AESC Q3 2011 State of the Executive Search Industry


Continued Momentum and a Shortage of Talent Maintains Senior Executive Search Demand

Third quarter data just released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) shows that despite economic turbulence and a quarter-on-quarter reduction in the number of new executive searches started (-8.1%), overall revenue levels have been sustained thereby continuing the momentum of the past two years which has returned the industry close to its all time revenue high of 2008.

The year-on-year trend - from Q3 2010 to Q3 2011 - revealed a 5% increase in the number of new search mandates and an 8.3% rise in revenues. The average value of executive search assignments was also on the rise, in this case both quarterly and annually, endorsing the conclusions of the AESC’s recent client survey. The findings confirmed that organizations increasingly employ retained executive search consulting at the highest end of the market where the shortage of executive talent is especially severe and where the proactive and confidential nature of retained executive search produces significant returns.

AESC President, Peter Felix, commented: “Given the extraordinary volatility in global economic confidence during the third quarter, due to the European debt crisis and uncertainty in the United States, it is no surprise that executive search activity has been affected. However, while search starts are down in most sectors and regions of the world, revenues have only been marginally affected due to the increased average fee per assignment.”

Felix continued: “Our concern is that a reduction in new search assignments in the third quarter may indicate a tremor in client demand with consequences which may be felt in the quarters to come. We can only hope, however, that economic and political leadership will begin to provide the certainty that is so much needed as a basis for key hiring decisions at the top of organizations.”

Searches Started This Quarter by Industry, as Percentage of Total

A full copy of the AESC’s Q3 2011 State of the Executive Search Industry report is available to AESC/ BlueSteps members and the press by emailing Joe Chappell at jchappell@aesc.org.

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.

About The Association of Executive Search Consultants

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the worldwide professional association for the retained executive search industry. The AESC's mission is to promote the highest professional standards in retained executive search consulting, broaden public understanding of the search process, and serve as an advocate for the interests of its member firms. For more information, or to view the AESC Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, visit www.aesc.org. The AESC also offers the BlueSteps career management service for senior executives, as well as CorporateConnect, a service for the HR community offering executive search industry information and access to the AESC membership.

About the author

This article was written by Joe Chappell, Managing Director, Global Marketing at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.


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