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POID Working Paper

The demand for executive skills


We use a unique corpus of job descriptions for C-suite positions to document skills requirements in top managerial occupations across a large sample of firms. A novel algorithm maps the text of each executive search into six separate skill clusters reflecting cognitive, interpersonal, and operational dimensions. The data show an increasing relevance of social skills in top managerial occupations, and a greater emphasis on social skills in larger and more information intensive organizations. The results suggest the need for training, search and governance mechanisms able to facilitate the match between firms and top executives along multiple and imperfectly observable skills.


Joe Fuller, Stephen Hansen, Tejas Ramdas and Raffaella Sadun

1 September 2021     Paper Number POIDWP015

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This POID Working Paper is published under the Programme on Innovation and Diffusion.