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Executive search remains a challenge

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The search for executives has fallen 0.9% in the APAC region in the last year, but growth remains strong at the high end of search and leadership consulting.

According to the Association of Executive Search Consultants, the average number of executive searches started in the APAC region fell 12.1% in 2012, after rising 2% in the previous year.

Peter Felix, AESC President, said despite “generally disappointing results”, there was still optimism within the profession.

“Global revenues in 2012 were still not very far short (-11.5%) of the all-time high in 2008, despite the volatility in the world economy and the very difficult trading environments in the depressed countries of Europe and the decelerating ‘emerging’ economies of Asia Pacific,” he said.

Globally, revenue generated in 2012 fell 4.7%, despite an increase of 6% in 2011.

However, growth was recorded in the level of fees for assignments – up 7.1% between 2011 and 2012 – indicating the demand for high end searches and leadership consulting is staying put.

More than a quarter of executive searches were for the industrial sector (27%), followed by consumer products (19%), financial services (18.4%) and technology (15%).

“Given the disturbing variability of the world economy it is no surprise that client organisations are still treading carefully when awarding top level executive search assignments,” Felix said.

“However, the underlying trends are still strong, especially in North America, and the executive search profession can look to better times ahead”.

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