Are you bringing the right skills to the table? What employers are looking for when hiring

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The 2006 biographical drama, The Pursuit of Happyness, features Will Smith as Chris Gardner, a homeless, struggling, and single father determined to land a position at a stock brokerage company. Throughout the film, Smith’s character exemplifies skills that land him an unpaid internship at the company that leads to a full-time position. Despite his lack of resume credentials, he shows determination, persistence, positive mental attitude, and visualization, among others.

Gardner went on to own two stockbrokerage firms, Gardner Rich & Co, and Christopher Gardner International Holdings, and is now a motivational speaker.

Business continuity employers are scoping professionals who exemplify similar soft skills, in addition to resume credentials.

A long list of certification acronyms after your last name does not directly translate into being a Top Talent. A Top Talent professional possesses many skills and the cognitive ability to elevate a program, team, and organization.

In our recent 16th Edition Business Continuity Compensation Report, we identified that employers are seeking leadership characteristics and management experience in new hires.


Companies have responded to the increased awareness and visibility of their continuity programs. More than ever, executive management desires continuity professionals with proven leadership credentials, such as: presentation, publishing, and board experience. Organizations assume that if you’re a leader within the industry, you will be a leader within their organization. Hiring managers want a champion – someone who can bring results and leverage the relationships within an organization to advance the program for the better of the company.

Related: Firestorm Continuity Career Continuation Program

Cheyene Marling, Firestorm EVP of People Solutions and Program Analytics, notes there is a lack of leadership across the Business Continuity sector. “Leadership skills are very sought after, as are soft skills, including the ability to communicate and cultural fit,” she said in an interview with ISSUU. “A candidate must understand the culture of the organization, how to engage with its executive leadership, understand how to communicate across the entire organization and show passion for the industry.” 

In our recent Compensation Report, results indicated that developing leadership, such presentation and publishing skills, can potentially yield a substantial increase to earning potential. Professionals with substantial publishing experience can earn up to 44.2% more than their non-published peers (United States Business Continuity Compensation Report). At the same time, professionals with refined presentation skills may potentially earn up to 52.4% more than their peers who choose not to present. Professionals who choose to serve on a related professional board may out-earn their peers by 13.4%.

Firestorm Compensation Study - Compensation based on leadership experience and gender

Management Experience

When seeking to hire management business continuity personnel, organizations focus on candidates with real-world management expertise. This expertise includes: program, staff, budget, and direct staff management. Our Annual Compensation Report assessed how these credentials have impacted the earning potential for business continuity professionals since 2007. These real-world management credentials have become highly sought after by many hiring managers, specifically within management-level job opportunities. More than ever, organizations prefer candidates who have, “been there – done that,” in responding to real-world incidents and hands-on experience in developing business continuity programs from scratch. Historically, our report highlights professionals with more management/hands-on management credentials command higher salaries compared to their peers. The data results this year indicated the same.

Related: Check out the newest Firestorm #TopJob opportunities in the business continuity sector

In recent years, our Compensation Report revealed professionals are extending their experience, skills and certifications across multiple business continuity disciplines. According to Cheyene, “Candidates are becoming savvier and looking at ways to increase their marketability.”

How are you elevating your hard and soft skills to become a Top Talent in the industry? The goal of Firestorm People Solutions and Program Analytics is to propel professionals and organizations to the next level in terms of preparedness, competitiveness, and knowledge. We’re here to help. Opt in to #TopJobs to find the next competitive jump in your career, or become part of a worldwide research community by opting into our Analytical Studies.

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