Q2 2009 State of the Industry Report

Green Shoots Confirmed by Increased Executive Search Activity

Quarter Two Data Shows Job Recovery Beginning in Technology, Financial and Consumer Goods Sectors

Positive economic indicators were revealed today by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) as second quarter data showed signs of recovery within the senior executive recruitment industry. The decline in executive search activity brought on by the recession has ended with a stabilized second quarter rising one per cent over the first quarter of 2009, attributable to increased searches in technology, financial services, consumer and non-profit.

Senior executive searches in the technology and financial sectors, which both saw quarterly declines in Q1 2009, rose four per cent in quarter two. Similarly, the consumer goods sector witnessed its first green shoot with a one per cent increase from first quarter levels. This sector’s strength was highlighted in the AESC’s Mid-year Outlook Report where consumer goods experienced the greatest improvement in demand for executive search during April and May and was among those rated highest, along with technology, in terms of current stability and predicted growth for the second half of 2009.

“Second quarter figures confirm that the first six months of this year have been a serious setback for the search industry but that we’re seeing a leveling off in declines and even a slight increase in the number of searches started. This quarterly stabilization indicates that organizations are beginning to pull back from the hiring freeze that shaped the early part of this recession as senior management gear up for economic recovery,” stated AESC President, Peter Felix.

The quarterly trend in retained search industry revenues showed encouraging signs with a mere four per cent quarter two drop compared to a 26 per cent decline from Q4 ’08 to Q1 ’09.

From a regional perspective, executive searches started in North America, Asia Pacific and Central/South America were on the rise in quarter two against quarter one, whilst Europe experienced a seven per cent quarterly fall. The UK however felt a five per cent increase in the hiring of senior management from Q1 ’09 to Q2 ’09 and witnessed only a third of the annual decline that it did last quarter.

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 over 1500 executive search consultants in 46 countries worldwide. Data does not account for annual inflation. 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.


Thought leadership category