Chief Talent Officer: Everything To Know About This Role

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Chief Talent Officer: Everything To Know About This Role

Liaising with the management team, the chief talent officer sets the strategic vision and priorities for the company’s staffing operations.  The chief talent officer creates processes to optimize hiring, build relationships for candidate pipelining and succession planning, and manage short and long-term staffing requirements. 

People are your most important resource in the organization. Finding and developing them is critical to your business’s success. And chief talent officer oversees employees’ recruitment, development, and retention to help meet company goals. 

What is a chief talent officer
Chief talent officer job description
Chief talent officer salary
How to become a chief talent officer

What is a chief talent officer

Also referred to as ‘Head of Talent’ in other organizations, the chief talent officer is a senior leadership role responsible for the talent acquisition strategies of the organization, especially for those in the management ranks like high-level executives, supervisors, team leaders, and managers. 

On a company-wide level, they also assess the staffing needs of each department. It may involve communicating with board members to fully grasp the business goals and expectations and how they can help the company’s production or efficiency via staffing requirements.

In SMEs, chief talent officers work part-time or full-time. They build candidate pools, screen applicants, and create recruitment guidelines for hiring managers. For companies with less than 15 employees, they’re either the VP or in a director-level position. Hiring is their core focus, but sometimes they may also be involved with training and development

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Bigger companies and corporations employ full-time chief talent officers. They could be hired either internally or externally. CTOs are on the C-suite level. They are involved in all aspects of talent management, like recruiting, learning and development, performance management, and retention. They may also have a small team within the HR department. 

Chief people officer vs. chief talent officer

Some people may confuse Chief Talent Officer with Chief People Officer

Here’s a table to distinguish between the roles: 

Chief People OfficerChief Talent Officer
Hire individuals below the management levelHire individuals at the management level or higher 
Manage the entire hiring process Aren’t involved in the hiring process
Don’t communicate with people outside their departments Communicate to almost every level of management within a business, including the board of directors.
Supervise only departmental operationsSupervise all departments within a business. Can recommend changes to major policies like changing a business’ production rate, rather than a single department 
Network and form relationships with a prospective talent for a department Delegate the networking and relationship-building to another member 
Manage only on a departmental level, focusing on a single department. Authorized to change policies, hire new people, and delegate tasks within their departments. Can move around most departments in an organization. Can execute policies at each management level 
Have limited authority in an organization, usually within their departments only Make authoritative decisions in the organization because they focus on company-wide goals rather than departments and individuals 

Chief talent officer job description

Job overview

Chief talent officers focus on the full employee lifecycle, which includes sourcing, recruitment, onboarding, professional development, engagement, succession planning, and retention. 

CTOs work closely with the company’s director and other decision-makers.  They contribute to policy changes to ensure talent development initiatives stay aligned with business goals. They also offer strategic advice that considers other important factors like open roles, skills gaps, employee turnover rates, and the company’s current stage of development. 

Roles and responsibilities


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  • Work directly with CEO and upper management to determine and address critical HR concerns and create employee strategies that support the company’s goals
  • Team up with recruitment, marketing, and line managers to help build a strong employer brand
  • Write and execute HR policies that affect employee life cycle: recruitment, performance reviews, succession planning, internal promotion, training, and career development
  • Develop executive talent management and retention strategies
  • Set up benchmarks to track organizational and employee performance
  • Provide HR best practices to improve the whole talent acquisition cycle
  • Checks on organizational design and workforce planning with management to ensure alignment of employees in achieving business growth
  • Assess leadership gaps across the organization and use different approaches to promote diversity in senior executive teams


  • Evaluate company’s hiring needs to build long-term recruitment plans. 
  • Leads discussions with hiring managers based on staffing needs.  
  • Supervise the creation, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of the different facets of recruitment and talent acquisition for top/high-potential talent for the company’s managerial/leadership roles: 
  1. Recruitment marketing
  2. Candidate management 
  3. Sourcing
  4. Onboarding 

Employer branding:

  • Sets the foundation for designing an enticing employer value proposition and ensures that the employer brand matches the employee’s perception. 
  • Measure the effectiveness of EVP by rolling out employee engagement surveys and performance reviews to create a solid talent management strategy and tailor benefits specific to the leadership team 
  • Craft employer branding messages that instill the company’s mission and core values.

