Q3 2012 State of the Industry Report

Reduction in Third Quarter Executive Search Activity

Executive searches slow down across major industries and regions in the third quarter of 2012, yet with some stability within the Technology and Life Sciences/Healthcare sectors.

The senior executive search industry experienced a decrease in the number of new searches started worldwide in the third quarter of 2012, as reported today by the global Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). New search mandates saw a fall of -7.6% year-on-year (from Q3 2011 to Q3 2012) and -6.8% quarter-on-quarter (from Q2 2012 to Q3 2012).

Showing some stability in the third quarter were executive searches within the Technology sector, which held a year-on-year increase of +12.3% and saw the least quarter-on-quarter decline (-1.9%). Life Sciences/Healthcare also saw quarterly stability, with the number of new searches remaining steady from Q2 2012 to Q3 2012 (+0.4%), though declining -9.8% yearly. All other major industries surveyed by the AESC – Industrial, Financial and Consumer – saw a reduction in search activity on both a yearly and quarterly basis in the third quarter of 2012.

AESC President, Peter Felix, commented: “The quarterly statistics for this time of year are traditionally reflective of a slower period and this year is no exception. While the figures are disappointing they are not entirely surprising since anecdotal evidence had indicated a downturn in search business in August and September. However, the current quarter is off to a relatively good start and there is still a chance that the annual figures will be on a general level with 2011, in itself the third highest revenue level ever”.

The regional picture also showed reduced executive search activity during the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the same period the previous year (Q3 2011) and the previous quarter (Q2 2012). The EMEA region saw the greatest decline in new searches started in Q3 2012, followed by Asia Pacific, North America, and then Central/South America – which was the only region to show a positive trend in new search mandates: +0.7% quarter-on-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 1430 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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