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7 Talent Trends for 2024 and Beyond

7 Talent Trends for 2024 and Beyond

2024 promises to be a landmark year in the continuing redefinition of talent – human, artificial, C-Suite, board, mid-level, high-potential, and front line.

And it is changing so fast: if you blink, you can miss a trend that can significantly impact your business. As a boutique, global executive search firm dedicated to providing our clients with insights into the talent trends of today and tomorrow, we stay connected to multiple external networks to identify and plan for trends that some may miss.

Each year, throughout the recruiting, placement, and on-boarding process, we speak with thousands of employers, candidates, C-Suite leaders, board members, academics, economists, and experts across all sectors to source ideas. We also host global leaders as guests on over 60 podcasts, as well as webinars, board academy boot camps, and our breakfast and dinner speaker series.

From these conversations, and our experience placing board directors and corporate leaders, we have distilled “7 Talent Trends for 2024 and Beyond” for your consideration. We welcome the opportunity to discuss them with you.

1. DEI Is Not Dead, It Has Just Gone Underground; Ignore It at Your Peril

The diversification of the population and the global workforce has neither stopped nor slowed down. In fact, it has accelerated appreciably and corporate outperformance has been strongly linked to having more diverse voices and teams in the room.

As a result, the far-sighted leaders we work with are actively looking to reflect diverse constituencies throughout their ranks. We see this continuously – in the boardroom, C-Suite, middle leadership ranks, and among high-potentials and front-line workers – and have seen no diminution of the trend. Top leaders know that to be an employer of choice, and to attract and retain the best and brightest employees, they must ramp up their diversity efforts, not tamp them down.

And, specifically with respect to the impact of women, for over two decades, multiple research studies have shown that more women in the C-Suite and boardroom result in significantly greater financial and reputational performance. McKinsey, The Peterson Institute, Catalyst, Credit Suisse Research Institute and others all document this correlation. Again, top leaders are embracing the business case, not dismissing it.

While various ideas go in and out of favor, there are some truths that stay true regardless. Winning companies are successful because they represent all their constituents. We believe that the wisdom of offering our clients an exceptional and broad range of candidates not only strengthens their organizations, but that of our social fabric as well.

Without excluding any groups, we at Ellig Group salute, support and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and excellence. We are proud to say DEI is our DNA.

2. It’s No Longer Only About Business – It’s Personal

The pandemic created seismic, irreversible changes in organizations, effectively redefining the workplace and agreements between employees and their employers.

At the height of the pandemic we experienced the “great resignation,” as there was a disconnect between what employees wanted and what employers would commit to. It is fair to say that many employers were caught off guard by the ease and velocity with which these resignations took place, accompanied by statements from many that they were “not going to take it anymore.” And while resignations have slowed down and layoffs heated up, there is still not enough super talent available, and it is still a sellers’ market. The balance of power has shifted.

The people we interview know they have choices and they are specifying where they want to spend their time, and with whom.

The revelation every employer must acknowledge is that personal choices now come before business, and to attract and retain the best talent, leaders must make the business personal and personalized to each individual. The onus is on the buyer, not the seller.

3. The Two-Way Deal

So, the winners in any war for talent focus on what it will take to attract and retain great employees. Today, employees are looking for a two-way deal from an organization that values them as a person.

What does this mean? Contracts for CEOs and high-priced executives have always existed, but now organizations are finding they must consider making a deal with all levels of employees. Do location, pay, perks, speed of execution, advancement opportunities, or the nature of the work motivate them? What is at the heart of what they want, and how will employers know?

We are finding that most employees, especially those who are in high demand, don’t just want promises, they want to see support of their careers: removing obstacles so they can succeed, and then providing them with intrinsic as well as extrinsic rewards. More employees want more assurances, giving them comfort that they will reap the benefits they are looking for, and that were discussed verbally. Companies will need to get ahead of the curve and ensure creative, flexible policies are in place so that bureaucracy does not get in the way of progress and success.

