May 2012

All is Steady in Search for Top Talent, Q1 in Review

Richard Slayton

Richard Slayton

Managing Partner & CEO


The economic tone for the US economy in the first quarter was largely positive and steady. This parallels what we saw in retained search demand and the recent quarterly report released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). The industry as a whole saw modest growth with the number of executive searches growing by 2.5%.  Our firm has also seen sustained demand within the consumer/retail, insurance and industrial sectors.


Top Talent Need Only Apply

The interesting dynamic developing is that companies are remaining patient in their search for ‘A Players.’ Contrary to previous climbs out of recessions, companies “want it all” in their hires.  It’s not just the skills that are in demand, but the candidates’ leadership capabilities, soft skills and culture fit.  Companies are holding out for the ‘A Player’ and the top echelon of talent.


Is This the Year of Diversity?

Diversity and inclusion efforts are no secret, but dedicated roles around these efforts are making their way to the C-Suite. In our previous post, The Chief Diversity Officer and Why You Need One, we talk about the growing emphasis companies are placing on the diversity role to adapt to shifting consumer bases such as the growing Hispanic population.  Underneath the surface of diversity initiatives are some real business benefits: Lower Employee Turnover, Boosting Employee Morale, and Increasing Revenue. As with all C-Level searches, finding the right CDO can be the difference from a successful program and poorly designed one.


All Eyes on LinkedIn

Another theme sprouting up from the first quarter is the growing influence of social recruiting tools, like LinkedIn.  Corporate recruiting circles are leveraging social media tools mainly to identify suitable candidates and using the platform’s growing job board capabilities. For retained executive search firms, and the very senior level search work we conduct, the impact is significant, but it doesn’t  replace the art of consulting companies on position requirements, the need for intense confidentiality, and executive level screening processes.


Looking Ahead

The expectation is that the business climate will be paying close attention to a fragile economic situation in Europe and whether the American economy can push through sluggish growth unscathed. The next few months will likely be similar with steady demand from companies patiently pursuing top talent in the market.