Recruiting C-Suite Talent to North Carolina Growth Companies

Wednesday March 1, 2017
  • Conference Proceeding

...the region – while impressive in many ways as an economic engine for the State – is underperforming relative to other regions in recruiting top tier talent to lead its area startups.

Executive Summary

An influential group of private sector leaders, university administrators, and government officials gathered at the Raleigh Convention Center on March 1st to craft actionable strategies to help the Research Triangle region attract and retain “C-Suite” talent to emerging high-growth companies in North Carolina. The invitation-only event, co-hosted by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, was structured as series of panel discussions followed by breakout strategy sessions designed to solicit specific actionable recommendations.

The impetus for the event was the realization among experts that the region – while impressive in many ways as an economic engine for the State – was underperforming relative to other regions in recruiting top tier talent to lead its area startups.

Key Findings of the Interactive Event Included:

  • The region has a unique opportunity to develop a talent platform of C-suite level executives and potential start up opportunities. This could be realized through a shared tracking and vetting system and other cross-institutional initiatives focused on matching startups with skilled leaders. The basis for this is the shared “pain point” among the region’s key institutions and the collaborative relationships that exists between them.
  • University tech transfer offices, entrepreneurial support organizations, and other institutions should more proactively coordinate their national communication efforts with state and regional economic development organizations to address some of the prevailing perceptions about North Carolina as relocation destination. Event participants clearly felt that the State and the region consistently “undersells” North Carolina as a top tier business destination, and similarly undersells the quality of life factors that are important to attracting experienced C-Suite talent.
  • The region’s unique attributes — three R-1 universities, considerable federal research investment, the highest concentration of contract research organizations in the world, deep private sector biomedical and pharmaceutical expertise — means it’s an ideal testbed for innovative approaches to address the C-Suite talent gap. As such, the region could work to develop a model of institutional coordination on this issue that other regions could implement throughout the country.