INSIGHT | ‘New Normal’ for Senior Executives?

There’s been so much discussion about the ‘new normal’ and the long term impacts of the pandemic. We recently reached out to a senior executives in the media and entertainment industries to collect their thoughts on their current career situation and future impact the pandemic may have. Hundreds of senior executives responded and there were some genuine surprises, so we wanted to share those with the wider community of senior executives.

We found that 40% of full-time executives experienced little to no impact on their role this year, while just over 20% experienced a pay-cut (in either salary or bonus). An additional fifth of respondents found themselves handling additional responsibilities as other staff were laid off and budgets constrained. The large employers appear to have cut roles much faster than their smaller counterparts, with the results showing senior executives at large companies (200+ employees) faced three times are likely to face redundancy than those working at a SME. Some of this can be put down to restructures taking place at many of the large media businesses.

And what about the future? How confident are senior executives about their careers? Well, to start off with good news, our research found that two-thirds of senior executives were confident about their career prospects. However when it came to the pandemic impact on their prospects, many expressed concern surrounding the economic situation. Over a third of those surveyed thought salary packages would be different in a post-pandemic world. However, more alarming was almost 50% of senior executives expressing concern about finding new opportunities in the future.

It’s remarkably high and there were several clues on the rationale behind this, most notably the restructuring taking place across large media groups (Disney, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia), plus the economic situation over the next few years and its clear to see why these underlying concerns exist. Yet, the media and entertainment industries are looking rather strong and they’re set to be one of the areas to recover the quickest  – late last year, we highlighted the estimates for the Media and Entertainment industry 2021 recovery.

Part of that recovery will come from the return of closed industries (cinemas, arts, culture) but one thing for certain in this pandemic has been the digital acceleration and transformation. Businesses now need new leadership to transform their business models in the new digital age. Groups are turning to digital-based revenues more than ever to ensure the future looks bright, hence experience and leadership in digital businesses has become highly sought-after. Our consultants have also been conducting more searches in partnership with streaming platforms than ever before.

Finally, over half of senior executives now believe flexibility will be the standard in future career opportunities. Whether its working at different hours to meet family commitments, or working from home more often, senior executives clearly see the future  will incorporate greater flexibility. However, leaders should heed the concerns raised by PwC in their recent Remote Work Survey, highlighting the growing divide between employers and employees expected office return dates.

Undoubtedly, there are concerns about future career prospects, however we’re confident that strong senior executives continue to be in high demand as businesses shift their businesses in the new digital age. New skillsets may be needed, but here at Lumina, we’re happy to advise senior executives to secure their next leadership position.

Lumina Search conducts senior and board-level searches on behalf of global media businesses. Our expertise and experience means our consultants have an extensive network of senior executives with whom this research was conducted.