Performance management:

  • Collaborate with line managers to evaluate employees’ performance
  • Create performance improvement plans as required 
  • Determine compensation levels for top executives based on performance and experience

Career development:

  • Work with the L&D team to identify skills gaps, spearhead training needs analysis 
  • Create, supervise, and assess learning and development programs to address performance gaps and boost company’s competitiveness
  • Evaluate the success of development plans by closely monitoring performance and improvements.

Employee engagement:

  • Champion employee-centric workplace culture by conducting regular assessments to improve work conditions and workflows 
  • Launch employee recognition and reward programs to incentivize high-performing executives and managers  
  • Conduct employee engagement surveys to track and monitor employee feedback and sentiments.

Succession planning:

  • Develop long-term succession plans in alignment with employee’s career advancement and address the organization’s potential staffing needs
  • Formulate policies related to the internal hiring and promotion process 
  • Oversee personnel actions such as promotions, transfers, discharges and disciplinary actions.

Employee retention:

  • Monitor, analyze and report employee turnover rates
  • Review compensation and scheduling guidelines to align with today’s workforce
  • Plan and launch employee retention programs and initiatives to reduce turnover.

Required skills and qualifications

Required knowledge and skills:

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  • Full cycle recruitment processes – sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, onboarding
  • ATS (Applicant Tracking System) 
  • Candidate pooling and pipeline management
  • Familiarity with social media and resume database management
  • Networking and relationship building
  • Recruitment marketing
  • Employer branding
  • Learning and development
  • Succession planning
  • Project management
  • Performance management and improvement
  • Employee engagement 
  • Employee satisfaction 
  • Employee retention 
  • Labor legislation 
  • Analysis and critical thinking 
  • Leadership skills 
  • Time management skills 
  • Communications and networking skills 
  • Strategic management and implementation
  • Sales and marketing 
  • Negotiation skills. 

Required qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in human resource, management, or a similar field
  • Master’s degree in HR, management, or related field
  • Previous experience in HR, specifically in managerial or senior leadership roles 

Chief talent officer salary

In a  ZipRecruiter report,  the average US salary of a chief talent officer is $126,111 a year (as of January 2023). That would be an estimated $10,509/month (or $2,425/week or $ 60.63 an hour. Annual salaries range from as low as $25,000 to as high as $223,000. The variance in pay depends on skill level and years of experience.

The average pay also varies based on location. 

According to Glassdoor, chief talent officers in Chicago are paid $227,420 annually, while their New York counterparts take home $217,900 annually. Meanwhile, on Payscale, the average annual salary of chief talent officers in Chicago is $185,850, while their New York HR specialist colleagues receive $207,009 annually. 

How to become a chief talent officer

How To Become a Chief Talent Officer

1. Develop HR expertise, specifically in recruiting and talent acquisition 

To become a successful chief talent officer, you must have a successful track record in talent acquisition, management, and development. You must have solid experience in a general HR leadership role developing HR programs. This leadership role requires making decisions that improve the efficiency of the HR department: 

  • Analyzing workforce planning to reduce time to fill 
  • Enhancing the employee onboarding experience that resulted in productivity growth 
  • Increasing employee engagement by updating learning and development programs
  • Implementing candidate review and calibration process to improve quality of hire 
  • Revamping the recruitment process to boost company’s diversity hiring efforts 

Most CTOs reach this milestone late in their careers. Some become Chief People Officers first before they become Chief Talent Officers. 

2. Acquire credentials 

In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, most chief talent officers have HR certifications. If you’re interested in getting certified, check out our Strategic HR leadership certificate program.

This course will teach you to cultivate a broader set of skills like lean management, organizational design, business administration and a deeper understanding of HR operating models, all vital in your role as chief talent officer. 

