Executive Search

Opportunities and Challenges for Industries Resulting from the Coronavirus Crisis

The pandemic has had significant effects on many industries. Professionals across the world have adapted and shifted strategies to account for supply chain issues, staffing shortages caused by the Great Resignation, and the effect it has had on executive search recruitment.

The pandemic exposed both weaknesses and opportunities within these businesses and respective industry status-quos. ​​DSML is an executive search and recruitment firm in Chicago and Boston that specializes in recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA. Our executive search team specializes in several industries, many of which have had the spotlight turned on them via the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the current trends we’re observing, as well as their impact on each industry’s executive search recruitment.

Executive Search Recruitment by Industry


The packaging industry saw a significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Production s-clowed as shifts had to be rearranged to support health-safety protocols such as social distancing. Many factory workers went on strike and to this day, this industry is still facing significant shortages as the supply chain continues to be disrupted.

Facing such challenges means that the packaging industry is now looking for a different kind of executive in their executive search recruitment, one not only with years of experience but one with holistic management skills that can be leveraged to manage a crisis. Today’s ideal candidate has vision and ideas on how to alter the chain. These candidates need global leadership skills, as production spans overseas and across functions and geographies, to drive change and improvements. DSML’s executive recruiters have years of experience recruiting and placing executive candidates through their packaging equipment executive search Chicago in roles within the packaging industry, from food to life sciences packaging.

Automation and Capital Equipment

Similarly to packaging, the automation and capital equipment industries have been severely disrupted by supply chain issues. Simultaneously, health-safety protocols made automation more of a necessity than ever to keep up production with decreased staff able to be on-site.

For companies in this sector expanding their operations abroad and conducting executive searches accordingly, the increase in automation across all these industries will place greater emphasis on recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA Chicago in this sector. Leaders in this industry will need to be agile in decision-making in times of uncertainty.

Consumer Goods

For consumer goods brands, an aversion to shopping in-store has remained present in many shoppers as we move through the pandemic. This has provided a unique opportunity for e-commerce to become essential for most businesses, notably European niche brands that use to rely on traditional channels such as distributors. E-commerce sales jumped from $3.3 billion in 2019 to an estimated $5.5 billion in 2022, approximately a 65% increase.

Executive recruiting in consumer goods presents unique needs, as this is a particularly fast-paced sector. Our experience recruiting talented professionals in consumer goods has made DSML Executive Search well-versed in sourcing and placing candidates for this industry.

Medical Devices and Life Sciences

In the last few years, we witnessed medical advances be put at the forefront of the healthcare field. With a new focus on healthcare standards throughout the US, the industries of life sciences and medical devices are potentially facing their Golden Age, born out of necessity.

Executive search in medical device manufacturing and life sciences sectors will focus on resourceful candidates. This industry is significantly impacted by general safety practices — such as social distancing and vaccination status — in their day-to-day operations. It will need leaders who can come up with innovative, resourceful ways to keep productivity and opportunities for medical advancement to continue at an unimpacted rate. This will be particularly important for European companies expanding to the US, to keep up with a competitive market.

Technology, IoT & Saas

Businesses in B2B, especially within technology and SaaS, have seen significant challenges as well. Larger enterprise software companies are still very much able to depend on name and reputation to continue moving sales cycles forward. But, across the board, in-person pitches and lunch-and-learns, which many enterprise software companies still rely on heavily, seem almost to be a foreign concept today.

Companies with a digital-driven marketing and sales approach will be at an advantage. This will be of increased importance for smaller or new businesses, such as European companies expanding their operations into the US. These businesses have the distinct opportunity to incorporate such systems from the inception of their US subsidiaries.

For European companies expanding into the US, when conducting executive search recruitment in Chicago or Boston, finding C-suite and executive candidates who demonstrate holistic, global leadership skills will be paramount. These leaders must be able to demonstrate emotional intelligence and agility when working across cultures and functions to ensure the success of these companies in their time of expansion, and to navigate the challenges and opportunities each industry is currently being presented with.

If your company is seeking to recruit for a key executive position such as CEO, COO, President, VP, or other Senior level roles, contact us.

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