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  • Writer's pictureCarly Livingstone

Year in Review: 5 Top Leadership Hiring Trends of 2023 and 3 Predictions for 2024

As 2023 is behind us, we’d like to share our reflections. What changed for us in 2023? What were our clients focused on? How did changes in tech, capital, mobility and workplace culture drive real executive hiring decisions in Canadian scale-ups?


We’re glad you asked.


Here are our top insights from 2023


Less aspirational product hiring and more focus on GTM


2020-2022 saw many tech companies hiring based on aspirational goals, with a focus on new products and new markets. They had money to spend, ambitious plans and confidence that the next round of funding was not far off.  As 2023 began, the reality of tight budgets and higher investor expectations was well understood.


Without surprise, we saw a big increase in sales and marketing leadership searches in the last 12-18 months. It was a notable shift from the pandemic years when product development hires were the top priority and tech companies were focusing on growing teams and building aspirational roadmaps. Many scaleups now see that selling and repackaging what they’ve already built is a more viable path to revenue and building a sustainable business.

"We saw a big increase in sales and marketing leadership searches in the last 12-18 months

More Canadian companies hiring and selling internationally


2023 brought more exciting international searches. Canadian health tech, biotech and climate tech companies in particular were getting their early go-to-market traction in the US and/or Europe. The size of the market in the US and the advantageous regulatory environment in the EU are driving early adoption of innovative climate or biotech solutions. For us, this has meant more GTM searches (often those first key sales hires) in geographies that give our clients a strategic advantage with prospective or existing customers. 


"Canadian health tech, biotech and climate tech companies were getting their early go-to-market traction in the US and/or Europe."

We don’t anticipate this slowing down in 2024, though we do hope this is a sign to Canadian buyers of tech to look at the incredible innovations we’re building close to home!


Start-ups and Scale-ups are getting creative with Fractional hires


Continuing with the “do more with less” theme, 2023 saw greater adoption of the fractional leadership model. And so we started an Artemis Fractional service! The model gives companies access to highly experienced leaders at a fraction of the cost. And beyond the advice of a coach or mentor, a fractional leader dives into the business taking on accountability for results and working closely to level up the team. 


We saw the highest demand for fractional across Finance and HR, followed by operations, technology and GTM leaders. But perhaps our most interesting observation was the interest in the fractional working model among some of the most talented leaders in our network. We predict that in 2024 and beyond, this model will enable Canada’s start-ups to scale with efficiency.


Check out our blog post outlining the benefits of fractional leaders, and subscribe to our monthly Artemis Update to see our Fractional Leader of the month!


A rise in confidential searches


Confidential searches have always been a part of our work at Artemis but there was a marked increase in 2023. We see a few reasons for this. Some companies came to the unfortunate realization that the rushed hires they made between 2020-2022 were not the right fit. Others pivoted their business to adjust for the new economic reality and the new direction required different expertise. 


Here is a piece we put together on how to manage a confidential replacement hire.


Growth in PE-backed and revenue-positive companies


In prior years, our typical client was a VC-backed scale-up looking to use new capital for growth.  In 2023, many of those companies were buckling down, cutting costs and working hard to justify valuations. We then saw a rise in companies backed by private equity and those fueling growth with (gasp!) customer revenues.


It was a great year for Private Equity, with companies acquired at a discount and ready for change. We played a bigger role here as leadership teams were realigned to new business goals and structures.


We also partnered with bootstrapped companies and those with solid revenue and market traction. They were less susceptible to market highs and lows, so they continued to steadily grow. These companies were also favoured by leaders considering a move, as there was more certainty in product direction and sustainable growth, without the risk and distraction of needing to raise funds in an uncertain market.


What we expect in 2024


Alas, we don’t have a crystal ball…but we clearly love a little chaos as we choose to work with tech founders! Based on what we’re seeing, hearing and learning from the cycles of the past … here are a few predictions:


  1. Smart companies will use the opportunity to hire above their weight-class.  We’re talking to amazing leaders who are underutilized and would love to build. Smart, young companies can creatively hire experienced leaders who know how to execute, especially in this window of time when there are fewer open roles.

  2. The push and pull of remote vs in-office will continue into 2024, with top talent still calling the shots. We predict that access to a larger talent pool and better use of collaboration tools will keep the WFH crowd in the lead, but the definition of more effective hybrid models will continue as companies learn from mistakes and each other. 

  3. The prediction we’re most excited about … the Canadian tech ecosystems will continue to outperform. Leveraging immigration strategies, great quality of life, tech strengths security, deep tech and AI and an authentic brand of trust and responsibility - we are very well-positioned to build tech businesses that will dominate in 2024 and beyond.


Subscribe to our monthly Artemis Update to receive more of our content directly to your inbox, including our Salary Snapshots, industry insights, Leaders on the Move, Humans of Tech, and Dear Artemis Series.


Artemis Canada is a boutique executive search firm specializing in placing top talent in the tech sector across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Our team of experienced recruiters has a proven track record of finding exceptional candidates for a variety of roles, from C-suite positions to high-demand individual contributors. For more information on our services, please visit our website at https://www.artemiscanada.com/

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