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Executive Search Revenues stable, survey finds

Third quarter 2013 data just released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) shows a global increase in the value of senior executive search assignments, reflecting the second quarter trend of an industry focused on recruiting for the most senior management positions.

The average fee per executive search assignment increased quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013 (4.4% and 6.4% respectively), while in contrast the number of new executive search starts declined (-6.6% quarterly and -11.2% yearly). The declining search volume is also set against a rise in year-on-year revenues of 11.7 per cent from Q3 2012 to Q3 2013, albeit a flat quarter-on-quarter revenue picture.

AESC president, Peter Felix, commented, “The third quarter results, building on the trends of the last year or more, very clearly reflect client demand that is focused on higher level, quality searches as opposed to the volume associated with more middle to senior recruiting. This trend is substantiated by recent survey work of the AESC amongst the client community which indicates that retained executive search is actively competed against in the middle to senior management levels by other recruiting methods, but is relatively free of competition where searches are at the top level, more complex, confidential, international in scope and highly sensitive to public scrutiny. Given that the world economy is slowly reawakening and the talent shortage is still severe in many markets, then we believe that this bodes well for the profession as a whole. It also reminds AESC member firms to continue to maintain the highest standards and perform exceptional work”.

The third quarter AESC study also measured the number of new search mandates by region and industry, showing blanket declines in new search activity in the third quarter of 2013 for all major regions and industries surveyed. The regional outlook saw Central/South America witness the greatest drop in searches, followed by North America, EMEA, and then Asia Pacific with the least decline.

The third quarter market share outlook revealed that Financial Services and Consumer Products both held small year-on-year increases in market share. Life Sciences/Healthcare saw no change in its market position, while the Industrial and Technology sectors witnessed a minor drop – accounting for shares given over to the growth in FS and Consumer new search starts.

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. 

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