Sunday, 25 February 2018

How Did The World's Top 100 CEOs Get To The Top?

What Makes a Top CEO?
The Education & Career Steps of The World’s Best CEOs

  •  42% of the world’s top 100 CEOs are between the age of 56 and 60.
  •  98% of the most influential 100 CEOs have a degree, with 36% of them earning a degree in a business-related subject
  • Only 4 of the world’s biggest companies have a female CEO, 96 are male
  • 28% of CEOs have a career background in operations, 25% in finance

What type of person is more likely to make it to the top of a multinational business? New research from Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment suggests that people who people who have a career background in operations or finance are the most likely leaders.

A study into the most influential 100 CEOs in the world has investigated whether there is any trend between your first career steps and how far you progress. The research suggests that it is near impossible to make it to the top of one of the largest businesses without a degree, 98% of the top 100 CEOs are graduates. Of the 98 graduates, the most popular degree type was business (36%) followed by engineering, accounting for 23% of the graduate CEOs.

The breakdown of the top 5 degree types for CEO graduates can be seen below:

Degree Type
Count of CEOs
Accounting & Finance
Computer Science

The research also looks into the age and gender of the largest companies’ CEOs. 96% of these CEOs are male, with only 4 of the largest businesses in the World having a female CEO.

The average ‘Top CEO’ age is 59, with by far the most prominent age group being between 56-60, accounting for 42% of the CEOs reviewed. The top 5 age groups can be seen below, out of 96 CEOs with publicly available information of their age:

Age Range
Count of CEOs

Finally, the study reviews the career backgrounds of the most powerful CEOs, grouping their career backgrounds into concise categories. 54% of the ‘Top CEOs’ have a career background in either finance or operations.

The top 5 career backgrounds can be seen below:

Professional Background
Proportion of CEOs
R & D
Data Analysis

For the full results of the study, please visit:

Rob Scott, Managing Director at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment said:
“In 2018 we are seeing that it is near impossible to lead a big business without being a graduate and that earning an MBA can be a real advantage to progressing your career. Starting out in an operations or finance related field can give you the mindset and strategic thinking which is necessary to make it to the top.
It’s also unsurprising how many CEOs in our study have worked in a sales role at some point in their career, teaching you the communication skills to manage staff and negotiate large business deals.”


About the research
The study was conducted by Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, researching the CEOs of the world’s largest businesses based upon Forbes data.

Research on the CEOs came from a range of sources, mixing Wikipedia data with reports from publications and outlets to collate the first career moves and education of the world’s most powerful CEOs.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Aaron Wallis Conducts Study Into Fastest Growing Brands 2017

The Fastest Growing Brands of 2017
(Out of the 100 most valuable brands in the World)

·       The women’s fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing topped our study, doubling their ‘search interest’ between 2016 and 2017. Gucci and Louis Vitton also appeared in the top 5 climbing brands out of the 100 we reviewed.
·       A number of Chinese brands scored very highly in our study including Tencent, Maotai, Baidu and Hauwei, who all grew their search interest by over 10% year-on-year.
·       There is a trend of eCommerce brands growing in search interest, with big names like Amazon and Zara also appearing in our top 20 brands by search interest increases.

Which brands have grown the most in presence in 2017? New research from Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment suggests that PrettyLittleThing, Tencent (WeChat) and Gucci have grown the most in brand interest this year.
The study uses weekly indexes from Google Trends to measure ‘search interest’ - where search-engine data is aggregated around a topic, or in this case a business, to reflect changes in searches and discussion. Weekly data from January 2016 to November 2017 was collected and averaged – comparing the average search interest score of 2017 with the same time period of 2016.

We have segmented our results into B2C and B2B brands as follows:

10 Fastest Climbing Global Consumer Brands

Relative Search Interest - 2016
Relative Search Interest - 2017
Louis Vuitton
China Mobile
Ping-An Insurance

10 Fastest Growing B2B Brands

Relative Search Interest - 2016
Relative Search Interest - 2017
DHL Express
Rolls Royce
United Parcel Service
China Construction Bank

For the full results of the study, please visit:


About the research
The study was conducted by Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, collecting weekly search interest data from Google Trends. 100 of the most valuable brands in the World were reviewed using Global search volume data.
Average search interest data was compared from two time series:
01/01/2016 – 19/11/2016
01/01/2017 – 19/11/2017

Monday, 18 September 2017

Our Study Into The 100 Richest Billionaires

Billionaires’ First Steps:
The Richest People’s First Jobs & Education

·       75 of the World’s richest 100 people have earned a degree. Of these 75, 22 studied a degree in engineering.
·       53 of the World’s top 100 billionaires started working in a non-family owned business. 19% of these billionaires started working in a salesperson role and 17% started working as a stock trader. 
·       17% of the World’s top 100 billionaires started their careers by setting up their own business.

What type of person is more likely to become a billionaire? New research from Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment suggests that people who start their career in a salesperson role are more likely to hit it rich.

