Chemicals & Materials

Finding the right formula for organizational transformation

Strong forces of change are disrupting the chemical industry. Ongoing trends include increased competition from globalization, a faster pace of innovation, a shorter time to market, and business process transformation. But even newer shifts require chemical manufacturers to pivot, addressing developments such as the rise of Big Data, industrial automation, and the Internet of Things. To adapt to these changes, best-in-class companies are adopting new strategies such as increased collaboration with customers and new models for research and development.

As a result, leaders in the chemical industry can’t just rely on their technical expertise: they also need bold leadership, the right talent and new ways of working. In relation to talent, this requires new skills, competencies, and experiences. Technology and innovation leaders must possess strong business acumen to weigh the merits of research and development projects based on current and future demands in the market. But few chemical industry executives believe they are ready for the future: 42% said their workforce lacks technical talent, 36% said their workforce lacks leadership skills, and 21% say their workforce lacks both.

Korn Ferry chemical consultants advise on every element of the transformation, from the requirements of self-disruptive leadership to the new ways of working and collaborating to increase circularity. In the talent spectrum for chemical businesses, we are working across commodities, diversified, industrial gas, petrochemical and specialty sectors. We help our clients assess, acquire, develop and retain professional and executive-level talent. Our consultants are located around the world, but we have deep local roots. All of our chemical consultants use their extensive market knowledge and cultural understanding to help you solve your most pressing talent challenges. On the operating system of chemical companies, we consult on diversification of sales models and the success profiles required to accelerate sales growth.

What we do

Korn Ferry chemicals consultants can help you with every element of your transformation, from organization strategy to leader & professional development. We can help you attract, develop and retain best-in-class talent for your organization, and we work with you to assess the full spectrum of your transformation-related needs.

Where we can help

Your performance and results are what matters. We partner with you to continually evolve and optimize to reflect the changing needs of your business. We have helped our chemicals clients address challenges like these.

Attracting and engaging new talent

Fewer than half of chemical executives recently surveyed by Korn Ferry say that their organization is thought of as an “employer of choice.” And only 34% said their firms have an effective online strategy for attracting external talent to open positions. In part, that’s because there’s a perception in the job market that the chemical industry is old and stodgy and focuses on producing commodities, while the revolutionary work is being done in tech, pharma and healthcare. With a shortage of manufacturing talent on the horizon, chemical manufacturers worry that they may not be able to find the talent they need or have to pay a premium for essential skills.  

Korn Ferry helps chemical manufacturers reposition themselves to attract top-tier talent. We’ll give you access to the industry’s richest data on employee compensation and rewards, so you can construct a position that’s competitive in the market. Then we’ll put our innovative search process to work for you, giving you unparalleled access to active and passive candidate pools. With our assessment data, you’ll know the essential traits to look for to ensure that job candidates have the highest potential for success in the role and for cultural fit with your team.

Improving diversity and inclusion

There’s a problem with career progression for women in the chemical industry. While women make up 40% to 50% of U.S. college campus recruits, only 30% to 35% of supervisors and first-level managers, and only 10% of senior-level executives, are female. And it’s not just a challenge for gender: there’s a visible lack of diversity across the board. For many chemical manufacturers, the problem is culture. All too often, chemical manufacturers lack the formal policies and informal practices necessary to increase the upward mobility of underrepresented groups.

Korn Ferry helps chemical manufacturers create a positive, engaging and inclusive business environment for all employees. We examine your hiring, development, compensation and promotion practices to ensure that opportunities are equally available to everyone. We use our proprietary assessments and other research-validated tools to help you identify and develop high-potential talent. And we work with you to construct clearly defined career tracks that give up-and-coming talent the experience that positions them for leadership roles. In short, we help you build a transformational, inclusive talent strategy that will accelerate your company’s performance. 

Leading digital transformation

In the past, it may have taken 5 to 10 years to develop a new chemical or product. Today, the pace of innovation is accelerating, shortening the time to market. Chemical manufacturers feel increasing pressure to produce results now in the short term while also investing in innovations for the future. And they must also consider how their products will contribute to the digital world, requiring knowledge of the cloud, cybersecurity and more. Deciding how to meet current and future challenges requires more than an advanced degree in chemistry or engineering; it also requires business acumen and learning agility. Leaders and professionals need new communication skills and critical thinking abilities, and they must be able to thrive in a rapidly changing workplace.

Korn Ferry helps chemical manufacturers recruit and develop talent with the right cross-functional skills to excel in the future. We know what great digital organizations look like and the attributes of best-in-class digital leaders and talent that make those organizations work. We use this knowledge to create structures and job definitions focused on digital transformation and geared toward key competencies such as agility, connectivity, discipline and focus, empowerment and alignment, and openness and transparency. Then we help you identify and assess candidates who match your ideal profile so you can achieve your goals. Our solutions will allow you to put the right people in the right place, so your organization is positioned to seize new opportunities in the digital world.

Let us be part of your success story

Contact us and see how our industry expertise can help you achieve your business goals.

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