Our culture has undergone several dramatic shifts over the last decade. A global pandemic, the growing threat of climate change and developments in technology are only a small subset of issues that have pushed us into new territory. In response to these changes, the workplace has necessarily evolved, as well.
New challenges and shifting priorities across industries have required companies to reexamine the structure of their organizations, streamline the ways in which they make decisions and meet new market imperatives. As a result, a number of new titles have emerged—in Fortune 500 companies and startups alike.
Which positions are gaining the most prominence in 2023? Here’s a look at five new C-suite positions gaining traction as companies look toward the future.
1. Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)
In every industry, companies are increasingly aware of how their work is contributing to the climate crisis—and are taking serious steps to mitigate their negative impact as a result. This is an issue that politicians, consumers and businesses are all dedicating more of their attention and energy toward. To monitor the relevant areas of their work and ensure they’re continuously striving toward increased sustainability; many have chosen to hire Chief Sustainability Officers (CSO).
CSOs aren’t climate scientists, but rather individuals appointed to ensure all departments are working together to minimize a company’s environmental impact. According to one report, this role has increased in demand by over 220% in the last decade, with more CSOs hired between 2020-21 than in the previous eight years combined.
2. Chief of Diversity/Equity/Inclusion/Belonging (DEIB Officer)
Another title on the rise is the DEIB Officer. While the official title varies from one organization to another, this role arose from an increased awareness of the inequity that exists in the workplace, and a desire to see real change. Companies have taken more substantial steps to ingrain it in the structure of their organization.
Since structural change must happen at all levels in order to succeed, creating this role in the C-suite is a strong show of dedication to DEI initiates. LinkedIn reported a 68% increase in this role between 2015-2020, and a steep increase has continued in the years since.
3. Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more employees have transitioned out of the office to work remotely. To meet the changing demands in overseeing the majority of their staff this way, many companies have elected to bring in a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
The main tasks of this role include hiring budgets, contracting, and overseeing major day-to-day operations. In recent years, this has grown to include developing new systems to foster remote team collaboration and coordination, as well as creating and streamlining new operational norms to support remote, on-site and hybrid work.
4. Chief Data Officer (CDO)
In today’s technological world, almost everything a company does generates data. For most businesses, it’s important that this information results in actionable insights for how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. But having that data simply doesn’t cut it.
The Chief Data Officer’s role is to harness their technical prowess to secure the information gathered, synthesize it and extrapolate meaningful patterns and trends—then communicate that information to the rest of the organization so that data-driven decisions can be made. In addition, they often liaise with DevSecOps, cybersecurity professionals and the Chief Information or Chief Technology Officer to ensure the company’s data is shielded and handled safely.
5. Chief User Experience Officer (CXO)
With so many options accessible to customers and clients these days, it’s essential that a business isn’t only providing excellent products or services, but also a top-notch user experience. The work of the Chief User Experience Officer (CXO) is to ensure that your business is up-to-date with current User Experience (UX) standards, responding to customer feedback and continually developing an authentic brand.
In collaboration with marketing, sales and product teams, the CXO keeps their finger on the pulse of the ideal customer to make sure the company is consistently exceeding their expectations—often before they can even articulate them.
Are You Building a Modern-Day C-Suite?
The world—and, as a result, our priorities—are constantly changing. In order to remain successful as a business, it’s important that we review operations, systems and practices, to make sure they continue to serve our goals. And when they don’t, we make changes.
Consider each of these up-and-coming C-suite roles. Then, look internally and ask yourself if your leadership team is equipped with the niche expertise necessary to address some of the biggest challenges facing businesses today—and tomorrow.