2008 AESC Member Mid-Year Outlook Report


45% of Search Consultants Hold Neutral Outlook for Next 6 Months, According to AESC Mid-Year Member Outlook Survey; Demand Strong for Executives in Certain Sectors, According to AESC President

According to data released today by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the overall outlook on executive hiring for the next six months is neutral, with search consultants seeing executive job opportunities in the second half of the year in a few strong sectors: natural resources, manufacturing and healthcare.

In addition, the results of the Report show the functions needing the most talent worldwide are engineering (43%), general management/board of directors (34%) and research and development (29%). The AESC Mid-Year Member Outlook Survey was conducted by the AESC from June 16 to July 7, 2008.    

AESC President Peter Felix said: “With the increased demand for oil and gas, prices have risen and investment dollars are flooding into the natural resources sector, but there is an extreme shortage of talent due to lack of foresight and training in the early 80s and the retirement of baby boomers. Engineering is experiencing a very similar issue, and is therefore one of the top functions seeing an extreme demand for talent around the world. Executives trained in the United States and other developed countries are in high demand to oversee infrastructure and manufacturing installation projects in China, the Middle East and parts of South and Central America. The electronics and telecommunications boom of the 90s took many of the engineering graduates with it, leaving a gap in talent within more traditional civil, mechanical and electrical engineering fields. With 50% of senior leadership planning to retire within the next five years, that gap is now exacerbated.”

Executive Job Market by Industry and Region

The two sectors predicted to see the most growth in the next six months, natural resources (37%) and manufacturing (29%), were consistent across the globe.  On a regional level, professional services (32%) was also selected to see growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); hotels/tourism (29%) and consumer products (24%) were selected to see growth in Asia Pacific; and healthcare (35%) was selected to see growth in the Americas. Engineering was voted as the function currently seeing the largest scarcity of talent across the board with a 43% global average. General management/board of directors (34%) and research and development professionals (29%) are also in demand around the world.  In EMEA, professional services executives (29%) are also in high demand; Asia Pacific reports a need for CFOs (44%), HR executives (44%), and professional services executives (38%); and North America is seeing a shortage of CFOs (38%) and diversity executives (35%).      

Regional Needs for Talent 

China is predicted to see the greatest need for talent in the second half of 2008, based on 30% of the vote in the U.S., 29% in Europe, and 63% in Asia Pacific. Global averages show that the Middle East is the second largest market experiencing a need for talent (14%) and Eastern Europe came in third with 11% of the global vote. 

Read the full report.


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