply chain, they ran pricing, they ran marketing, whatever it is, they did something. And now they want to elevate up to the private equity firm, and help that private equity firm across across the entire portfolio, and specific things. So if you’re a pricing expert, okay, find a private equity firm who does a ton of work and CPG, or retail, or that kind of stuff, I promise you, they are thinking like crazy about pricing across their entire portfolio. And they need pricing expertise. So we get those kind of calls. Hey, Chad, we’ve now got 10 companies in our portfolio that do X, Y, or Z, I need someone who can help me with this. It’s a Salesforce automation, pricing, consumer segmentation, new product launches, whatever it is, right. So there’s absolutely opportunities there. But they tend to want to recruit people that have a pretty robust background. One thing I will say, the travel in those jobs is extensive. Okay, traveling those shops is extensive, you will be on the road a lot. So a lot of those almost every private equity firm, as a Monday meeting, with the all hands meeting on Monday, in that meeting, they go through every every potential deal that they’re thinking about. And then they go through the entire portfolio, every person will speak and I’ll talk about what they’re going to accomplish that week. Around noon, maybe we have a team lunch at one o’clock, the operating people head to the airport, right? They’re flying to that portfolio company, where they’re working with the CEO, the CFO, the CEO of that portfolio company during the week to move the needle, and then they’ll come home on a Thursday, Friday, that kind of stuff. So it’s a it can be a heavy travel job. It’s and by the way, the cash compensation in those roles is always not as good as you would think. It’s the longer term payout, right, the carry that you receive in that private equity firm that’s worth a small fortune. But you’re you’re banking on the comp, so to speak in those roles, said I think this will need to be the last question. This comes from Sandeep lolly. To what extent you have insight on the enter the consulting market outside the US, is it similarly? Is it as hot outside the US as we see here? Yep, Sandeep, I wish that I could give you better insight than I probably can on this piece. We have been fortunate, you know, here in the United States demand over the last 20 years for recruiting Services has been very, very high. We have done some work internationally, but it’s been less than 5%. And I can’t unfortunate, I would be remiss if I tried to answer that question. I, I really can’t. Sorry, I don’t have a great, great besides to say that everyone wants to hire smart people and consultants tend to be the smartest people around.

Will Bachman 58:03
So Jan, to wrap up if folks wanted to, you know, get on the radar screen of Charles Eris, what would you suggest that they do? Yep. So my email address is in the chat right now. Anyone should feel free to send me an email at any time. Bear with me a little bit from a timing perspective on a response. But if do me a favor in your email, refer make make the reference numbers, make that reference. Okay. And I will get back to you. Okay. So I’d love to receive a resume if you if you just want to be on our radar screen. If you send me your resume and said, Hey, Chad, these are the industries that I’m passionate about. This is the type of functional role This is my geography that that makes you a big bright.on our radar screen and Charles Yes, so that would be a CAD You are a rock star. This has been a fantastic discussion. Super insightful. I will remember to say you don’t know me, but that’s That’s my line now. Thanks so much. And thanks, everyone for joining. We did record this. So if you want to listen to it again, or share this with someone, we’ll be sending out the video. And we will include Chad’s email and in in the notes that was sent out, I’ll send an email out with that info. So thank you so much for joining today. Jay. Thanks. Well, great to see everybody safe travels this weekend.

Related Episodes

jay-altizer-bain-alum-dallas-tx

Episode
440

Food Industry 101

Jay Altizer

Episode
439

Craig Beal on the Travel Business

Craig Beal

Episode
438

Rob Ristagno on Customer Segmentation

Rob Ristagno

Episode
437

Equity Research

Neeraj Monga