Category: Executive Search

The five most important HR trends in 2023

Not all HR trends and currents that will occupy us in 2023 are new. Topics such as work-life balance, mental health, corporate culture, diversity, but also coaching or mentoring qualities of managers have been with us for some time. Add to this the rising cost of living and crisis management in the face of many pressures and the worsening world situation. We have summarized what we consider to be the five most important trends.

HR trend: strategic succession planning is becoming increasingly crucial

Few companies plan for the replacement of non-age-related vacancies at the management level in the long term. Often, succession planning is only considered on an ad hoc basis when the vacancy becomes known. Then the time pressure is correspondingly great and the desire to quickly fill the vacant top position is correspondingly urgent.

This can result in a less-than-optimal selection. Added to this is the tight candidate market. It is rare to find someone quickly whose profile fits the long-term corporate strategy and at the same time meets the requirements that arise from topics such as new work, agile working and digitalization. He or she should also be crisis-proof.

In 2023, there will be much discussion and argument about succession, especially in medium-sized family businesses. Therefore, make important decisions in good time: Continuation or closure? Are there internal talents who could take over with appropriate coaching? Do you know these talents? Do you use tools such as management diagnostics? Or should the company be sold?

Flexible working or: Is “new work” still new?

Much has been said in recent years about the HR trends “new work”, home office or workation. In 2023 we will finally have arrived in the world of flexible working. This may mean bringing employees back to their desks at the parent company. Because the longing for face-to-face communication and “analogue collaboration” will be unbroken this year.

“If all digital knowledge workers compete as lone warriors on digital platforms for the next job and their appointments only differ by the zoom window, there will be no sense of community and thus no bond,” writes the German Association of Human Resources Managers in its HR Theses for 2023. Corporate culture is also in danger of being lost.

One thing is clear: companies that can offer their existing and potential new employees flexible working, sufficient participation in company life and at the same time the desired self-determination will have a decisive advantage when it comes to finding, hiring and retaining the best talent.

Skills shortage and no end in sight

This brings us to the crucial HR trend that will occupy CHROs in 2023, and not only in Germany: the shortage of skilled workers, which has rather already become a general shortage of employees. According to calculations by the Boston Consulting Group, the labor shortage costs the Federal Republic of Germany 86 billion euros annually.

Efforts are already being made to recruit workers in other countries. Companies specializing in this area are cooperating with chambers of trade to bring together trainees from abroad and German companies. The federal government wants to make it easier for skilled workers to immigrate to Germany and work here, even without a recognized qualification. If this succeeds in the long term, everyone involved would benefit – not least because diversely positioned companies are much more innovative and better equipped for the future. All this is already practiced in many countries around the world. Germany still has some catching up to do here.

“Hoarding” talent

Another HR trend that could increase in 2023, at least in certain sectors, is so-called “fridge hiring”. In other words, companies are “stockpiling” talent, even if they don’t currently have a tailor-made position on offer. This helps them get ahead of others who also want to fill their talent pool. This strategy could lead to HR departments becoming more open to CVs and profiles that do not necessarily fit the norm. However, ‘hoarding’ talent is certainly a trend that only relatively large companies can afford.

Let data do the talking

The pressure on HR departments is enormous. Those who can use HR technologies to simplify and speed up processes, offer targeted training, and underpin decisions with strategically analyzed data are well placed to benefit. This frees up more time for core HR issues and is also an asset that can be used to score points in the competitive labor market.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

InterSearch Executive Consultants is one of the leading personnel consultancies and specializes in the recruitment of executives (Executive Search) and systematic analyses of executive potential (Management Audit / Executive Diagnostic). Founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personalberatung”, the company is now represented in Germany with three offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Cologne and was a founding partner of InterSearch Worldwide in 1989. Today, InterSearch operates worldwide in the field of executive search with over 600 consultants in more than 50 countries with more than 90 locations.

Sustainability – A Competitive Edge In Talent Acquisition

By Harris Karaolides, Global Lead, InterSearch Worldwide Energy & Sustainability Practice Group, in cooperation with the practice group experts.

Go ahead, ask a headhunter what her job was like in 2022, and there’s a good chance the first thing she will talk about is the shifting priorities of candidates. That is unless she starts complaining about the alarming increase in the number of counter-offers, of course.

Anyway. Only a couple of years ago, when considering a job change, candidates were primarily interested in career growth, a wider scope of responsibilities, and improved compensation. But post-COVID, and I don’t think this is a coincidence when a headhunter calls a candidate, we have noticed that the candidate’s top questions (usually in this order) are:

  1. Flex-work related: Can I work from home at least two days a week? Can I work from anywhere in the world for a couple of weeks every year? (extremely popular question in expat-heavy locations such as Dubai).
  2. Job security related: Why is the role vacant? How long was the previous guy in the role for?
  3. Sustainability related.

But what is Sustainability, exactly, and why is it important?

Sustainability refers to the ability to maintain or continue a certain process or state, usually in the context of the environment and natural resources. In practice, it often involves balancing economic development with the protection of natural resources and the well-being of future generations. In other words, and to be a bit cynical about it, companies must give up some of their short-term profits to be branded as “sustainability-friendly” if they want to be around in the 30’s too, especially those companies targeting younger millennials and zoomers, either as customers or as employees.

