Investor Relations Officers Gained Influence and Impact Throughout the Pandemic and Turbulent Markets

Key Findings Released in 2022 NIRI and Korn Ferry Investor Relations Career Trends Survey Report

LOS ANGELES and ALEXANDRIA, VA, Oct. 17, 2022 – Amid the challenges of operating throughout the pandemic and the public markets volatility during the past year, a new survey by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) and NIRI: The Association for Investor Relations, validates the increasingly critical role investor relations officers (IROs) play. 

More than ever, IROs are helping organizations navigate unpredictable and dynamic markets that are increasingly complex, more regulated, and demanding more disclosure and transparency.

The “2022 NIRI and Korn Ferry Investor Relations Career Trends Survey Report” includes data compiled from NIRI corporate practitioner members during April/May 2022 and delivers these key findings:
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of IROs say the IR function has been elevated within their company.
  • More than 90% of IROs are “very optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” about the profession.
  • IROs say the most important skills needed to be successful today are:
    • Communications/storytelling
    • Financial acumen
    • Strategic mindset and managing ambiguity
  • Only 20% of IROs have a succession plan in place and 71% do not have a clear next move for themselves.
The effects of the extended COVID-19 pandemic have also altered the investor relations function and career landscape. Specifically:
  • More than 80% of IROs changed how they managed the IR function during the pandemic.
  • With a virtual lockdown, more IROs have leveraged technology and digital communications to conduct roadshows, one-on-one meetings, and conferences, as well as fine-tuning their materials to better suit the virtual meeting landscape.
  • Having found ways to operate successfully in a virtual mode, nearly 51% of NIRI members say they are personally “not willing to relocate” for a new position.
Compensation for IROs has increased significantly since the last Korn Ferry-NIRI joint survey in 2020. The composition of compensation packages shows growth in four components:
  • Base Salary: More than 30% have base salaries in the $276K to $350K range; and nearly 12% are $351K and above.
  • Cash Bonus: Nearly 30% have an annual cash bonus target of 26-35% of base compensation and more than 30% have a bonus target in the 36-60% range.
  • Long-term Investment Plans (LTIPs): More than 25% have annual LTIP plans valued at 26-50% of base salary.
  • Equity: Of those with an equity component, nearly 60% have restricted stock units as part of their package.
The 2022 survey also shows that IR professionals have a high percentage of advanced degrees and credentials. For example:
  • Education: 93% have advanced degrees (78% hold MBAs and 25% hold an MS or MA degree).
  • Credentials: 34% hold CPAs, 26% hold CFA credentials, and 28% hold the Investor Relations Charter (IRC®) certification.  
NIRI plans to post a detailed survey report on the NIRI website that will be available exclusively to members.

“These results reinforce the high value of the investor relations profession and of top IR talent within corporate C-suites,” says Matthew Brusch, CAE, President and CEO of NIRI. “This is clearly demonstrated by the data that show that even through several years of a pandemic and economic turmoil, the majority of IROs in 2022 reported higher base salary brackets compared with 2019 pre-pandemic levels.”

Brusch added, “This report also validates NIRI’s Investor Relations Charter® (IRC) as the top credential possessed by senior-level IR professionals. Launched in 2016 as the only professional IR credential in the United States, the IRC has seen strong growth in the IR community and is now held by more than 230 IROs in 10 countries around the world.”

“It’s been an unprecedented market for IR talent during the past two years. Following a short hiatus in hiring when COVID-19 hit, the demand for IR talent accelerated during the flurry of special purpose acquisition companies and ’white hot’ public markets,” said Richard Marshall, Korn Ferry Global Managing Director, Communications and Investor Relations. “We saw compensation packages escalate – some exceeding seven figures – for top talent at the peak of the market.”

Peter McDermott, Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner, added, “Investor and board focus on ESG has put a spotlight on the investor relations function during the past few years. This has further cemented the importance of the role of IR for the modern executive team.”

“In a crowded and noisy marketplace, the IRO role is critical in helping management to proactively and clearly frame the investment thesis to the investment community,” said Marshall.
NIRI Director of Communications Al Rickard, and 703-402-9713.
Korn Ferry Communications, Tracy Kurschner and 612.309.3957
About the Survey
The 2022 NIRI/Korn Ferry Investor Relations Officers Survey collected data from NIRI’s corporate practitioner members (i.e., non-agency/consultant) in April/May 2022. Among its more than 2,000 corporate members, a total of 397 IR professionals participated in the survey. This is the seventh joint survey NIRI and Korn Ferry have partnered on since 2008.

About NIRI: The Association for Investor Relations
Founded in 1969, NIRI is the professional association of corporate officers and investor relations consultants responsible for communication among corporate management, shareholders, securities analysts, and other financial community constituents. NIRI is the largest professional investor relations association in the world with members representing over 1,500 publicly held companies and $12 trillion in stock market capitalization.

About Korn Ferry 
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

About Korn Ferry’s Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations Center of Expertise
Korn Ferry’s Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations Center of Expertise is a global practice area that specializes in recruiting and onboarding talent in the communications, investor relations, and government affairs functions across industry sectors.

Contact : Al Rickard , 703-402-9713,