Executive Compensation Benchmarks & Search Outlook for 2022

Join Thrive and Hunt Scanlon Media tomorrow for a highly anticipated webinar that includes experts from the field, including Steve Maxwell, head of portfolio human capital at Audax Group. Registration is free.

February 7, 2022 – To lure new workers, companies across the country are extending salary guidelines and considering what many once deemed unthinkable: counteroffers! It is a trend that will likely wreak havoc with executive compensation benchmarks that have been thoughtfully put in place for years. Thrive and Hunt Scanlon Media have teamed up for a highly anticipated webinar on the market dynamics at play, executive search and velocity trends, and the vast implications for 2022 and beyond. “This is a unique opportunity to hear first-hand from experts in the field, including Steve Maxwell, the head of portfolio human capital at Audax Group, and Mike Mooney from Thrive,” said Walker Manning, manager of projects and content management for Hunt Scanlon. “They will share their insights to some 500 attendees who have already signed up.”

“Business is booming across the spectrum,” said Mr. Mooney. “Within the last several months, COVID-restricted markets roared back. As a result, there has been continued massive investment in private and public markets, and talent is needed to support that growth,” he added. According to Mr. Mooney, the S&P 500 Index rose 26.8 percent in 2021, marking its third straight year of positive growth. The Dow and Nasdaq also notched three-year winning streaks, gaining 18.7 percent and 21.4 percent for the year. A record $1.32 trillion in dry powder also sat waiting to be deployed as of September, according to Prequin’s Alternatives 2022 report.

“With growth tracking search volume, this might be the most competitive market ever, and the high demand for constricted executive talent is driving up compensation,” Mr. Mooney said. “The talent market is getting squeezed from all angles, and to close candidates hiring teams are thinking of highly creative ways to be more competitive in 2022 – and one big focus is on pay.”

Join Thrive and Hunt Scanlon Media in a first look at new data that has just streamed in. Thrive will look at the market dynamics at play, executive search and velocity trends, and the vast implications it all means for 2022 and beyond!

This is a unique opportunity to hear first-hand from experts in the field, including the head of portfolio human capital at Audax Private Equity! They will share their first-hand experience on what they are seeing with executive compensation trends, along with valuable insights.  

Steve Maxwell from Audax Group will provide industry insights from his experience leading the human capital function at a premier middle-market private equity firm with over 150 platform investments. Click here to sign up!

In Thrive’s last executive search survey, 51 percent of respondents said that late-stage candidates dropping out of searches due to counteroffers was a top key obstacle to their initiatives. This points back to the fact that counteroffers are a common tactic used to retain top-tier executives, and can derail desired search outcomes. The latest data showed that hiring teams are looking to combat this, with 55 percent of respondents saying that they would increase base compensation and variable compensation offers, and 64 percent said they would shorten the hiring process.

Top Dynamics Shaping 2022

“Fundraising and public markets are frothy, executive positions are opening in large volume, and there is plenty of dry powder,” said Mr. Mooney. “There are a number of dynamics in the mix this year: remote work and virtual hiring helped open new talent pools, but increased demand and burnout – plus the great reshuffle — held the other end of the seesaw down. The great reshuffle has created flakiness, changed interpersonal dynamics with candidates, and opened up more candidate pool considerations,” he added.

Everything is up, he said, including performance and investment, search volume and demand, cycle times, as well as compensation inflation, he said.

“VC and PE firms across the ecosystem are adding talent partners to proactively build pipelines, help fast-track certain candidates and reset compensation levels to align with market expectations,” said Mr. Mooney. “According to our community, talent is the No. 1 thing that portco’s ask of their VC and PE firms. Access to investor networks offers a valuable differentiation, which paves an entrance for the talent partner. About half the firms we talk to have talent partners — about double the number compared to 18 months ago.”

And though talent partners are not new, their role is rapidly shifting. Thrive data shows that 70 percent of VC/PE talent partners run less than a quarter of portfolio company executive searches. But that number is on the rise with 26 percent of talent partners reporting they are now working on more searches than ever before. “That shift also entails counseling on how to run effective searches and find top talent as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Mooney. “They’re now proactively identifying candidates for potential openings in the future while serving as a thought partner to internal teams, helping reset compensation bands and accelerating processes to get candidates offers faster.”

Thrive and Hunt Scanlon Media’s webinar outlines the market dynamics at play, executive search and velocity trends, and the vast implications it all means for 2022 and beyond! Free registration … Click here to sign up!


Steven Maxwell is a senior vice president of portfolio human capital for Audax Group, based in Boston. Prior to joining Audax in 2016, he worked in the executive search industry and was the talent partner at Kodiak Venture Partners. Prior to that, he was an operating executive at several technology companies.

Michael Mooney is a senior vice president of revenue at Thrive. His team is responsible for Thrive’s executive talent community, quarterly benchmark reports, and the Backchannel podcast.

Monica Gordon is head of marketing at Thrive. She develops Thrive’s webinars, quarterly benchmark reports, and other channels that support the business’ executive talent community.


Related: Strategies for Diversity Talent Acquisition Planning

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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