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Belgium – Senior executive search sees global decline

06 November 2012

The senior executive search industry saw a decrease in the number of new searches started across the globe in the third quarter of the year, according to a new report by the Brussels-based Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

This found that new search mandates fell by -7.6% in the three months to September from a year ago. Compared to the previous quarter, the decrease was slightly smaller at -6.8%.  The greatest decline was seen in Europe, Middle East and Africa, followed by Asia Pacific, North America, and Central/South America.

“The quarterly statistics for this time of year are traditionally reflective of a slower period and this year is no exception,” said AESC President, Peter Felix.

Major industries surveyed by the AESC such as industrial, financial and consumer saw a reduction in search activity on both a yearly and quarterly basis in the third quarter of 2012. One sector showing a degree of stability is the technology industry where executive searches saw a year-on-year increase of +12.3%. Life sciences/healthcare showed a mixed picture as the number of searches remained flat quarter-on-quarter, but declined by nearly -10% when compared to a year ago.

However, the fourth quarter is off to a better start. “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,” said Mr Felix. 

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