A study into the richest 100 people in the World has investigated whether there is any trend between your first career steps and how rich you become. The research suggests that engineering and business graduates are most likely to become billionaires, and if you want to become one of the world’s richest you should start your career in a sales or stock trader role. Furthermore, you are far more likely to make the top 100 list if you are a graduate – 75% of the top 100 have earned a degree.

The research into first career steps looks at the billionaires who started working in an organisation that was not their own, or family owned. These billionaires were then grouped into type of first job, which gave the following job roles as the top 5 results:

Job Role
Count of Job Category
(Total = 53)
Stock Trader
Software Developer
Analyst (Varied)

The study also looks at the top degree subject by type, which gave the following degree categories as the top 5 results:

Degree Type
Count of Degree Studied
(Total = 75)
Finance & Economics
Computer Science

For the full results of the study, please visit:

Rob Scott, Managing Director at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment said: “Today we are seeing that nearly all of the top people in business are graduates and that a degree can be a great first-step into preparing you for your career ahead. It’s also unsurprising how many of the top 100 billionaires started working as salespeople, which can give you the communication and negotiation skills which are vital to succeed.”

About the research
The study was conducted by Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, researching the top 100 richest people in the world based on Forbes data.
Research on the billionaires came from a range of sources, mixing Wikipedia data with reports from publications and outlets to collate the first career moves and education of the world’s richest people.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Pros and Cons of using Social Media to Recruit

Social Media - there's no denying it governs everything consumers do. It's a valuable means of communication, and brand dissemination, between businesses and their market.

Most potential candidates and applicants for sales jobs will, too, use social media, and as of such it may be increasingly tempting to use social media to recruit sales staff.

LinkedIn seems to provide the best blend of business and social media - allowing individuals to display their experience, but it to has its caveats. To help you conquer the world of social media recruitment we've compiled a quick pros and cons list of social media & LinkedIn.

For a more in-depth guide on how to properly utilize social media check out 'How to Recruit Effectively with Social Media'.

Social Media Pros


Social Media recruitment is free, it costs nothing to go onto candidate profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (presuming they're public not private) and have a root around. While this doesn't equate to reading through CV's etc. it does allow you gain further insight into a candidate's life without spending any extra pennies. Here's our FAQ on Recruitment Costs.


As mentioned just above; using social media when recruiting can let you understand a candidate's personality, and how they behave outside of work. This can indicate if they're a party animal, if they share lots of interesting news - or even if they often say undesirable things for all to see. Do remember, however, that while someone may act one way in their personal life - it may have no impact on their professional capacities, it's about judging character in both realms. Remember, social media isn't enough to give insight into personal qualities - but the right interview questions can be.


By far the best advantage of social media is that it offers platforms for candidates to really be creative. There have been many stories of applicants using websites as innovative portfolios and CV's - but on social media people can constantly showcase their creativity. Social media permits recruiters to see if applicants are passionate about projects/interests and if they have talents which are harder to communicate in a CV or cover letter.

Social Media Cons

Discrimination Issues

It is illegal to discriminate for reasons of age, race, religion, gender, physicality, health, marital status, and more  (check out our article on discrimination law here). If a candidate has reason to suspect you've discriminated against them based on what you've found online you could be in trouble. Not only would you be liable to charges, but you could also have misinterpreted what you've seen. What is depicted online is not always the whole story, nor is it completely representational of a person's character.

Falsified Personas

Leading on from the last point, candidates can manipulate their social media output - making them appear far more desirable than, in reality, are. For example, an individual could share hosts of news articles on their Facebook - making them seem educated, without ever having read them. They could present themselves as composed and professional through their photo/media uploads - when they might not be. Take everything you see with a grain of salt.

Encourages Oversight

Using social media also overlooks relevant experience, it will never equate to a CV's capability at detailing an individual's experience and history. If you do choose to use social media in your recruitment campaign make sure you balance it by giving due diligence to applicant CV's, cover letter's, and references. Using social media is never enough on it's own - it won't give you a holistic idea of whether a candidate is suitable for your business. For more advice on analysing applicants, check out how to shortlist candidates.

LinkedIn Social Media Recruitment Campaigns and their impact

In short - it doesn't ultimately change the face of recruitment. But it does add another recruitment
channel, and it is an incredibly useful tool for recruitment.

LinkedIn has two major facets which alter the recruitment game:

Personal Profiles

Personal profiles are the basic user account on LinkedIn these let users market themselves towards other users, and companies. They can act as an extended CV, detailing employment history, skills, and personal qualities and interests. Skills can even be commended by peers to add credibility to claims.

Pros of LinkedIn Profiles

LinkedIn profiles are beneficial for recruitment because they allow for recruiters to ascertain an individuals skills and interest, and employment history, at a glance. This provides insight, and also validation to their claims. For a first impression its an incredibly useful tool - and can be used to reach out for candidates who aren't applying for roles actively should you wish to headhunt. Profiles also detail an individuals connections (people they've digitally networked with) - to see if they have any useful contacts, or if their contacts are spammy - suggesting they have little credibility and try to offset it with masses of useless contacts.

