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Key Industry Trends

North America and Europe will drive revenue growth for industrials as global trends remain weak. Exports could continue to be a drag as currency pressures U.S. producers to an extent. Europe is improving as a weak euro and fiscal stimulus aid demand. China weakness may persist due to slower growth and overcapacity.
Producers are shifting low-value manufacturing to India and Southeast Asia, where labor costs are lower. Wealthier consumers in China will demand more high-value products, prompting manufacturers to use more cutting-edge production systems.
M&A and investor activism may continue to drive change, as many companies are willing to pursue deals and have the balance-sheet capacity to finance them. Activist pressure may prompt companies with weak stock performance to make portfolio changes — especially industrials underperforming over one- and three-year periods.
Commodity-related markets including energy and mining will remain weak, while aerospace and autos are likely areas of growth. Higher production and growth in spare parts will aid aerospace markets.
Persistently weak oil prices continue to blight the global industrial sector. More specifically, oil producers’ spending cuts have hit hard in industries that rely on that spending.

Talent Opportunities and Challenges

Industry leaders see innovation as the key to a future reliant on talent, skill, relationships, and intelligent deals.
Thus, the human factor is working in consort with technology to create opportunities, not remove jobs. Global leaders agree that innovation and human capital are the two areas they must strengthen to capitalize on new opportunities. The biggest recruiting challenge for CEOs is attracting people talented in creativity and innovation, or leadership, emotional intelligence, problem solving, and adaptability.

Aggressive and deliberate investments, while imperative, are not enough. The next wave of leaders in the industrial sector will build ecosystems that deliver on the promise of analytics and connectivity to maximize efficiency for themselves and their customers. They will get closer to their customers’ needs, creating suites of services and creating new partnerships outside their core specialty areas. They can succeed if they move forward in smart, deliberate strides. At Ward Howell, we work with our clients to identify and develop the leaders who can make this a reality.

Areas of Expertise

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction

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