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Headhunter Hints Presents: 10 Predictions for 2024

Here are 10 predictions for 2024 from Liz Gehl, CEO of Gehl Search Partners.

1. The wine and spirits industry will continue to see a portion of its employee base drinking less alcohol, with some deciding to refrain completely. Some will choose to leave the industry altogether to join alternative beverage categories, a ‘better for you’ CPG product, or the hemp/cannabis industry. Although this currently is a small percentage of the total wine & spirits industry, I foresee this continuing to grow as time progresses.

2. Craft cannabis, and luxury wine and spirits are still king. The companies known for their affordable, low to mid-end or mid-tier priced brands will continue to innovate and release low and no-alcohol line items, or cannabis products focused on mids or pre-rolls. Some with more success than others. Brand loyalty will help, those who have it.

3. We will continue to see expansion in the functional mushroom, hydration, and energy-related beverage categories. More growth is to come in the ‘better for you’ category.

4. Cannabis THC beverages will have challenges in growth due to inconsistent supply, distribution, and compliance. Lack of funds and the inability to have vast sampling programs will continue to create challenges in gaining market share, and consumer education. In the West in particular, low-sugar, naturally flavored beverages will become more widely available due to consumer demand. (This is something I would desperately love to see, so this may just be my wishful thinking.)

5. The hemp-derived (delta-8, delta-9) RTD category will expand and will continue to be available for purchase in C stores and grocery retail. Early on, certain states will dominate in growth while others will not even consider participating. However, it is likely to be somewhat short lived in that either the feds will intervene, or the Farm Bill will be re-evaluated and changes will be made that directly impact their ability to have a profitable business.

6. The golden handcuffs will continue to keep strong talent in roles that they no longer feel passionate about. The compensation package they currently have will begin to feel somewhat insignificant in comparison. Many will be willing to consider lateral moves with the opportunity to grow simply because they are hungry for that motivational drive that gets them going every morning.

7. A seat at the table and making an impact / being heard will continue to be the biggest motivation for those looking to make a job change, not (just) due to increase in compensation and/or title.

8. C-Suite and senior level executives are cautiously and confidentially poking their heads out of the hibernation era of the pandemic. They want to ensure that the recruiters they trust consider them for roles that could be “the perfect fit”. They enjoy their job, but understand at their level it can take several months – and 2024 is the year for testing the waters. I suspect this will happen more frequently as we approach bonus payout season(s).

9. Hybrid work environments will continue to be the preferred method for most mid to senior-level executives. The option to have focus time at home as well as face to face collaboration on a semi-regular basis has been deemed needed even by those who are incredibly introverted, or those who spend the majority of their time on the computer.

10. We will continue to see re-organizations, “right sizing” and consolidation within the wine and cannabis industries. Some employees will jump ship from the industry altogether, as we are already seeing. Some will remain steadfast in their passion for wine or the cannabis plant and remain dedicated; they will ride the wave(s) for as long as possible.

I’m looking forward to seeing all you accomplish in 2024 – reach out so we can strategize together to make this year a big success for both you and your company.

Looking for insight on what a CEO is looking for? Check out my interview series Ask A CEO and my recent interview with Michael Johnson, CEO of Dalwhinnie Farms and Shift Cannabis, Colorado Cannabis companies. We asked Michael what he looks for in candidates, company culture and the biggest challenges his companies face today. Read more here: Ask A CEO featuring Michael Johnson.