And, employers will want to ensure that employee engagement is maximized. That will not happen unless there is a two-way commitment – success for the company and success for the employee.

4. Women and Diverse Leaders: Capturing Unprecedented Corner Office Opportunities

When opportunity knocks, who will be there to open the door? This is the question all ambitious, talented individuals should ask themselves. For women and diverse leaders, this is an unprecedented time to showcase their leadership qualities. With so many employees opting to work remotely, the employees who actually show up in the office – next to their leaders who also show up – will have more opportunity with less competition.

They can be in on the latest decisions, be there next to the corner office to pitch in on projects, gain trust, and get to know the boss even better during formal and informal times. Being visible matters and being there for prime time matters even more.

The competition has never been so complacent, so the time is now to show up, shine, and take a seat closer to the corner office.

5. The CEO’s Top Team – Never More Critical

The role of the CEO has become much more complex and complicated. It requires not only razor-sharp competencies, skills and attributes but an uncompromising robust assessment of risks, market conditions, strategic focus, outstanding people and resources needed to succeed.

Addressing today’s perfect storms cannot just rest on the shoulders of the CEO; it takes the full expertise of his or her team, including the board, to weigh in with their knowledge. The CEO and all leaders need to swim in many lanes – multi-specialists who can anticipate and pivot as market conditions change to ensure the company’s strategy is on track for succession.

Surveys of boards confirm there is room for improvement. Evaluations of C-Suite executives confirm the same: Given the exponential rate of change occurring, C-Suite roles need to be redefined and the occupants reevaluated. I often ask CEOs, “If you could start from scratch and design your perfect organization, what would it look like?” and “Who do you want in that foxhole with you? If it is not all of your current direct reports – why not and who should replace them?”

When a board evaluates the CEO, they need to also evaluate how that CEO is evaluating his or her senior leadership team. Too many CEOs have hastened their own demise because they were late in making needed people changes and building bench strength for succession. The CEO and the board must be dedicated and loyal to the fiduciary responsibility of their position first, not the person.

6. AI as an Activist: The Board of Directors’ New AI Partner

What if company boards could engage in an ongoing, informed conversation about the company’s structure compared to its competitors of today and tomorrow? What if the boardroom had a robot “Board Secretary,” there for the purpose of providing “what if” scenarios about global market trends and client preferences, able to synthesize millions of data points to be considered when making critical decisions? The robot would not make the decisions but take complex, complicated data and turn it into usable information.

If boards don’t have this capability, will activist shareholders and customers be there with this information to challenge the board? According to proprietary research in Equilar, as of March 2024, an estimated 115 U.S. publicly traded companies have not added a new director for over 5 years, and 181 companies have a median board tenure of 15 years or more. How well-equipped can these stewards of our investments be? The relevancy factor is a real risk factor that every organization should be evaluating, not just for a good proxy narrative. Robust decision-making must be data and judgment-driven, with the analytics turned into viable, up-to-date information and expertise. Even the most highly regarded boards could be enhanced by having a designated AI partner.

7. Confronting the Elephants in the C-Suite

For those of us who have been a C-Suite executive and/or worked with those executives, we wonder how some execs got to where they are. They are not necessarily bad – though some are. It is more about having the wrong person in the wrong job at the wrong time.

In today’s environment, where pivoting, being agile during change, and adjusting the strategy are paramount, some just stay the course and keep their trunks down. Those are the elephants – big, lumbering, and taking up a lot of space. It happens in every organization, and it not only hinders shareholder value, it erodes the culture, causing the best people to leave. In doing a culture scan – which all organizations should do – CEOs and boards need to face those elephants even if they are one of them. Large investors can play a big role in meeting with boards and managers to do an “elephant hunt.” To delay will only result in outsiders wanting a seat on your board to control what is not being controlled by the incumbent.

