Q1 2012 State of the Industry Report

Senior Executive Search Shows Small Declines in First Quarter of 2012

Despite slight overall declines, the technology and consumer industries show strength.

According to data just released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the first quarter of 2012 saw a small increase (+2.5%) in the number of new executive searches started as compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. However the overall trend was a decline in revenue, both on a quarter to quarter and year to year basis (-6.3% and -7% respectively). The technology and consumer industries showed strength, but other major industry groupings, such as the industrial and financial sectors, saw a drop in demand.

AESC President, Peter Felix, commented: “The first quarter results for our industry are disappointing but were presaged by our outlook survey conducted just before the start of the New Year. Many search consultants have felt continuing uncertainty in demand from their clients as economic turbulence persists in various parts of the world. Certain sectors such as financial have suffered considerably given that the outlook for banks and financial institutions still remains so unclear.”

Nevertheless most regions enjoyed a comparative quarter-on-quarter rise in new executive search activity in Q1 2012 from Q4 2011, including Central/South America (+10.6%), Asia Pacific (+6.3%), and North America (+3%). EMEA saw the number of new search mandates decline -1.4%, from Q4 2011.

Felix continued: “Quarterly statistics are only one indicator of a trend but there is no doubt that confidence in the executive search market has declined since the end of last year and is unlikely to fully recover until we see clients regain their confidence about the future and again start searching for that rare commodity: executive talent. I am confident that when the worldwide economy begins to grow again and the talent shortage begins to ‘bite’, that we shall see a significantly heightened demand for retained executive search services.”

The AESC State of the Executive Search Industry Report is quarterly research carried out by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) since 2004 on trends in the global retained executive search industry. Data for the report is collected from a consistent sample of AESC member search firms representing the activity of 1,430 executive search consultants in 46 countries worldwide. AESC access to retained executive search data positions this report as a leading indicator of the future worldwide management employment market and a barometer of hiring trends for top-level and seldom advertised positions in key market sectors.

Read the full report.


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