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World – Executive search industry grows modestly

16 May 2013

According to new data by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the first quarter of 2013 saw a +7% quarter-on-quarter jump in the number of new executive searches started and a modest +2% increase in worldwide search industry revenues.

“Compared with the last quarter of 2012 these industry statistics are more encouraging and suggest a stabilization of demand for executive search services and a slight up-tick in overall revenues worldwide,” said AESC President, Peter Felix.

“However, they also display clear confirmation of worldwide economic trends that we have seen developing over the past 12-18 months. Thus, as the American economy regains its stride so the shortage of executive talent becomes more pronounced and client organizations are turning to executive search for help in competing for this scarce resource.”

North America held the greatest share of regional executive search activity in the first quarter this year with 48.8% of the global market and was the only major region to see its number of new search mandates rise year-on-year.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa region saw a +4% quarter-on-quarter increase in new searches started in Q1 2013, but a sharp -14.1% year-on-year decline. Asia Pacific and Central/South America saw a similar trend of quarterly increase, but annual declines in the number of new searches started.

Mr Felix said “the growth of market share for North America to almost 50% of worldwide revenues for the search industry as a whole indicates that until the European and emerging markets regain their impetus, then the American economy will be the main driver of growth for executive search and indeed the world economy.”

The first quarter industry outlook saw the Industrial sector hold the greatest market share of executive search activity, accounting for 25.9% of global searches. This was followed by leading market shares for Consumer (18.7%), Financial (17.6%), Technology (15.3%), and Life Sciences/Healthcare (13.2%).

Most industries surveyed saw a small quarter-on-quarter increase in the number of new search mandates started in Q1 2013. The Technology sector appeared the most robust, showing both quarterly and annual growth. 

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