Vilnius, Lithuania – Technological developments in the workplace and the general acceleration of the pace of life have encouraged companies to choose younger candidates for general management positions. Executive Search experts note that top executives need management skills as well as technical know-how, but that the lack of the former skill is a challenge for young executives aspiring to the C-suite.
"Companies want a manager with experience in the field, not just knowledge. It is possible to learn many things quickly, but experience only comes with time, so companies are usually looking for candidates around 35-45 years of age. Executives in this age group combine experience with courage, ambition and a hunger for newer and greater challenges. For example, candidates who have been working as CFOs for some time often see themselves as ready for a CEO role."
Companies from different sectors look for managers with different competences. Progressiveness, flexibility and speed are especially important for businesses such as FinTech that merge several disciplines. Conversely organisations operating in slow-changing industries seldom seek managers who are keen to change the existing order.
"When we consider possible candidates for top management positions with clients, we do not talk about age, but concentrate on the candidates‘ skills and drive to achieve the expected goals. There are managers in their thirties with no innovative ideas or ambitions, and there are managers in their fifties who are full of ideas and keep on learning and developing," notes Ms. Vaivadaite.
Ms. Vaivadaite commented that it is natural for Lithuanian top executives to be comparatively young, considering that the first private companies were only established in 1990 after independence. However, she also pointed out that younger managers are being hired for top-level executive positions in Western European countries too.
"It used to be the case in larger European companies that general managers of around 45 were seen as rather young, and these positions usually went to managers in their fifties. However, this is changing. Technology and digitalisation have lead to an increasing number of younger executives, as organisations want leaders who think in digital terms. As businesses become more global, it is not enough to understand your own industry alone; top managers must see business from a much broader perspective. In addition, business in general is speeding up, and this is associated with youthfulness," says Ms. Vaivadaite.
What companies are looking for
Ms. Vaivadaite stresses that companies are looking for candidates who are willing to keep developing, do not avoid change and have no prejudices.
"Companies are not willing to hire successful General Managers who would come to the company feeling like they already know everything. Organisations are looking for managers who seek to create and develop, rather than adapting processes that worked for decades in another environment. The world is changing, and so all industries and business in general are changing with it," comments Ms. Vaivadaite on the subject of continuous improvement.
Taking technological progress and the accelerating business tempo into account, Ms. Vaivadaite predicts that the average age of a general manager in Lithuania may continue to fall, down a few years from the current average of around 35-45.
"The world is moving forward very rapidly and people are gaining experience faster than before, which benefits their professional activities. However, there should be no drastic changes. A general manager needs versatile experience, and this cannot be learned from a textbook, but only from working and learning from mistakes. However, managers must realise where industries are going, and the meaning of digitalisation. If managers fail to understand this, it will become increasingly difficult for them to find work," concludes Ms. Vaivadaite.
Kristina Vaivadaite is a Client Partner and the Country Manager for Lithuania at Pedersen & Partners. Ms. Vaivadaite has more than 15 years of Executive Search experience, having completed over 500 senior level search assignments in the Consumer Goods, Industrial, Pharmaceutical, Technology and Professional Services sectors in the Baltic countries, Scandinavia, CEE and Asia. Prior to joining Pedersen & Partners, Ms. Vaivadaite led the Lithuanian operations of a regional Executive Search company and also provided HR consulting services to local and international clients.
Pedersen & Partners is a leading international Executive Search firm. We operate 56 wholly owned offices in 52 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia & the Americas. Our values Trust, Relationship and Professionalism apply to our interaction with clients as well as executives. More information about Pedersen & Partners is available at www.pedersenandpartners.com
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