Welcome to the Summer 2023-2024 edition of the Perceptor Newsletter!

It’s been several months since our last newsletter, and it’s high time we provided you with a market update.

Before we get into the recent market news, here is a reminder of who we are…

We are the experts in appointing top-tier leadership roles from MD/GM positions to leadership roles across Digital, Marketing, Product, CX, Communications, and Sales. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, we offer search services for permanent and interim hires. Our distinct advantage lies in the Perceptor Network developed over 25 years in the market and the expertise of our consultants.

Meet the team

Melissa Kingham, Principal Consultant – FMCG/Retail/Consumer Durables & Services, brings over two decades of executive recruitment experience across Melbourne, Sydney, and London, anchoring our operations in Melbourne. melissa@perceptor.com.au

Jo Cowley, Principal Consultant – FMCG/Retail/Consumer Durables & Services over 15 years executive search experience Jo works across roles in Sydney and Brisbane, bolstering our capabilities in the fast-moving consumer goods and services sectors. jo@perceptor.com.au

Richard Baker, Director of Financial Services & B2B Services, joined Perceptor in 2008. With an unparalleled network, Richard is an industry expert specialising in senior digital, marketing, communications, and sales assignments. richard@perceptor.com.au

Mark O’Connor, Founder/MD, boasts an extensive recruitment career that began in 1993, culminating in the establishment of Perceptor in 1999. Mark’s expansive network encompasses senior-level contacts across CEO, MD, and C-level roles, positioning him as one of Australia’s foremost executive search specialists. mark@perceptor.com.au

Taryn Gabriel, our Lead Researcher & Team Administrator, ensures operational efficiency and supports the seamless execution of our services. taryn@perceptor.com.au

Market Update

Rock and Roll Resonance!

“When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again
Do you, don’t you want me to love you…”

The Beatles’ iconic 1968 anthem, Helter Skelter, beautifully encapsulates the rollercoaster ride that is the 2023 recruitment market. It’s been quite the ride!

After a rather sluggish start to the year, we experienced a whirlwind four months of hiring activity from April to August, only to witness a noticeable downturn since. While we had expected conditions to gradually improve throughout the year, the reality has been quite different. So, what’s causing this?

The Seek Employment report offers a broad overview of the job market, revealing an 18% decline in job ads for September and October compared to the previous year. While this doesn’t precisely mirror the senior executive search market, we can confirm that demand has dipped even further in our field of expertise.

Why, you may ask? We believe that corporate Australia has hit the pause button on non-essential hiring while they grapple with the economic challenges stemming from the interest rate increases that commenced last year.

Looking Ahead: The Next 6 Months

The corporate recruitment market is gradually reverting to its pre-COVID norm, reminiscent of the market we knew before 2020. Different sectors now operate in line with their industry dynamics, and hiring decisions reflect medium to long-term strategies rather than short-term shifts in consumer behaviour. Unfortunately, this suggests that most companies are preparing for 2024 without taking immediate action.

Nonetheless, Perceptor has been engaged in discussions with companies across various sectors in recent weeks, indicating an appetite for change and the appointment of new roles in the months ahead. We remain optimistic about the medium to long-term outlook, even if the next six months might be relatively quiet. However, this subdued market means there is a big opportunity for those companies looking to hire, as discussed below.

The Senior Executive Landscape

Looking at the senior executive landscape in major sectors, stability has been the dominant theme since early 2020 when the pandemic struck. Most boards and CEOs prioritised stability over leadership and uncertainty. Over the past year, the gradual return to normality in most sectors has fostered consistency at the upper echelons, with a few exceptions. As we brace for tougher economic conditions, we anticipate the standard market shift and restructuring that typically occur during economic cycles. Perceptor has already observed early signs of this, with clients reaching out to discuss new organisational structures and potential needs in 2024.

Peak Interest Rates

It’s reasonable to assume that we have reached or are close to peak interest rates in both G7 and Australian economies. This is significant because it instils confidence in venture capital and private equity investors when valuing companies, thus encouraging investment. This is particularly good news for the tech scale-up sector and private equity turnaround sectors, both of which are substantial drivers of hiring in the Australian market. These sectors, known for attracting ambitious, growth-oriented talent, have been relatively quiet since mid-2022. It’s been a long wait for them to regain momentum but we believe these sectors will improve in 2024.

Hot Skills for 2024

Identifying the hottest skills in 2024 isn’t a simple task as we work across various industry sectors. However, several key attributes will be in high demand. Firstly, the ability to deliver tangible and measurable results in your field of expertise will be crucial. Secondly, the capability to think strategically and execute details when required, an attribute coined “porpoising” by McKinsey Consulting. Thirdly, the ability to harness data and technology in a sector-specific manner. Lastly, strong stakeholder management and communication skills will significantly contribute to your success.

The best time to hire in the last 5 years

With the current market pause in hiring, now is the best time to hire since early 2018. There is more favourable candidate availability, no competition from tech scale ups offering equity options and an open international market. Now is the best time to enter the market and maximise the chance of making an excellent appointment. While it may feel counter-cyclical, hiring when overall corporate demand is dropping results in the best outcomes. Candidates are eager to make a move and have less options making your hiring efforts more likely to succeed.

Thank you for entrusting Perceptor with your talent acquisition needs or even career advice. We are here to support you throughout this dynamic journey. If you have any questions or require our assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We wish you a prosperous holiday season and a stellar 2024 filled with exceptional talent and growth.



Hyundai hired Tom Chilcott as GM Digital Transformation & CX
Optus appointed Danielle Keighery as MD Marketing & Corporate Affairs
Kim McConnie has joined Queensland Tourism & Events as CMO
Peter Macgregor joined amaysim as CMO
Janani Krishnaurthy has joined amaysim as Director of Broadband


If you need help recruiting or for your own next career move please contact me on mark@perceptor.com.au

Follow us on LinkedIn and join the Perceptor Network #perceptornetwork

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