AESC Insights: Q3 2015 State of the Executive Search Industry

The executive search and leadership consulting profession continues to grow, according to third quarter trends, with an increase in average fee per assignment (3% year-on-year; 5.81% quarter-on-quarter) driving a 2.75% uptick for year-on-year net revenue. While the average number of searches started declined slightly quarter-on-quarter (1.25%), its year-on-year performance is up 4.87%.

The Q3 State of the Executive Search Industry report reveals that the technology sector had a very strong quarter, moving it into second place behind financial services for average number of searches started (up 18.52% year-on-year and 5.36% quarter-on-quarter).

The life sciences / healthcare sector slowed slightly during Q3, but overall has performed strongly this year (up 20% year-on-year but down 1.27% quarter-on-quarter).

The mix of searches by industry is quite balanced with none of the sectors being 25% or higher. Industrial remains the largest sector at 24.6% with financial services remaining steady at 21.1%. Technology and life sciences / healthcare are at 15.3% and 15% respectively.

Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO, said: “We were pleased to see the technology sector rebounding after a somewhat surprising drop last quarter. The strength of the most recent quarter was impressive, seeing this sector surge to second place behind Financial Services.

“Life sciences / healthcare, on the other hand, had a slight drop off after a strong upswing last quarter. This sector continues to be strong however with significant growth year-on-year. “ North America is the largest market for executive search, controlling a 44.4% share of the profession, followed by EMEA (32.4%), Asia Pacific (17.1%), and Latin America (6.1%).

Year-on-year three of these regions recorded significant growth in the number of searches started (Asia Pacific, 7.23%; North America, 6.94%; EMEA, 6.94%). For the second consecutive quarter Latin America witnessed a decrease in the number of searches both quarter-on-quarter (1.73%) and year-on-year (8.7%).

Greenbaum continues: “It is yet another strong quarter for both the North America and Asia Pacific regions. Both have been on an upward trend for the last three quarters, to mark a significant increase of average searches started year-on-year. We saw a decline for the EMEA region, after a couple of strong quarters, while the Latin American region continues to struggle.

“We look forward to the year-end results. Last year was a record-breaking year for the profession, and we are on course to once again exceed the prior year.”  

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