While challenging, these trends are great opportunities for all leaders in the C-Suite and boardroom to shine, for cultures to grow, and for employees to be recognized. Like the author and poet James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”


Janice Ellig
Chief Executive Officer

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Tonie Leatherberry was at Deloitte for nearly three decades where she was the principal architect of The Board Leadership Forum and the NextGen CEO Academy, each of which has had a meaningful impact, ultimately placing more than 70 Black leaders into executive-level and board roles. As Chair Emeritus of the Executive Leadership Council, she created the Chairman’s Council of Academic Achievement to address achievement gaps for students of color in America’s educational systems, and as President of the Deloitte Foundation, the mission was to drive initiatives to develop future leaders through education. She is a passionate leader who has devoted much of her professional life to creating opportunities for women and people of color. Tonie is Lead director for Direct Digital Holdings, and a Board Director at Zoetis Inc. and American Family Insurance.

Cindie Jamison was elected Chair of the Darden Restaurants Board (NYSE: DRI) in September 2023, having served as a Director since October 2014 as part of a complete Board replacement slate through Starboard Value’s proxy fight. Since 2013, she has also served on the Office Depot Board (NASDAQ: ODP) where she Chairs the Audit Committee and is a member of the Compensation Committee. In May 2015, she joined the Big Lots, Inc (NYSE: BIG) Board, and became Chair in May 2022. In May 2023 Cindie stepped down from the Tractor Supply Company Board (NASDAQ:TSCO), a position she has held since 2002, where she was Chairman of the Board, after serving as Lead Director, and Chair of the Audit, Compensation & Corporate Governance Committees. Cindie joined the Board of Save the Children in February 2024.

David Chun, Founder and CEO, Equilar, Inc., has led Equilar since its inception to become one of the most trusted names in the corporate governance community. David has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Players in Corporate Governance” by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Disruptor Award by 2020 Women on Boards and Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business. David speaks publicly on corporate governance and board diversity matters, including events hosted by The Conference Board, Deloitte, EY, HR Policy Association, KPMG, NACD, NASDAQ, NYSE, The Society for Corporate Governance and Stanford’s Directors’ College. Prior to founding Equilar, David was a Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, a global investment bank that has since merged with Credit Suisse. Before DLJ, David was a management consultant with Bain & Company and also Kenan Systems, a telecom software developer acquired by Lucent Technologies. David serves on the boards of the Commonwealth Club of California, PGA Reach, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG). He is on Nasdaq’s Center for Board Excellence Advisory Board and Catalyst’s Women on Board Advisory Council. David is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Past Chair of the SF Bay Chapter, a founding member of the Council of Korean Americans (CKA) and a former board member of the Wharton Center for Entrepreneurship and the Asian Pacific Fund Community Foundation of San Francisco.

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Priscilla Sims Brown serves as President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, a full-service bank, lender and investment manager with a century-long commitment to advancing positive social change. Amalgamated Financial Corp., the holding company for the Bank, is the first publicly traded (NASDAQ: AMAL) financial institution to be a public benefit corporation. Priscilla guides Amalgamated Bank in championing social responsibility through values-based banking, customer-centric services, and mission focused lending, serving individuals and organizations, including climate groups, foundations, labor unions, advocacy groups, political campaigns, and other socially responsible businesses, who care that their deposits are put to work for good. Priscilla is also dedicated to addressing environmental and social justice issues at Amalgamated Bank. More than 60% of the Bank’s lending and select balance sheet investments are high-impact through affordable housing, nonprofits, and climate solutions. Named one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking in 2023 by American Banker, Priscilla has been featured in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, PBS, and CNBC Changemakers, among others.

