The Association of Executive Search Consultants says industry revenues grew a mere 3% annually in 2008, compared to 22% in 2007.
In its “Q4 2008 State of the Executive Search Industry and Year End Report,” the AESC links the fall in searches and revenues to decision-makers who put a freeze on hiring, particularly in November and December following the Wall Street catastrophe in October.
Where does this recession hurt? Everywhere, says the AESC. Asia Pacific experienced the greatest yearly decrease in the number of search assignments in Q4 2008, falling 22% against the same period in 2007, followed by Europe (-21.3%), North America (-21.1%), and Central/South America (-16.4%).
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The lone bright spot reveals that the average fee per executive search assignment increased both quarterly and yearly, indicating a senior level of executive search activity.
AESC President Peter Felix noted that “trends in the senior recruitment industry often act as an indicator of wider economic trends as strategic talent management responds to changes in world markets. We are hopeful that the hiring freeze in North America will be replaced quickly by a crisis recovery mode as organizations focus on the vital issue of leadership, thereby stimulating recovery in other parts of the world.”