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World – Executive searches favour quality over quantity

14 August 2013

Executive search industry statistics reveal an increase in the value of recruiting assignments during the second quarter of 2013, against a reduction in volume, according to research released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

Worldwide executive search industry revenues and the average fee per assignment rose by almost +7% each in the second quarter of 2013 over the same period a year ago, while the number of new search mandates fell -11.5% from Q2 2012 to Q2 2013. This trend of increased assignment value yet decreased assignment volume indicates an executive search industry focused on recruiting for the most senior management positions and providing highly skilled leadership consulting services.

Peter Felix, AESC President, commented: “The second quarter results are a powerful indicator of what we have been observing for the past several years, i.e. retained executive search is moving increasingly upmarket and away from more volume based middle market recruiting where in-house and other forms of selection are making inroads by employing social media. Despite loss of volume in search assignment starts, the average fee revenue per assignment has seen a healthy increase. It is also encouraging to see the first indication of new growth in the emerging markets and also in the financial services sector, which has been moribund since the financial crisis”.

The second quarter of 2013 saw all major regions surveyed (North America, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Central/South America) experience yearly declines in search activity from Q2 2012 to Q2 2013. The quarter-on-quarter picture - from Q1 2013 to Q2 2013 – saw an uptick in search activity for Asia Pacific and Central/South America, while EMEA remained flat and North America declined in its number of new search mandates.

The sector results saw yearly and quarterly declines for almost all industries surveyed - Industrial, Technology, Financial, Consumer, Life Sciences/Healthcare and Non-Profit - with the exception of a 7% quarterly rise in search activity for Financial, from Q1 2013 to Q2 2013. 

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