Sustainability can include practices such as reducing waste and pollution, conserving water and energy, protecting biodiversity, and promoting social and economic equity, and these practices have created new types of jobs that simply did not exist a few years ago. For a company to recruit for such sustainability-related roles can present a number of challenges. Some of these include:

  • Limited pool of candidates: Sustainability is a relatively new field and there may be a limited pool of candidates with the necessary skills and experience.
  • Lack of understanding: Many job seekers may not fully understand what sustainability roles entail, making it difficult for employers to attract the right candidates.
  • Specialized skills: Sustainability roles often require specialized skills, such as knowledge of environmental regulations and experience with sustainable practices, which can be difficult to find in candidates.
  • Unclear job descriptions: Sustainability roles can be broad and encompass many different responsibilities, which can make it difficult to clearly define the job and attract the right candidates.
  • Competition: Sustainability roles are becoming increasingly popular, and as a result, employers may face competition from other companies when recruiting talent.
  • Lack of perception of career advancement: Some candidates may not see sustainability roles as providing a clear path for career advancement, making it difficult to attract and retain talent.
  • Cost: Sustainability roles may require a higher level of investment for companies, which can make it difficult for them to attract and retain talent.
  • Lack of standardization: There is currently no standard way of defining and measuring sustainability skills and experience, which can make it difficult for companies to evaluate candidates.
  • Lack of diversity: There is a lack of diversity in sustainability roles, particularly among minorities and low-income communities, which can make it difficult for companies to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

One example can be found in the field of renewable packaging. Juhani Konu, Managing Partner of InterSearch Finland, says: “As the large global brand owners in packaged consumer goods become more aware of the effect sustainability has on the corporate image within the society, they start highlighting the importance of their packaging. As generally known, traditional plastic packaging is a major source of waste. As a result, there’s a large new global business area for suppliers who specialize in producing packaging that is recyclable and contains less plastic.”

According to Juhani, an example is companies that specialize in wood fiber products and are investing in this new technology. But to really find a market and success for their solutions, they need to recruit new talent who can find business for them: “These business development roles are difficult to recruit for, as the position requirements combine sales skills with a rather deep technical understanding. Furthermore, these positions are often stand-alone as they are located close to the market, but often in a distance from the production facilities and most of the internal stakeholders. Such companies often seek out the services of a search professional for these key positions, as the search is usually too specialized and difficult to conduct through internal resources.”

“Steel, mining, paper, cement, and even beer manufacturing are good examples of industries that have been pioneers when it comes to creating and recruiting for sustainability roles”, adds Malena Juarez, Managing Partner of InterSearch Mexico. “This is because of their need to optimize resources, water, and energy for instance, but also because they are constantly in the public eye about how they behave in reducing their footprint.” Ana Ber, Managing Partner of InterSearch Romania, confirms she has noticed an increase in requests from her clients across Central-Eastern Europe for a variety of new roles/job titles that are sustainability-related. These include:

  • Energy efficiency auditors: These professionals assess energy use in buildings and identify areas for improvement to reduce energy waste and increase efficiency.
  • Green building architects and designers: These professionals design buildings that are energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable, using techniques such as passive solar heating, natural ventilation, and green roofs.
  • Sustainable energy project managers: These professionals oversee the planning and implementation of sustainable energy projects, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget.
  • Sustainable energy policy experts: Governments and organizations need experts who can develop and implement policies that promote sustainable energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Says Ana: “For jobs like these the talent pool is still limited, and executive search firms like InterSearch can add a lot of value to companies looking to attract qualified candidates as we transition to a more sustainable future. The right search partner should have sustainability expertise and should support the hiring organization in building a diverse and inclusive workforce, contributing to a more sustainable and socially responsible business. Your search partner should have the ability to identify candidates with a passion for sustainability and the motivation to make a positive impact and support you in benchmarking sustainability performance, identifying areas for improvement, and recommending candidates with the skills and experience to drive change. By providing ongoing support to the clients as they implement sustainability strategies, your search partner helps ensure that sustainability remains a top priority and that progress is being made towards sustainability goals.”

For more information, please contact our Energy & Sustainability experts or read the Practice Group e-brochure.

About InterSearch 

InterSearch Worldwide is a global organization of executive search firms consistently ranked amongst the largest retained executive search practices in the world. InterSearch is currently operating with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries. Established in 1989, InterSearch prides itself on carefully selecting the best executive search firms to partner as members of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach, but local impact.


We can place cookies on your device when you use this website. In order to place any cookies on your device other than cookies that are strictly necessary, we need your prior consent. Detailed information on the cookies we use and their purposes can be found in our cookie statement. However, we already clarify that on this website we make use of the categories of cookies set out below.

If you agree to the use of all categories of cookies set out below, click on ‘Accept all cookies’. If you have certain preferences, click on ‘Cookie and Privacy Settings’ to enable and disable cookies per category. If you don’t want us to use any cookies that are not strictly necessary, click on ‘Decline’.

Privacy Settings saved!
Cookie and Privacy Settings

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are strictly necessary for the proper functioning of this website, for purely technical reasons or to provide you with a service that you explicitly requested. Since these cookies are necessary for the proper functioning of this website, you cannot refuse their use.

Preserves user session state across page requests.

Decline all Services
Accept all Services