Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, CEO and founder of executive search agency Jack Hammer. (Supplied)
Supplied

Companies are having a hard time filling some senior executive positions with demand far exceeding supply, says Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, founder and CEO of executive search agency Jack Hammer

READ: Headhunted black executives are offered 10% more than white peers in SA – but the premium is shrinking

Executive search firms identify people who are not actively looking for jobs in order to headhunt them on behalf of employers with key positions to fill.

Goodman-Bhyat gave Business Insider South Africa a list of the six most in-demand executive jobs in South Africa right now. 

Chief Digital Officer (CDO)

A CDO focuses on transforming an organisation from a traditional "analogue" businesses to digital one.

“A CDO is a cross-functional leadership role, and will need to interface with and influence every area of an organisation,” Goodman-Bhyat says. The candidate, therefore, will need well-developed emotional intelligence and relationship skills in order to be successful in achieving the anticipated outcomes. 

Data Science Executive

A data science executive works through millions of lines of data in order to draw meaningful insights for a business, Goodman-Bhyat says.

“A data science executive is predictive in nature and can, among other things, allow you to successfully profile segments of your consumer base, predict behaviours.” She says the executive in question needs to marry the technical skills with the commercial acumen needed to translate data-driven insights into business strategy.

Innovation Officer

A woman presenting an idea in a work meeting.

An innovation officer is primarily responsible for managing the process of innovation and change in an organisation, as well as being coming up with new solutions. They are usually employed in businesses who want to undergo some radical shift or restructure, Goodman-Bhyat says.

They ask questions such as "is this a good proposition, does it fit with our ultimate business goals, is it worth the investment and is it going to radically improve our bottom line?"

“This isn’t just a thinker, this is an operational expert who knows how to see an idea through, or pulls the plug when necessary.” 

Agile Coach (R1.3 million p.a.

Goodman-Bhyat says an agile coach is a management consultant, trainer, project manager and even a bit of a therapist who is there to help businesses break bad habits and get them to their ultimate goal quicker.

"'Agile ways of working' is more than just a catchy phrase, it’s a fundamental shift in the way projects are executed on," she says.

"[They identify] roadblocks or problems as opposed to reaching the end of a quarter and discovering that the business plan your team has been working on for three months is a non-starter.” 

Customer Experience Executive (CXO) (R900,000 p.a.) 

With the rapid increase in the range and availability of the data that inform business strategy, the role of customer experience executive has been gaining prominence and traction, Goodman-Bhyat says.

“Customer experience has evolved from a soft focus to a core strategic one, requiring analytical prowess underpinned by high-level business and process improvement skills.” 

Impact Investment Executive

Image: Getty Images

Goodman-Bhyat says professionals who can successfully lead and grow companies with a dual mandate of economic and social returns are in high demand throughout Africa.

“Private equity, venture capital and debt funds who invest in Africa seek deal-makers and fund managers who can achieve more than just the financial bottom line, but also a positive social impact combined with sustainable growth,” she says.