At our London HQ, we recently held our latest Berwick Partners & Odgers Berndtson CIO Drinks Reception. A regular fixture in the CIO calendar this event always brings together a heady mix of the best and brightest in the CIO community. With CIO’s and IT Directors from a diverse cross section of businesses in the UK; large, small, established and early stage, the event gives a fair bellwether for the state of the UK IT leadership.
We hosted circa 80 CIO’s, from all parts of the market. As ever, they were generous with their time and perspectives. The following are some of the observations from the evening’s discussions:
- Career Transition: compared to recent years there was markedly fewer CIO’s ‘in between’ roles. This is a real indicator of positive growth. In the recession years IT was often an enabler of cost reduction. Many transformative CIO’s came out of businesses able to match their ambitions to enable and deliver change. As the recruitment market rises, the demand for commercially aware IT leaders is reassuringly strong.
- Retention: while there is increased volume of opportunity available in the market, companies investing in talent retention appear to be reaping the rewards. Top performing CIO’s are rising to the challenges of positive economic conditions and are being stretched by business change and transformation initiatives. While average tenure has been extended by the recession, talent remains cautious of moving in haste.
- Mood: the room was overwhelmingly positive and upbeat. The CIO and IT function is rising to the challenge of business growth, and is being embraced as an enabler of new business operations and process models. The battle to be seen as more than a tame techie is being won!
- Confidence: while internal challenges are keeping CIO’s engaged, there is an increased willingness to look externally. In simple terms CIO’s remain keen to be on the Headhunters radar, and keen to stretch for the next challenge.
Very positive stuff indeed. The market is on the rise, and strong, commercially aligned IT leadership is valued for the outputs it delivers. Long may it continue…