Hard data

Data matters. Take a look at why.

Data matters.  Take a look at why.



Three letters that signify a senior executive's role.  It's not all mundane CEO, (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer) or COO (Chief Operating Officer), either. These titles reflect business trends, hence the rise in CSOs (Chief Sustainability Officer) and CIOs (Chief Innovation Officer). They also signal a company's character, Chade-Meng Tan is Jolly Good Fellow (seriously) at Google. His job description: "Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace".

$14.1 million

The CEOs of the 350 leading S&P 500 companies by sales were well remunerated in 2012, even in an age of austerity. Using a measure of CEO pay that includes the value of stock options exercised in a given year, average CEO compensation in 2012 was $14.1 million in 2012, up 12.7% on 2011, and 37.4% on 2009.


While CEOs are being well rewarded, most employees in the 350 top S&P 500 companies by sales are not faring so well. In 1965, CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 20.1-to-1, and just over a decade later had increased slightly to 29.0-to-1. By 1995, however, the ratio was up to 122.6-to-1, and by 2012 had reached 272.9-to-1.

259 million

The days of the hard copy CV are numbered, it seems. Social media firm LinkedIn has fast become an indispensible career planning tool for its 257 million (and rising quickly) members, and the go-to resource for executive search firms. According to the firm's statistics, its members conducted 5.7 billion "professionally-oriented searches" on LinkedIn in 2012.


Have skills will get promoted. The skills priorities of organisations are changing, as Accenture's 2013 Skills and Employment Trends Survey shows. Asked which skills-set employees needed the most functional knowledge (58%) was bottom of the list, just behind project management (59%). Problem solving (78%) was in most demand by employers, followed by leadership (75%) and communication and technology (both tied on 73%).


The digital revolution may have spawned a wave of youthful company bosses, but the reality remains that if you make it to the top spot before 50 you are ahead of the curve. In 2012, according to research by executive search firm Spencer Stuart, the average age of the incoming CEO was 54.

31 hours

If work-life balance is high on the agenda, then head to the Netherlands where the Dutch worked an average of 1382 hours in 2011. Germany (1406) and Norway (1421) were next best of the OECD countries.  Work and life is less balanced in Mexico where people work 2250 hours on average, or 21 extra 40 hour weeks, compared with the Dutch.

4.8 years

A study of 356 American companies from 2000 to 2010 looked at CEO tenure. It concluded that, although the strength of the CEO-employee relationship continued to increase over time, the CEOs relationship with customers strengthened initially but then declined along with firm performance. Optimal CEO tenure with regard to performance was 4.8 years.


For women with ambitions to lead a large organisation the statistics make disappointing reading. As of September 2013 there were just 21 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, or 4.2% of the total. In the top 1000 companies, 45 women were CEOs. In the FTSE 100 in the UK, just three women were in the CEO role.

One fifth

If you don't fancy all that tough career slogging to make a living, why not outsource your career instead. That's what one telecommuting IT developer did in the US.  Spending less than a fifth of their six figure salary the employee hired a contractor in China to log on using the firm's VPN and do their work for them. The upside: salary for nothing, with the added bonus of excellent performance reviews! The downside: getting caught –eventually.

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