Q4 2007 State of the Industry Report


AESC State of Industry Year-End Report Demonstrates Continued Worldwide Demand for Executive Talent.

Even though the last two quarters of 2007 saw a downturn in the U.S. economy, year-end net revenues for the global executive search industry rose 22 percent from Q4 2006 to Q4 2007, according to the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) State of the Industry Year-End Report. This growth represents the fourth consecutive year of positive industry growth, with compounded growth equaling 101% since 2004.

The AESC quarterly analysis showed a flattening out from Q3 to Q4 2007, but year-on-year trends showed an increase in all industry sectors. Annual growth was seen in the number of executive searches started (+8%), the fee per search assignment (+24.8%) and the average revenue per search consultant (+13.5%) by the end of 2007.

AESC President Peter Felix commented, “The performance of the executive search industry over the past four years has been exceptional. It reflects the tremendous need for executive talent which is being experienced around the world as the baby boomers retire in western countries and major new markets such as China, India and Russia evolve into dynamic market economies. In spite of economic turbulence we predict that organizations will continue to seek out the very best executives and that demand for executive search consulting services will remain high.”

Industry Trends

Financial Services only saw a 1% increase in searches started from Q3 to Q4 2007, but it was the industry with the highest year-on-year growth (+11%). The Industrial segment saw a 2.5% quarterly drop, but was up 10% for the year. The number of searches started in Professional Services was up 2.2% for the fourth quarter, and 7% for the year. Life Sciences / Healthcare saw a quarterly rise of 4.5% with year-on-year growth of 6%. Technology saw very little quarterly change (+.5%) but saw an annual increase of 4%. The number of searches started in the Consumer segment was down 3.7% in the fourth quarter but remained steady with 2% growth for the year. The Non-profit segment saw the highest quarterly change (+5%) and an annual increase of 59%, based on a small sample.

The market breakdown by industry changed very little in both quarter-to-quarter and year-on-year analysis. In Q4 2007, Financial Services held the largest market share with 24%, followed by Industrial (23%), Consumer Products (17%), Technology (15%), Life Sciences/Healthcare (12.4%), Non-Profit (5%), and Professional Services (3.4%).

On a regional basis, Asia Pacific saw the largest annual increase in searches with a 12% rise, followed by Europe (+9.5%) and North America (+8%). Central / South America saw an annual decrease of 9%.

There was very little change in regional market share from 2006 to 2007. North America represented 42% percent of the retained executive search market (-1% from the previous year), with Europe shortly behind, accounting for 35 percent of search activity (+1% from the previous year). Asia/Pacific’s market share grew 1% in 2007 to reach 16% market share. Central/South America saw a decrease of 1%, accounting for 7% of the market by the end of 2007.

In 2007 the top three European markets for retained executive search combined (UK 28%, Germany 14%, and France 11%) represented over half of the total European market with 53 % total share. The annual change saw a 5% drop in UK searches.

The data was collected from a sample of AESC member search firms representing the activity of over 1,500 executive search consultants in 46 countries worldwide. AESC access to job search data positions this Report as a leading indicator of the future worldwide job market and a barometer of hiring trends in key market sectors.

Read the full report.


Thought leadership category