3. Focus on building and nurturing relationships

Chief talent officers must have experience in leading strategic and transformative HR functions that include building high-performing teams, driving innovations in HR practices and improving cost and value in talent acquisition and retention initiatives. 

To get management buy-in, CTOs must develop strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders to build a comprehensive talent management strategy that fulfills business objectives. They should be well-versed in communicating and presenting HR strategy ideas to senior management with supportive data. They must also forge partnerships at all levels within the company to achieve the desired results. 

4. Gain digital HR skills 

Chief talent office play a strategic role in the digital of an organization. They must also keep up with the latest technology and know-how to perform their jobs well. In addition to ATS, some essential digital HR skills include familiarity with different HR automation tools like social media, email, candidate texting, chatbots, virtual recruiting events, CRM (candidate relationship management), and talent networks. 

HR professionals are good at collecting employee and candidate data. The emergence of technology has revolutionized how data should be analyzed and interpreted. As such, chief talent officers must be proficient in analytics and data-driven decision-making to spot trends and develop a solution to some critical questions like what are the traits of successful leaders and how long it takes for new managers to be productive. 

5. Build your network

The position prioritizes hiring in C-suite roles, which is different from standard recruiting. It requires additional skills like sourcing, analyzing candidates, marketing, and building networks and relationships. 

As such, creating connections with people across industries and organizations is vital in your CTO career. It will help you directly tap your next candidate and build a talent pipeline for future leadership roles. More than increasing your current LinkedIn connections, expand your talent pool by attending networking events to forge relationships with potential candidates and future employees. 

6. Cultivate leadership skills

Leadership skills are essential to become a good chief talent officer because your role is to manage and coach individuals and teams. CTOs also take the lead in organizing the recruitment process for hiring managers and team leaders. Moreover, they develop, integrate and spearhead the establishment of HR policies in other HR areas like onboarding, performance reviews, training, and succession planning. 

In addition to attending leadership and professional development training, potential chief talent officers must acquire other critical skills like team management, communication, and conflict management. To be a leader, you must first be a role model by excelling in your current HR role. Adhere to the company’s values and mission. Consider mentorship with HR senior leaders in your organization, so you see the reality of day-to-day HR operations. 

7. Hone an agile and strategic mindset 

Remote work and accelerating technologies are drastically changing how organizations manage their workforce. A Pearson Partners International survey revealed that 60% of respondents don’t have chief talent officers in their organizations. 

Moreover, the respondents cited their top three human capital challenges: (1) supply of available talent, (2) lack of skills, and (3) attracting talent. 

More than leadership skills, chief talent officers must develop agility and a strategic mentality to see shifts inside and outside the business environment where they operate. The development of strategic agility will give CTOs the competency to recognize changes in talent acquisition and management quickly so they can immediately implement new ideas or address challenges before they escalate. 

To develop agility and strategic skills, chief talent officers need to: 

  • Be on the lookout for workforce trends and developments happening in the industry that could potentially affect the organization like globalization, remote work, new HR laws and regulations, etc
  • regularly monitor or review the leadership needs of the company and what they might need in the future
  • observe trends and anomalies visible in the workplace and set a contingency plan if needed
  • Be flexible and open-minded to adjusting talent management policies and procedures in response to business or staffing challenges 

Key takeaways

  • Focus on executive talent acquisition and management: A chief talent officer is a leadership role responsible for recruiting, managing, developing, and retaining executives at the management and C-suite level. 
  • Provides a consultative approach: Unlike chief people officers that manage one department only, a chief talent officer is involved in all departments within the organization. They can recommend changes in HR policies and provide HR best practices for the company’s overall improvement
  • Chief talent officer salary: CTO’s annual salaries range from $25,000 to $223,000. The average pay also varies based on location and experience. 
  • To become a chief talent officer: obtain solid HR leadership experience, gain credentials, hone digital HR skills, build the network and develop an agile and strategic mindset 
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