Cons of LinkedIn Profiles

Contrastingly so, LinkedIn profiles can contain falsified information, or have skills reviewed by peers - boosting their image to one above their genuine capabilities. As of such recruiting from LinkedIn has to consider alternate routes of validation - using references, checking CV, and always interviewing a candidate. Should you look at a candidate they will also get a notification to say you've been on their profile - which can be troublesome if you wish to remain unknown.

Company Pages on LinkedIn

Company Pages, albeit still in their early stages, are community facing pages for brands and companies. Allowing a business to share information with it's following, and must exist for users to claim they have worked there - all decent employers should have one of these pages. If a user claims to work for a business, and it doesn't have a page it would suggest the business doesn't exist, or isn't savvy enough to use LinkedIn. But maintaining one has pros and cons for LinkedIn recruitment.

Pros of Company Pages

Having a company page on LinkedIn allows you to interact with professionals in your market - allowing for you to work on your brand, and getting it into relevant spheres. Create and share the right content on LinkedIn and you can position yourself as an expert in your field. Perhaps, more importantly for recruitment you can post job roles on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has its own job posting system - allowing candidates to apply to you directly - however this is severely limited in function, and is typically a good way to create a longlist of candidates before slimming it down.

Cons of Company Pages

Company pages are also a burden - if poorly maintained it reflects negatively on your business, damaging your brand identity. Job postings on LinkedIn only allow for users to apply using LinkedIn's own 'quick apply' - which uses the information on a users profile to make an ad-hoc CV and allows user to type a brief cover letter. This means the information you get is rarely specialized, and provides a general overview - not helping at all to determine candidate suitability.

As of such using LinkedIn to post jobs cannot be relied on to find and recruit a proper candidate, it needs to be combined with traditional methods. Using a recruitment agency is often the best way, as they know the best circles in which to post jobs and to longlist candidates - and then shortlist them to deliver you a tailored selection of the best candidates. Recruiting alone, or purely on social media prevents you from getting the full picture, and while it can provide incredibly useful insight into an individual's creativity and talent, it's best to use it for a closer interrogation of already shortlisted candidates.

To find the perfect professionals for your business a recruiter can often provide valuable assistance, critiquing and shortlisting candidates to save you time and expense. Fortunately, Aaron Wallis do just that - better than anyone else,  see what we do here.

Friday, 4 August 2017

5 Incredible Answers to Common interview Questions

Interviewers are used to the same generic answers; a creative answer to a common question sets you apart from the masses. To help you get your creative thoughts flowing, we've got together some inspiring examples of incredible answers to common interview questions;

1 ) What is your biggest weakness?

"Being impatient is what I consider to be my main weakness. I begin by delegating to employees, but should they fail to meet my expectations I tend to take the task on myself. This becomes inefficient, but I've addressed this recently by giving detailed training for tasks so that they perform to my standards'.

This answer shows that the candidate has prepared and whilst being honest it turns a negative into a positive by showcasing how they've overcome an obstacle. The 'weakness question' is a typically frustrating question - so we've given you a guide on how to address it here.

2) Can you start by describing yourself?

"Firstly, I'd describe myself as being flexible, for example I would say I am able to effectively and efficiently complete tasks, as well as being able to fulfil the needs of customers. Here's a good example..."

This answer avoids waffle, lists off positives and then uses an example to add credibility to your description. It's a direct way of positioning yourself in a strong light, without simply listing details from your CV (which they will have read!). We've also got some handy tips on how to write a CV - an interview only gets given on the basis of an impressive CV!

3) Explain what motivates you?

"Results - whether that is closing a deal and making big profits, or simply providing a quality service to customers to obtain repeat business".

Although it might look like a typical answer, it shows the interviewer that you are motivated to meet goals, and deliver results which benefit the business. This positions yourself as someone who naturally is driven and achieves results. For some motivational tips check Olympic Athlete Kriss Akabusi's article he wrote for us on motivation!

4) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

"Still at the company, hopefully having progressed from my role - but my main aim is to learn more and advance my skills. I view my career as a marathon not a sprint, I am in this for the long run".

It might seem like this person is sucking up to the interviewer, but it shows that they're patient, and committed - not just using the company as a stepping stone. 

5 ) Why are you looking to leave your current position?

"I'm looking to better myself, through working at a company that will allow me to gain valuable skills and experience - a company with credibility such as yours".

The final answer shows that the candidate is being realistic, they aren't looking to become CEO within 5 years - but that they recognize (or can flatter) the company's expertise and position within its industry. It's subtle flattery that works.

Good interview answers can be boiled down to a few key things: creativity, examples, and discussing the business you're interviewing for. Real-world examples evidence your statement, using the business as a talking points shows you care, and a creative flair depicts you as innovative, and intuitive - someone who can solve problems, and not be completely boring.

For more information on interviews, or to apply for sales roles please visit our website.