2008 AESC Outlook Report


75% of Executive Search Consultants Have Positive Outlook for Coming Year, According to Annual AESC Outlook Survey; Demand for Executives Shifting, According to AESC President

According to new data released today by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), 75% of retained executive search consultants around the world have a positive outlook for the industry in the coming year despite the economic downturn in the U.S. Regional data show a nervousness in the U.S, which is currently not felt by search consultants in Europe or Asia Pacific. Of North American respondents, 58% report they are optimistic about the industry in 2008, while in Europe and Asia Pacific the percentage of respondents with a positive outlook is much higher, 80% and 88%, respectively. The annual AESC Outlook Survey was conducted by the AESC from November 28, 2007 to January 2, 2008.

AESC President Peter Felix said, "While American search consultants are showing some concerns about 2008, the outlook for the global industry is positive. Demand for executives worldwide is shifting but not declining: In the U.S., search consultants will increasingly focus on the need to find world-class operational executives for their clients as pressures on profits increase, while in the emerging markets the need is for skilled executives who can manage growth. Organizations need to recruit strategically in order to compete in a declining talent pool, especially those that need to shift the skill set of their management teams as the economy changes. Search consultants bring an objectivity, access and global view that can help organizations determine exactly what their evolving hiring needs are."

Executive Job Market by Industry:

The sector that saw the greatest disparity on a regional level was banking and financial services. 24% of North American respondents feel the sector is strong or very strong, while in Europe it got 58% of the vote and 70% in Asia Pacific. Global averages show, however, that banking and financial services is predicted to see the most growth in 2008 (48%). Manufacturing is currently strongest in Asia Pacific, with a 72% strong vote, followed by 54% strong in Europe, and 18% in North America. Professional services is strong across the board, with a 50% vote in the US, 47% in Asia Pacific, and 58% in Europe. Global averages also indicated that natural resources (32%) and healthcare (30%) would see growth in 2008.

Regional Needs for Talent:

China is predicted to see the greatest need for talent in 2008, based on 41% of the vote in the U.S., 21% in Europe, and 49% in Asia Pacific. 25% of North Americans said the U.S. will see the second greatest need for talent in 2008. Coming in second for European respondents was a tie between Eastern Europe and the Middle East, with each gaining 19% of the vote. 24% of Asia Pacific-based respondents feel that India will experience the second largest dearth of talent in 2008.

Year-on-Year Comparison:

Overall, as compared to last year's results, the data for 2008 reveal that retained search consultants remain positive but are slightly less optimistic about search-industry growth for 2008 (75% as compared to 84% last year). 84% of consultants globally are currently seeing a shortage of talent, up slightly from 80% in early 2007. 69% of executive search consultants plan to increase their own staff in 2008 (similar to last year's 68%), highlighting the current competition in the executive job market.

Read the full report.


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