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New CEO appointments hit highest level in 3 years, led by women

Kevin Delaney, CEO of Charter, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss job shortages, the rise in people switching jobs, and the sudden push to hire more women.

Video transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, you probably heard of the great resignation by now. Millions of Americans quitting their jobs in record numbers. Now some of that is extending into the c-suite. Let's bring in Kevin Delaney, Charter co-founder and CEO. Kevin, what did you find?

KEVIN DELANEY: Well, so there are two things. One is that we've been-- if you've been watching the data for a while, what's interesting the surveys of people about their likelihood to quit their job. The higher you go up in an organization, the more likely people are say-- are to say that they're interested in changing their job over the coming 12 months. So we know that that kind of interest has been there.

Now there's Heidrick and Struggles, the executive recruiter firm, just came out with some data that showed actually more significantly more turnover in the c-suite. And specifically, they looked at about 1,000 companies. And in the first six months of this year, roughly hundreds of them have actually changed over their CEOs. So this is actually much more turnover than last year. It makes sense in a way, because during the pandemic, a lot of companies were just kind of like trying to keep things stable and were reluctant to change their-- their CEOs, but it is actually notable how significant the change has been in the c-suite.

JARED BLIKRE: And I'm wondering if you track that demographically-- and by the way, I love that we're talking jolts in the c-suite right now. But what I'm getting at is our company is able to meet their diversity and inclusion goals now more easily that they have-- that they're able to bring people in, because there's kind of a rotating cast of characters now at the top.

KEVIN DELANEY: So there are a few interesting things about the data in that regard. The first one is that they're double the number of female CEOs who are named among this group of companies than there were a year ago. And, you know, one bit of analysis is last year if companies were going to change their CEOs, they went with their sort of most comfortable tried and true, which you in the context of these big firms is more likely to be a white man.

And so in the first six months, we're seeing actually more women who are being put into these positions. They're also more internal advancements into the c-suite. And that's interesting in the sense that if companies are trying to be really effective at diversity and inclusion, having internal pipelines is actually a really important thing. And the data don't show any big significant changes there yet, but that's actually encouraging.

AKIKO FUJITA: Kevin, one of the challenges executives have faced in trying to time the return to office is, you know, number one, they're seeing a record number of employees quit. Those who aren't necessarily wanting to return to the office have some leverage there. Now we're talking about a potential fifth wave for COVID cases. What are you hearing about how that could be shifting up the timing for those companies that still haven't returned employees to the office yet?

KEVIN DELANEY: Yeah, so there are two things. So there's-- one, there's the official policies of companies. And we're seeing some companies actually pushing back again their return to office states. And Apple is one of the more notable ones.

They planned on January to bring people in. They've now pushed it back to February 1, where they're asking people to come in a day or two a week and only in March till they plan to actually shift to their hybrid three day a week schedule. So that's the first thing. That's the official policies.

The second thing is that what we're just hearing is informally, including in sectors like finance, which have been among the most insistent that workers come back, that they've just gotten a lot of pushback from workers. And they're informally allowing workers to delay their return, even if the formal policy and strong encouragement is to return. So if you look at finance workers, in New York City, something like 37% of them are coming back daily.

That's a lot lower than it was before the pandemic, where it's maybe 80% when you count for people being out sick and stuff. That number is expected to rise, but given the rhetoric in finance about, about from the CEOs of companies like Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs about how people need to be in the office, that number is actually pretty low. And I think with this fifth wave, we expect the companies not to really insist further that people actually come back in.

JARED BLIKRE: So is it fair to say-- and I'm just speculating here-- most of the people I would say who really wanted to leave their job because of any kind of work from home mandate that would-- or excuse me, return to office mandate-- have those positions basically been filled, or are we still seeing turnover because of that dissatisfaction with those policies?

KEVIN DELANEY: You know, I sense, in particularly, in the case of, of Wall Street is that while the official policies have been that people should be spending more time in the office, in fact, people have been slow walking the return. Workers who actually don't want to commute, don't want to be in the office, they actually haven't been coming in.

And so far, as far as we can tell, there haven't been a lot of terminations of people. There haven't been consequences for that. And a big part of it is is the context that you've been citing, which is that this great resignation and the challenge getting talent and filling positions to begin with.

So employers are in a bit of a bind if they want people to be in the office. They want people to be in the office, but they're reluctant to fire people for not coming in. The reality of this new wave of cases, which you've been talking about, and all of that means is that there is a lot of kind of slow walking, don't ask, don't tell about people actually being in the office.

AKIKO FUJITA: Kevin Delaney, appreciate you joining us on this Thanksgiving Eve, Charter co-founder and CEO.

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