The rise of the head of people analytics

As CEOs want richer information about human capital and as organisations seek to make sense of an abundance of data through analytics tools, the head of people analytics is emerging as an important executive role, according to a global executive search firm.

“With the richness of data available to organisations and HRDs, CEOs around the globe want deeper and more meaningful information about their most valuable asset, their human capital,” said Jason Johnson, CTPartners’ managing partner, Asia Pacific.

“HRDs are increasingly looking to a head of people analytics to be able to harness data to measure performance on employee engagement, development, recruitment, retention, work efficiency, compensation matters, and return on investment in talent.”

In releasing its 20th Hot Jobs forecast report of new and emerging executive roles for 2015, CTPartners also said the role of chief human resources officer (CHRO) is increasingly important as CEOs are looking for much more out of their HR leader and from a global perspective.

“In the post-GFC environment, the HRD role lost some prominence as talent issues slipped down the agenda,” said Johnson.

“However as the global economy recovers, the war for talent is re-emerging as an issue.

“The HRD of today will have to grapple again with the mega-trends of shifting demographics, which will fundamentally reshape the talent pools.”

In the ever-broadening role of CHRO, he said an increasingly important responsibility is that of serving as a reliable sounding-board and counsellor to the CEO, or “the CEO’s consigliere, if you will.

“This trend is evident globally as today’s fast-paced and complex business environment leads CEOs to seek a trusted strategic partner and confidant who can support the CEO by debating and challenging business decisions and priorities,” said Johnson.

“World-class CHROs will be equally adept in interacting with the C-Suite, the Board of directors, and key managers throughout the organisation.”

A convergence of trends
More broadly, the top factors influencing leadership positions are driven by the ongoing dominance of big data in business, the technological advances in security and risk and the increased rigour demanded globally for corporate governance.

“We are seeing a proliferation of executive-level roles borne out of the global influence of big data,” said Johnson.

“Businesses are looking for leaders who can not only understand the massive amounts of information available to them but also identify the threats and opportunities that come as a result of this evolving landscape.”

Overall, he said the market remains highly competitive for top talent and certain hot jobs are seeing unprecedented demand.

Further, the pipeline for IPOs is relatively strong and is expected to increase further in 2015 in Australia.

“This means that newly-public companies will need to develop a range of management and leadership positions to grow and compete successfully,” he said.

CTPartners CEO Brian Sullivan said the impact of tools such as data analytics helping companies to work in smarter and more efficient ways to serve their customers and build growth.

“We also see the responsiveness and resilience of business leaders and companies that are committed to seizing marketplace opportunities as they arise,” he said.

“We believe these forces and others will contribute to continued global job growth, especially in key sectors and regions, in 2015.”

Other roles in demand
Along side the head of people analytics, some of the other predicted ‘hot jobs’ for 2015 include:

Conduct risk officer. Conduct risk is a rapidly growing priority in the suite of risk management. A subset of operational risk, conduct risk incorporates matters such as treatment of customers, remuneration of staff, and a firm’s response to conflicts of interest.

The UK’s newly created Financial Conduct Authority has asked all banks in the U.K. to outline their efforts to build a better risk culture and to publish conduct targets.

In Australia, conduct risk has also become a prominent priority for both boards and senior executive teams.

Head of personalisation. Picture this: You are in aisle three at your local supermarket staring at a new detergent when your phone buzzes. You have a text message from another detergent-maker offering you 20 per cent off your favorite brand if you buy it in the next 45 minutes.

That is the level of sophistication and personalised outreach retailers and other consumer-oriented businesses are already working on today.

The head of personalisation must be an expert at integrating the knowledge gained from customer behaviour analytics into highly targeted timely customer engagement and marketing strategies by using cutting edge technologies like personalised texting and cellular geolocation.

Chief growth officer. With the capital and other constraints of economic recovery still reining in both companies and consumers, many businesses face a tough revenue-generation environment.

It is in this business landscape that chief growth officers seek new ideas to reignite growth and boost the bottom line.

Advertising agencies, major retail brands, and other companies have added this C-level role, often including initiatives aimed at identifying the growth opportunities of digital media and technology as well as borrowing ideas from the world of startups.

Chief innovation officer. This emerging life sciences sector role encompasses both product development and strategic direction responsibilities.

In an increasingly competitive and evolving healthcare marketplace, the chief of innovation must be able to foster and lead business-building innovations, while also working with credibility and influence across the executive team and throughout the organisation.

As innovation rises to the forefront across other sectors, including oil-and-gas, this position may expand in scope elsewhere.

Head of customer engagement. Pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies are tapping digital strategies to engage with and respond to the increasingly influential customer base of patients and payers.

As these life sciences companies look to multichannel solutions that will include social media, ecommerce, and other digital avenues, the leader in the new head of customer engagement role is likely to come from a background of digital innovation, with the capability to effectively challenge traditional pharma and other life sciences commercial models.