Top jobs in 2015

Make a fast start on job hunting this year

The jobs and skills most in demand in the coming year.

Corporate governance specialists, cyber-security experts and “big data” analysts will not be short of job offers in 2015 and beyond.

The key factors influencing demand are the ongoing dominance of big data in business, technological advances in security and risk, and the increased rigour demanded globally for corporate governance.

According to the 20th annual “Hot Jobs” forecast of new and emerging executive roles by global recruitment firm CTPartners, professionals with high-level big data experience are in particular demand.

“We are seeing a proliferation of executive-level roles borne out of the global influence of big data,” says CTPartners CEO Brian Sullivan.

“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, the market remains highly competitive for top talent right now.” – Brian Sullivan, CEO CTPartners 

“As such, analytical roles such as head of personalisation and head of people analytics, alongside risk and cyber-security positions, are the new ‘in-demand’ roles that will be key to maintaining a company’s competitive advantage in 2015.”

Importantly, the influence of digital channels and big data is now reaching far beyond just the IT sector, with relevant skillsets rapidly becoming a must-have asset in many other business areas as well.

This is good news for people in senior leadership positions – or who aspire to them – across a broad range of sectors.

“Overall, the market remains highly competitive for top talent right now, with nearly three-quarters of our partners describing today’s environment as ‘fierce,’”, Sullivan says.

“The war for talent is definitely going to continue throughout 2015. A record number of IPOs [initial public offerings] this year means that newly-public companies will need to develop a range of management and leadership positions to grow and compete successfully.”

For the finance professional

Accountants should also be in demand in 2015, with an estimated 18,300 more jobs to be created by 2018, according to the Australian Department of Employment's Employment Outlook to November 2018.  

But it’s not just about crunching the numbers. There’s an emerging trend for companies to hire accountants who can use data to project for the future and steer a company in the right direction.

“Accounting and finance professionals who can turn business intelligence into business strategy are in high demand,” states recruitment firm Robert Half in its just-released 2015 Salary Guide: Accounting & Finance Report (US version).

Related: Future proof your accounting career

“Business leaders desire professionals who can delve into the numbers and explain their implications for top-line growth.”

Financial analysts and business systems analysts are also seeing strong demand as firms look for ways to boost efficiencies, control costs, and wring the most out of existing and new information systems.

Skills the finance professional will need

Businesses are seeking technology expertise as more finance departments move from a reporting-focused to an analytics-centric function.

Big data is a trend impacting businesses of all sizes. Companies want individuals with:

  • Advanced Excel skills
  • Knowledge of large enterprise resource planning systems
  • Expertise in data analytics, advanced modelling techniques and the use of SQL
  • Knowledge of business intelligence software such as IBM Cognos and MicroStrategy
  • Aptitude with Hyperion (for analyst and financial reporting roles)
  • Knowledge of QuickBooks (for positions with small and midsize firms)

Source: Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide: Accounting & Finance Report


The hot roles in 2015

Digital and marketing

Chief marketing officer: Along with the traditional skillset, today’s CMO must embrace data analytics to work effectively and measure performance.

Digital marketing/chief creative officer: Marketing executives are leading the way as companies continue their shift from traditional to online advertising platforms that allow closer tracking of ROI (return on investment).

Chief digital officer: CDOs are increasingly being called on to develop effective strategies for mobile and digital platforms.


Analytics practice leader: A key competitive priority is being able to capture and synthesise massive amounts of data now available from customer interactions, supply chain feedback and other sources.

Chief growth officer: Includes initiatives aimed at identifying growth opportunities across digital media and technology, as well as borrowing ideas from innovative start-ups.

Head of personalisation: Must be an expert at integrating the knowledge gained from customer behaviour analytics into highly-targeted engagement and marketing strategies.

Cyber-security and risk

Chief information security officer: Best-in-class cyber-security leaders tend to have cut their teeth in the defence sector or come from a federal government background.

Digital risk officer: Businesses in all industries are rapidly turning to DROs to meet an ever-growing need for consistent, organisation-wide responses to digital business risk.

Conduct risk officer: A subset of operational risk, conduct risk incorporates treatment of customers, remuneration of staff and a firm’s response to conflicts of interest.


Private equity CFO: With increasingly robust private equity activity underway on a global basis, this niche-oriented, rapid growth position necessitates an ability to make and move quickly on decisions.

Related: How to improve your finance team

Human resources

Chief human resources officer: CEOs are now looking for much more out of their HR leader – and frequently from a global perspective. The CHRO of today and tomorrow will be required to act as a trusted advisor and reliable sounding board to the CEO.

Head of people analytics: With the richness of data and analytic tools at hand to CEOs, they are now demanding deeper and more meaningful information about human capital and increasingly factoring it into their decision-making.

Life sciences and healthcare

Head of customer engagement: Pharmaceutical and other healthcare organisations are taking a digital approach to engaging with and responding to increasingly influential patient groups and other paying customers.

Chief patient officer: Patient empowerment is set to become a defining theme in the sector, particularly as opportunities inherent in the convergence of healthcare and technology materialise.

Head of population health management: Along with disease management expertise, this role incorporates a sophisticated understanding of the data and analytic tools available, as well as business priorities across the spectrum of healthcare providers and payers.

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


The hottest skill in 2015

You’ve almost certainly heard it before: “Keep your skills current”. But which ones do you need to develop in order to secure a top job in 2015?

As big data, cloud computing, state-of-the-art information security and interactive mobile platforms become integral to all mainstream businesses, there’s a “soft” skill that is not only coveted, but highly marketable: Fluency in business-speak.

There is frequently a communications gap between IT and the business department, with an ability to speak the natural language of management, marketing and sales now a huge bonus for any IT practitioner.

But translation is needed in both directions, so if you can clearly explain the functional requirements of the business to a strictly technical team, expect a lot of door knocks.

As information security executive J. Wolfgang Goerlich recently said: “The ability to effectively communicate never goes out of style. [...] soft skills make or break your IT career.”

December/January 2022
December/January 2022

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