Q1 2013 State of the Industry Report

First Quarter Stability in Senior Executive Recruiting

Q1 2013 Report by Global Executive Search Association Shows Modest Quarterly Growth

According to data just released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the first quarter of 2013 saw a seven per cent quarter-on-quarter rise in the number of new executive searches started and a modest two per cent increase in worldwide search industry revenues.

North America held the greatest share of regional executive search activity in the first quarter this year with 48.8 per cent of the global market and was the only major region to see its number of new search mandates rise year-on-year, from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013.

The EMEA region saw a four per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in new searches started in Q1 2013, but a 14.1 per cent year-on-year decline (from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013). Asia Pacific and Central/South America saw a similar trend of quarterly increase - from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013 - yet yearly decline in the number of new searches started.

AESC President, Peter Felix, commented: “Compared with the last quarter of 2012 these industry statistics are more encouraging and suggest a stabilization of demand for executive search services and a slight up-tick in overall revenues worldwide. However, they also display clear confirmation of worldwide economic trends that we have seen developing over the past 12-18 months. Thus, as the American economy regains its stride so the shortage of executive talent becomes more pronounced and client organizations are turning to executive search for help in competing for this scarce resource.”

Felix added: “The growth of market share for North America to almost 50 per cent of worldwide revenues for the search industry as a whole indicates that until the European and emerging markets regain their impetus, then the American economy will be the main driver of growth for executive search and indeed the world economy.”

The first quarter industry outlook saw the Industrial sector hold the greatest market share of executive search activity, accounting for 25.9 per cent of global searches (despite declining 1.5 per cent from its Q1 2012 market share position). This was followed by leading market shares for Consumer (18.7%), Financial (17.6%), Technology (15.3%), and then Life Sciences/Healthcare (13.2%).

Most industries surveyed saw a small quarter-on-quarter increase in the number of new search mandates started in Q1 2013, yet the Technology sector (at 15.3% market share) appeared the most robust showing 5.5 per cent quarterly growth - from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013 - and 11.9 per cent yearly growth – the only sector to experience year-on-year growth.  

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 and leadership consulting 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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