2009 AESC Mid-Year Outlook Report


Senior Positions in Management and Finance on the Rise as Top Executives are Hired to Lead Organizations Out of Recession

Sixty-four per cent of executive search consultants hold a neutral to positive outlook for the senior recruitment industry in general for the second half of 2009, revealed the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) today following a global survey of 323 expert recruiters. Even more promising was the 73 per cent neutral to positive outlook for individual search practices for July to December 2009 and over half reporting an improved demand for retained executive search during April and May against the first three months of this year.

Commenting on the results AESC President Peter Felix stated: “Following a crisis of this severity a neutral to positive outlook from AESC firms is most encouraging. Our members have been badly affected by the hiatus in hiring at the senior level but are ready to help those clients now re-entering the market to both upgrade their senior staff and to invest for the future.”

Sectors experiencing significant improvements were Consumer Goods and Services and Life Sciences/Healthcare, followed by Energy/Natural Resources. The strength of these three sectors was echoed throughout the AESC Mid-Year Member Outlook Report with high current stability ratings and growth expectations for the second half of 2009. The General Management, Finance and Sales and Marketing functions were also highly rated in terms of improved demand and future activity.

Felix further commented, "For the first time since the financial tsunami hit last October the executive search profession around the world is beginning to see evidence of movement in the senior executive market. Already in April and May there have been some signs of increasing demand and the outlook for the second half of the year confirms that our member firms and consultants are predicting an increase in search assignments, especially in critical leadership positions such as General Management, Finance, Sales and Marketing. It was only a matter of time before Boards of Directors and top management took action to ensure that they have the right leadership in place to not only weather the recession but to prepare for growth and competitiveness once the recession is over.”

“The results of our survey indicate that the shortage of executive talent which prevailed prior to the precipitous downturn may be about to re-assert itself. Industries such as Life Sciences, Energy and Consumer Goods are beginning to return to pre-recession levels while the emerging markets (China and India) again rank at the top of those countries with the highest potential demand. If the global economy is about to go into higher gear then the executive search market will be a very active part of it," explained Mr. Felix.

The report also revealed signs of progress in the candidate market with the understanding that senior executives will consider a career move if there is exceptional financial and employment security offered at the new position or a better role and increased responsibility. The majority of search consultants agreed that clients are sympathetic to out of work candidates.

Peter Felix added: “AESC members indicated that their clients understood that many talented executives were the victims of this recession and will certainly consider those who have lost their jobs in this exceptional environment. For senior executives who have been cautious in considering new opportunities until the storm passed, now may be the time to raise their heads above the parapet and ensure that they are in touch with the executive search community. The AESC's career service is designed to achieve this objective.”

Read the full report.


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