We entered 2011 tentatively, unsure of the sustainability of the recovery. With substantial effort, and continued “tailwinds,” last year was much better than most expected.
This year feels much different, less tentativeness and more optimism. Our clients are now looking ahead to the entire year, not just quarter to quarter, and what they see is a depleted talent pipeline. 2012 promises to be a year of increased executive search demand.
The Numbers Confirm Our Outlook
We are experiencing the boost in activity first-hand from our clients and it is confirmed by the recent survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). 43% of industry professionals expect search activity to increase this year. In particular, activity here in the US will be stronger than in Europe, which has seen soft demand for executive talent due to the sour economic situation there.
Consumer and Manufacturing Industries Poised for Growth
We’ve seen our clients in the consumer and manufacturing sectors increasing their demand for top talent. For the most part, American consumers have stabilized themselves from bad debt and poor job prospects. Now, consumers are opening the pocket book again; this past holiday season, retail sales rose 4.1 percent according to the National Retail Federation. After a decent holiday retail season, manufacturing companies will benefit from increased consumer demand and resurgence in consumer sentiment to buy American made products. The strength of these industries (and complementary industries) will create new opportunities with higher compensation and advancement opportunities.
Functional Area Demand
Not surprisingly, we see the greatest talent gap in C-level positions, which coincides with the survey data from the AESC report. The C-Suite is a constant need for enterprise companies for any number of reasons and across all industries. Executives who are primed for these types of roles will continue to see excellent opportunities come their way.
Other areas we expect to see increased demand this year include Finance, R & D/Engineering, and Human Resources.
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