While the nation was hoping to put the Coronavirus in the rear-view mirror and return to normalcy, the reality is that we may be living with COVID-19 restrictions—and their impact on the defense industry—for many months to come. For the defense industry, finding the best professional team requires a successful executive search strategy that recognizes the shifting hiring landscape and the challenges it presents.
As industry executives know, recruiting and hiring the best candidates with essential aerospace and defense expertise and credentials has never been easy. Identifying executives with the necessary levels of security clearances and technical background is challenging and competitive—companies with those same needs are chasing the same candidates and must find ways of differentiating themselves to attract the right workforce.
The global pandemic has made this even more competitive, as the best executives may not fit into the old model that defense companies have relied on, such as in-person work requirements, an older executive team often constructed from the ranks of retired military, and a male-oriented workplace culture. In the post-COVID-19 world, workplace needs have changed and require a more expansive approach to what will work with these valued executives, as qualified candidates will have more options and expectations.
Here are just a few trends we are seeing the hiring market:
- Flexibility. Executives at the highest levels of the company want the same flexible work hours to meet the needs of their families and lifestyles that they enjoyed during the pandemic. An 8:00 to 5:00 workday may not be as attractive as being able to choose hours for kid’s events as schedules begin to expand once again. Successful companies will recognize this and offer flex scheduling that works for the executive as well as the organization.
- Diversity. Finding the top women candidates as well as minorities and persons of color is essential. Companies looking for the best executive hires need to offer a workplace that welcomes this diversity.
- Benefits. We see time and time again that the decision of which job to take comes down to company benefits. Offering industry-leading packages is becoming essential to recruiting the top executive candidates who are reviewing multiple opportunities. Progressive healthcare, 401k programs, and vacation and sick leave policies are essential, but don’t ignore job retention programs that reward longer commitment with additional benefits.
And as always, make sure you’ve partnered with the right defense industry executive search firm that understands the market and can help identify and hire the best executive candidates.