What’s Next in Executive Search?

Companies Pursue Closer Partnerships, Broader Resources, from Search Consultants

As we head into second quarter, what does the forecast look like for the executive search profession? In a special edition report by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), President and CEO Karen Greenbaum offers the following key highlights:

  • Member executive search firms reported positive outlooks and their intent to expand their trusted executive search relationships to include leadership consulting services.
  • The market for executive search remains strong, and clients recognize the value that executive search firms provide in terms of confidential searches.
  • Clients are seeking executive search consultants as partners and are using executive search in cases where the executive position is strategic and high impact-positions where trust can make the difference between attracting the right talent and missing out.
  • Clients are open to broadening the way they work with their current executive search firm to take advantage of leadership advisory services such as succession planning and internal talent assessment.
  • Member firms surveyed also singled out succession planning and internal talent assessment as the areas beyond executive search for the most growth. In each area of leadership advisory services identified, members expected demand from clients to increase over the next 5 years, indicating that there is a clear alignment between client needs and the expansion of the service offerings of AESC members.

Greenbaum concluded, “The biggest takeaway for me is that executive search is a strong profession that is valued by clients around the world and that our clients value our expertise and trust us to help them with their most critical executive talent challenges.”

Some of the trends identified in this report are why Carlson Group has evolved over the last few years to offer our clients a broader resource. Back in 2012, it became clear to us that our client base was very interested in the leadership consulting services we had created for them. This decision has worked out even better than we had anticipated.

The AESC report indicates that about 5% of the revenue generated by member firms comes from leadership consulting–a small but growing number. At Carlson Group, the gap between executive search and leadership consulting revenue is not nearly as pronounced, as our clients today truly are equally utilizing both sides of our business. Clients continue to take advantage of all of the consulting services we offer, and their feedback has been incredibly positive and helpful as we move further into 2017. We’ve been able to create more strategic relationships with them, and we couldn’t be happier about where this is headed.

While we have many large clients, we especially see small and mid-sized companies using both sides of the business, demonstrating a growing interest in utilizing a broad leadership consulting capability to develop and implement a robust talent strategy. These companies are finding that working with a firm that is able to handle the full scope of their talent needs yields a more efficient process and better results for their company. In short, the breadth of the partnership between the client and the consulting firm directly impacts that company’s bench strength. Managing the talent pipeline is a multi-faceted process. When the consulting firm is equipped to work with you to handle each of those facets, the result is a company with greater alignment between talent and strategy, a stronger talent pool, and a healthier company culture.

As you assess both your current state and the challenges and opportunities on the horizon, don’t hesitate to reach out and start a conversation: Gregg Carlson, Executive Search, gcarlson@carlsongroupllc.com , or Gary Walljasper, Leadership Consulting, gwalljasper@carlsongroupllc.com , or visit our website at www.carlsongroupllc.com/testimonials  to hear what our clients have to say. We look forward to hearing from you!

Executive Talent, Volume 7 , AESC, “What’s Next for Executive Search and Leadership Consulting?”

Gregg Carlson
Over the past 25 years, Gregg has provided highly successful executive searches for some of the Midwest’s best-known companies. Prior to launching Carlson Group, Gregg was a human resources executive with Target Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of St. Thomas and his M.A. in Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesot
More articles by: Gregg Carlson