In search for ``the leader for what's next``

In search for ``the leader for what's next``

MCR Interview: Oana Ciornei, Managing Partner, AMROP Romania

Q: First of all, how was 2017 for Amrop Romania and what are your perspectives for 2018?


Oana Ciornei: 2017 was another good year for Amrop in Romania. Acquiring new clients, entering in new market segments and growing our team, were few of the things we are proud of in 2017.


Q:  From your 2017 executive search experience, can you tell us how does your best searching result look like, in terms of the sector he/she was recruited in, how much does he/she make and how hard was to recruit him/her? What are the best 3 sectors to work for in Romania in terms of earnings?


Oana Ciornei: We always take into account the context of the hiring organization and the context of the potential candidate when we work on a project. We are always searching for a type of candidate that we call “Leader for what’s next”, the one that has a proven track record of successful assignments but also has the potential and the agility to face a different complexity and to thrive. Of course that different market sectors are in different stages of development and are facing different challenges, but so do the candidates and we are called to match them.


The assignments that create sometimes more excitement in the office are for roles or skills that are not well developed in the market: digital transformation, strategy or e-commerce, to give a few examples. We are always trying to enhance the professional standard in the market and we try to move competences from sectors or markets more advanced in some areas to others that are in need for such skills.


Q: According to the CEO’s message, Amrop is no exception to the conclusion that the best executive search companies have evolved into trusted advisors. Do you think your Romanian clients perceive Amrop as a trusted advisor?


Oana Ciornei: In Amrop, all the consultans have prior business experience from leading different functions (Finance, IT, HR, Project Management, General Management, etc). We spend time in understanding the client’s business and challanges and we advise, when we have the opportunity, even before the role definition for a specific job, matching the business challanges with the skills and trends in the market. In several ocasions we have convinced the Client to redesign the role or to reposition it for a better chance to succed. Trusted advisor is a status that is always co-created with the Client, and not a service that you simply offer.


Q:  What do the most exemplary and admired executives have in common?  


Oana Ciornei: They have a mix of generosity and humbleness that enables them to orchestrate performance, to foster creativity and engagement. They serve the organization and empower other people to better serve their clients. They also have the courage to change ahead of the curve and to design a broader purpose for which the organization stands, taking into account the longterm sustainability.



Q: There is a lot of talk at the moment about a new financial crisis worldwide. Besides, at national level, we are talking more and more about a budgetary crisis and, most of all, about a workforce crisis. Do you agree with the statement: Romania has never experienced such a workforce crisis? If you do, please tell us why do you think is so difficult to hire in 2017?


Oana Ciornei: The workforce crisis is indeed a subject of concern, because there are no quick fixes. When we look at the workforce, there are other dimensions to analyze than quantity. In quantity is no much we can do, we are facing a demographic decline that is here to stay. This should also raise the question of what type of economy we want to have, because available workforce and low salaries is not the case anymore.


The second dimension of workforce is quality and here the link leads us to the quality of the educational system, of public policies and partnerships between business and public sector. The third one is mobility of the workforce, and here again, because of the very poor infrastructure and cultural issues, we have one of the less mobile workforce in Europe. This is a paradox because people are more willing to emigrate than to work in the next county. All the three dimensions are of concern and without consistent and effective public policies, this is here to stay.


Q: At your level, do you see a wage pressure from the public sector to the private sector? How does it manifest and what are the consequences?


Oana Ciornei: In Amrop, we do searches for management positions exclusively. Once at the management level, people already made own career choices and switches from private to public sector are not happening at a large scale. Overall in the economy, when workforce scarcity affects almost every industry, a growing public sector in terms of workforce is a potential competitor to the private sector.


I also perceive a gap in productivity and efficiency between public and private and also a gap in management and strategic skills. A public sector that cannot keep the pace with the private sector in terms of professionalism, skills and ethics is not helping.


Q: What’s the role of the expats in the new economic cycle that Romania is going through? Are they more numerous now than in the past? Do they activate in the same fields?


Oana Ciornei: Romania is still behind the developed countries in many aspects. The accelerated digitalization and the agility that defines today the developed markets is something that Romania needs to cope with and to try to close the gap. Therefore, a healthy import of talents from abroad is crucial, as well as a healthy number of Romanian going to work abroad is very much needed.


Today, when the new technologies enable doing business almost everywhere on this planet, we need to act global and to be global. Expats vs. Locals is a split that has less and less relevance in an economy that is global, in organizations that are organized in clusters, matrix or tribes and where the diversity of backgrounds, cultural and geographical, are a source of creativity and innovation.



Q: If you were to go back 20 years, what would be your statement on ‘’Romania - then and now’’?


Oana Ciornei: There are many good things that happened in Romania in the last 20 years. Being part of NATO and EU is something that now we take for granted but still remains as the biggest achievement for my country. I would have hoped for some areas to develop faster i.e. infrastructure, education and health, to mention just a few.


I would have dreamed for Romanians to be more entrepreneurial and to have the courage to explore new markets earlier, but this is developing faster now and I am quite optimistic for the next 20 years.


Q: What’s your view on employment, trade and investment for Romania in 2018 and please give us your opinion about the evolution of your business sector in 2018.


Oana Ciornei: In Amrop we are measuring internally the percentage of new jobs (i.e. hiring that are new, as a result of a new investment or growth) and replacement jobs (i.e. hires that are made for replacement). We have noticed a change in the last period: i.e. a slowdown on new jobs, and this is of concern. On the other hand, Romania’s economy is growing at a good pace and we see some opportunities coming in the future in some industries. What we all need is a predictive and stabile fiscal environment.