Navigating Leadership Roles in 2023

by Lizette Roman-Johnston
June 07, 2023
Navigating Leadership Roles

In 2023, professionals are still reeling from the surge of tech layoffs amidst an unstable economy, leaving many wondering how to proceed with stability in their careers, a strategy some are calling “career cushioning.”

Despite layoffs, leadership talent is still in high demand, especially amid the rise of new technology and the uncertainty that comes with breakthrough innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI). With technological knowledge in such high demand, more and more, recruiters are hiring based on skills rather than experience and degrees.

Employee well-being also remains a priority. Flexibility and hybrid work remain some of the most sought-after characteristics in an employer. Diversity and inclusion are also experiencing a resurgence in prioritization after pushback against hollow, performative DEI initiatives. Establishing and maintaining a healthy, diverse work culture requires hiring skilled leaders.

Given these work trends of 2023, the following are in-demand leadership roles that are predicted to remain in demand for years to come.

Tech & Data

Leadership roles in tech require innovation and adaptability on top of hard skills like software development and AI machine learning.

Technological innovation, while exciting, comes with risks. With an estimated 36 percent of organizations already using AI, data security will be an ongoing concern for organizations, employees, and customers. As a result, many tech leadership roles in 2023 involve data security.

The following leadership roles are in high demand as tech evolves rapidly.

CTO

Amid the excitement and uncertainty of new technology, a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is one of the most in-demand roles in 2023.

A CTO traditionally oversees a company’s IT, drives innovation, and creates a positive user experience. They manage various roles across the IT department and communicate technology strategies for their organization. 

Common skills for a successful CTO include IT, software development, innovation, leadership, strategic planning, AI machine learning, cloud, DevOps, and budgeting. 

CIO

Businesses need leaders who are up for the challenge of change. With businesses investing in their digital transformations, the role of the CIO is becoming increasingly in demand.

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) oversees the management and implementation of a company’s systems and internal software to deliver business value to technological changes in organizations.

Common skills for CIOs include communication, talent management and development, business collaboration, financial acumen, project management, data and analytics, cybersecurity, and innovation.

CISO

As more organizations rely on computer technology, the need to keep these systems secure is becoming increasingly important.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a relatively new position responsible for managing a company’s cybersecurity, ensuring that the company remains protected from potential hacks that can harm clients and the company’s reputation. 

CISOs also establish enterprise-wide security policies, develop data breach resiliency plans, oversee system update communications, and manage the information security financials. They work alongside company officers, business managers, cyber security teams, and IT managers. 

Common skills for CISOs include IT knowledge, communication, financial fluency, the ability to work long hours, and the ability to work under pressure.

Data Governance Manager

The use of AI requires companies to use heaps of data from customers and employees, which means there is a lot of room for costly missteps. 

A Data Governance Manager ensures that their organization follows policies and procedures surrounding the storage and distribution of data, keeping companies from violating compliance regulations and paying hefty regulatory fines.

Common skills for Data Governance Managers include data management, business process improvement, and software development life cycle (SDLC).

Culture

Low trust levels of employees in their employers have been prominent in recent years. This is especially applicable to diversity, as employers have faced criticism surrounding performative DEI initiatives.

A solution to the trust problem is to prioritize leadership roles that have a direct connection to employees. The following are people-centered leadership roles that are rising in demand in 2023.

CHRO (or Chief People Officer)

As people question whether HR departments can affect real change for employees, many are looking to the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) to communicate people issues to executive/senior management.

The CHRO (sometimes called the Chief People Officer) oversees all aspects of human resources, including hiring, training, retention, and engagement of employees. In 2023, CHROs are expected to take on more responsibility, including leading their C-Suite colleagues in connecting data, technology, and people and cultivating collaboration.

Common skills for CHROs include organizational culture, talent management, employee engagement, communication, and emotional intelligence (EQ).

Diversity & Inclusion Manager

According to a Glassdoor survey, only 19 percent of employees trust senior leaders to understand what diversity & inclusion looks like at an organization, while 66 percent trust employees the most. Meanwhile, performative DEI initiatives have further damaged employees’ trust in senior leadership.

The Diversity & Inclusion Manager oversees the strategy and implementation of DEI initiatives.

Common skills for Diversity & Inclusion Managers include diversity and inclusion training, diversity program development, leadership development, communication, and emotional intelligence (EQ).

Employee Experience Manager

Only 32 percent of employees were engaged in 2022, signaling a need for an employee engagement rebound in 2023.

Among Harvard Business Review’s “9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2023 and Beyond” was the prioritization of hybrid flexibility for frontline workers. According to a 2022 Gartner survey, 58 percent of organizations employing frontline workers invested in improving employee experience in the past year.

The role of the Employee Experience Manager is to oversee procedures that foster employee engagement, well-being, and development. Such work may include employee development programs and mentoring programs.

Common skills for Employee Experience Managers include employee engagement, onboarding, employee relations, communication, and empathy.

Conclusion

Whether actively searching for jobs or not, staying on top of the work trends of 2023 will give professionals an advantage in maintaining job security amid economic uncertainty.

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