Q4 2013 State of the Industry Report

2013 Search Industry Revenues up but Volume Down

Annual report shows growth in retained executive search and leadership consulting revenues, but a declining number of assignments.

2013 Annual executive search and leadership consulting industry trend data, just released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), revealed an 8.5% rise in global revenues over 2012, placing estimated 2013 industry revenues at $10.57 billion worldwide.

The 2013 annual revenue increase comes despite an 8.5% drop in the number of new searches started in 2013 over 2012. Revenue strength is instead attributable to continued growth in the value of individual assignments, up 6.1% annually in 2013, highlighting demand at the top-end of the executive search and leadership consulting profession.

AESC President, Peter Felix, commented: “2013 has confirmed a trend that we have seen growing for the past several years, which is that client organizations are turning to our member firms for top level leadership assignments but less for the volume appointments of the past. Encouragingly this has not affected fee revenue which is now again very close to the all time high of 2008. With the rebound of major economies for executive search such as the USA and United Kingdom the outlook for our profession during the next few years seems very positive”.

On a regional level, North America remained the largest market for executive search in 2013 holding a 44.8% share of global search activity, followed by EMEA, which accounted for 31.5% of retained executive searches in 2013. Then Asia Pacific with a 17% market share, followed by Central/South America at 6.7%.

Of the major industries surveyed in the AESC’s 2013 annual report, Industrial held the largest share of worldwide senior executive search activity with 25.8% of the market in 2013, followed by a resurgent Financial Services sector with 19.1% of new searches started, and then Consumer Products (18.3%), Technology (15.4%), and Life Sciences/Healthcare (13.6%).

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.


Thought leadership category