Q3 2010 State of the Industry Report

Organizations Recruiting at the Top

Q3 2010 Data from the AESC Reveals Strong Executive Search Activity Focused on the High-end of Leadership Roles

Worldwide senior executive hiring was on the increase in the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest report from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). The yearly trend – from Q3 2009 to Q3 2010 – was strong with both revenues and new search mandates rising across all regions and industry sectors (revenues +32%, new searches +18%). The quarterly trend – from Q2 2010 to Q3 2010 - saw revenues increase by 2.4 per cent, although the number of new searches declined (-5.3%).

“The third quarter statistics confirm the strong trends experienced since the beginning of 2010 and indicate a continuing resurgence in executive demand in many regions and sectors of the world. In spite of a very uncertain economic environment during the summer months nevertheless it is clear that many organizations, having embarked upon strategic re-evaluation of their global markets since the worst days of the recession, were unwilling to put everything on hold until the picture again became clearer. Thus revenues for the worldwide search industry have sustained and even improved their already strong levels.” Commented AESC President, Peter Felix.

While the number of new searches started rose 18 per cent annually, they fell five per cent on the quarter (from Q2 2010 to Q3 2010). This quarterly picture of decreased searches but increased revenues indicates that AESC member executive search firms are working on a higher level of search assignment to position leaders at the very top of organizations.

“The fact that revenues are on the increase confirms what we have detected over the past several years that executive search firms are being retained to handle the most senior level of executive need alongside increasing demand for broader consulting leadership services.

“The financial services and industrial sectors have shown the strongest growth, since they were the hardest hit by the recession and were the most likely to recover once the world trading system sprang back to life.” Added Mr. Felix.

North America saw a 26 per cent increase in search activity in the third quarter of 2010, against the same period a year ago, followed by Central/South America (+24.4%), Asia/Pacific (+14%), and Europe (+13%).

“The challenges faced by many organizations today focus on finding those critical leaders who will guide and transform companies and industries over the next decade. These tasks are best performed by highly qualified consultants able to bring their broad perspective of talent and markets to bear on resolving client challenges. I am convinced that retained executive search consulting will continue to be in high demand as the world economy recovers its former strength”. Stated Felix.

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 1300 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