2022 – the Peak and the Valley

From a leadership hiring perspective (Senior Vice President-level and above), 2022 represents both the peak of executive leadership demand in Q1 and the return to pre-pandemic levels in Q4. Looking at executive searches across all industries, newly opened searches in Q4 were down nearly 30% from the peak of Q2. The deteriorating conditions in both public and private markets — driven by interest rate hikes, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — have all directly correlated with the slowdown in executive-level hiring. According to Pitchbook and Thrive, a one quarter lag exists between public and private market fluctuations and leadership hiring. If bear market conditions persist, executive-level hiring will slow while companies transition from growth to cost-cutting. 

Financial Services Still Riding a High

Within the small- and mid-cap financial services sector, demand has remained relatively consistent since the beginning of 2021. While the search demand has remained consistent, we have seen increased revenue driven by increased compensation packages. 

Below are the key statistics from the Financial Services Practice in 2022. The practice serves small- and mid-cap financial institutions including banks, credit unions, financial technologies, and investment banks.

2022 Executive Search In Numbers - A Year In Review

Key Takeaways

Remote and Hybrid Working Environments – A Currency for Candidates and a Cost-Savings for Employers (Although Our Clients are Clamoring for More Return to Work)

Remote and hybrid working arrangements comprised more than half of the executive level searches we executed.
24% Remote
28% Hybrid
48% In-Office
The takeaway here is that remote and hybrid working arrangements are a massive currency for candidates. The proof is that searches conducted for remote roles were completed 14% faster; placing candidates into roles more than two and a half weeks sooner. We are seeing a groundswell of momentum in the Return to Work movement and we anticipate seeing completely remote roles on the decline, and companies mandating at minimum three days a week in-office.

Compensation – On the Rise

As noted earlier, our financial services practice experienced consistent demand over 2021 and 2022, yet 2022 saw a 14% increase in revenues. This was driven by the increase in compensation.

Cross referencing McDermott + Bull’s data with that of McKinsey and Thrive, we can triangulate that


30% compensation increase

Nearly one-third of job-changers at the executive level are seeing a compensation increase of 30%, with an average increase of 24%.


13% Premium on in-market candidates versus out-of-state

In-state hires have become more expensive, experiencing a 13% premium over remote candidates. This further represents the cost-savings that accompany remote candidates.

22% Premium on “Large Company” Candidates

Candidates hired from “large” companies (with 1,000+ employees) come with a 22% premium over candidates from smaller businesses. Larger companies have combatted wage inflation, not with increased base salaries  as those have remained relatively static  but with larger variable components. Thus, candidates coming from larger companies have inflated compensation expectations.

What Does the Future Hold?

While the Financial Services sector has not yet been impacted by the hiring slow down, it undoubtedly will. We see Human Resources, Marketing, and Product departments as the three functional verticals that will experience the deepest cuts and the greatest slowdown in demand. Financial services, in general, has not lost as many people to other industries and is retaining its talent. However, we continue to see that talent move within the industry.

Two states we serve heavily are California and Washington, and both have seen consecutive years of population decline. Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina have seen growth for years, but even in the West, we’re seeing transplants move to Idaho and Nevada where they will experience cost of living decreases and corresponding increases in quality of life.

What can our clients do:

Align compensation offers with the market standard

Find avenues to accommodate flexible working arrangements

Ensure high-potential employees have career maps and see opportunities for advancement

Brandon Biegenzahn

About the Author

Brandon Biegenzahn

Brandon holds dual roles as President of McDermott + Bull and Chair of the firm’s Financial Services Practice. As President of McDermott + Bull, Brandon leads day-to-day operations for the firm as well as the strategic buildout of the firm’s team of executive search managing directors. As Chair of the firm’s Financial Services Practice Group, he is a partner to an array of financial services firms, including investment banks, commercial banks, private banks, credit unions, asset managers, institutional investors, and fintech companies.