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Myra Biblowit is the President Emeritus of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the nation’s highest-rated breast cancer research organization with a mission focused exclusively on funding the world’s most promising research. Myra took the helm as BCRF President in 2001 and, after 22 years, retired in April 2023. During Myra’s tenure, BCRF funding enabled breakthroughs in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, metastasis, and survivorship. Myra was widely recognized for leading one of the most impactful, financially efficient, and transparent nonprofits in the United States. Prior, Myra was Vice Dean for External Affairs at NYU Medical Center where she headed the Development, Alumni Relations and Public Relations departments. Previously she led the capital campaign as Senior Vice President of the American Museum of Natural History. Earlier, Myra served as Executive Vice President of the Central Park Conservancy. Myra is a member of the Board of Directors of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the Housewares Charity Foundation and the Historic House Trust of New York City. She is a member of the New York Women’s Forum, the Yellow for Pink National Council, Extraordinary Women on Boards and serves on the Advisory Board of Project Hope for Ovarian Cancer Research & Education.

Truett Tate is Chairman of a number of Boards, including Reference Point, TLC Lions, Thinkably and the recently retired Chairman of QBE, NA. Truett Tate is also Director of the DEVClever board. Truett has a long and esteemed global executive history including most recently as CEO of ANZ USA, Europe, Japan, Korea and the Middle East. Immediately prior, he was Group Executive (and Board member) at Lloyds Banking Group, responsible for Wholesale & International Banking (Including Global Wealth and International Retail) across the United Kingdom, the Americas and worldwide and prior spending 27 years at Citigroup where he held a variety of senior roles including corporate banking business across each of its regional geographies. Truett’s long board history includes Virgin Group, Ten Group, the BITC, BAB Inc along with many other charitable and academic organizations. A speaker, guest lecturer, philanthropist and professional coach/mentor, Truett has seemingly bottomless energy and passionate interest in a safer, more just, more humane and more sustainable world.

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Janice Reals Ellig

Chief Executive Officer

As the head of the Ellig Group, Janice is dedicated to increasing the placement of women and diverse candidates on corporate boards and in C-suites by 2025. Janice joined the legacy firm in 2000 and became Co-Chief Executive Officer in its transition to Chadick Ellig in 2007; she assumed sole ownership of the company as the Ellig Group in 2017 with a new focus on Reimagining Search. Prior to her career in executive search, Janice spent 20 years in corporate America at Pfizer, Citi and Ambac Financial Group, an IPO from Citibank, where she was responsible for Marketing, Human Resources, and Administration.

Heralded by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice is often consulted for her expertise and her commitment to gender parity, inclusion, and diversity. She frequently appears at speaking engagements and as a media guest, and she has penned multiple articles for outlets such as Directors & Boards, Directorship, Corporate Director, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.com. Janice also co-authored two books: Driving The Career Highway and What Every Successful Woman Knows, acknowledged by Bloomberg Businessweek as “the best of its genre.”

A tirelessly active member of the industry and champion of her causes, Janice is Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative and its signature event, Breakfast of Corporate Champions. Since 2011, Janice continues to spearhead this event to honor companies committed to board diversity and to encourage CEOs to sponsor board-ready women for the Women’s Forum database. (LINK: www.womensforumny.org).

Janice is personally committed to several NFP organizations: Board Director of the National YMCA and Past Chair of the YMCA Board of Greater New York; Trustee of the Actors Fund and Committee For Economic Development (CED); Incoming Chair, University of Iowa Foundation; Women’s Forum of New York Past President and Chair of the Corporate Board Initiative; member of the Steering Committee, US 30% Club and The Economic Club of New York.

In recognition for her many philanthropic activities, Janice received the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) Eleanor Raynolds Award for Volunteerism in 2008. Named one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews, she was also a recipient of the Channel 21 Award In Excellence for her contribution to “Excellence in the Economic Development for Women.”

“Listening to our clients’ needs, learning their business and understanding their culture is how we present the best talent and provide  a competitive advantage. We place candidates with the character, competencies, commitment, (intellectual) curiosity and courage to make a difference. Our goal is always to go beyond the expected and deliver valuable advice, measurable results and great talent!”

– Janice Reals Ellig

  • Champion of gender parity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Industry expert, speaker, and author
  • Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative
  • Committed board and committee member and philanthropist

T: (212) 688-8671 ext. 226
E: Janice@ElligGroup.com