Why marketing chiefs have the highest turnover in the C-suite

Chief marketing officers have been shown in previous research to have the shortest tenures of any C-level executive, and a new study from Engage Talent sheds further light on this rapid turnover.

According to Forbes, the research found that, at any given time, a sizable portion of chief marketing officers are interested in changing jobs (10 percent) while another 7 percent are "extremely interested." In comparison, only 7 percent of COOs, 6 percent of CFOs and just 3 percent of CEOs are interested in finding a new job.

As Kimberly Whitler, PhD, a former chief marketing officer and an assistant professor of marketing at Charlottesville-based University of Virginia, wrote alongside the study's findings in Forbes, this increased penchant for job-switching could be explained either by an inherent dissatisfaction within the role or by the type of candidates who seek careers in marketing.

Dr. Whitler's own research and conversations with marketing chiefs, she explained, have shown that the type of person who gravitates toward the role is often one who is comfortable with risk and prefers more regular change. Additionally, the role can breed a certain sense of dissatisfaction, since marketing strategy is often sidelined by fellow executives and given inadequate support from CEOs.

"Regardless of the reason for the high(er) number of C-level marketers interested in job change, it is an important fact of which CEOs should be aware," Dr. Whitler wrote. "If the reason that many CMOs leave is because of a need for change, companies can take steps to keep CMOs challenged and engaged, preventing needless turnover."

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