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Executive Search has long been seen as a key barometer of the Economy, little wonder I get asked about the state of the market, daily.

So, I had a look…..

Market Activity

Instructions by Sector
Manufacturing has seen the greatest increase with a 400% increase in instructions. Tellingly, all other sectors have balanced that growth with modest decreases, although with two tech instructions and a retail instruction in the first few weeks of 2018, some of those losses have been cancelled out.

Instructions by Function
Unsurprisingly, there hasn’t been a huge shift in the last 12 months. Increases in General Management and eCommerce demand, very slight decrease in Sales/Marketing and Operations. All other areas remained static with the exception of an increase in one-off roles – Last year’s Chief Experience Officer being a prime example.

Instructions by Salary
The level of our average instruction has increased significantly, and more so than the increases in salaries seen. Variety of factor for this, our exposure and penetration will be part of it, but the bigger factors are:

  1. The increased presence the North (and in particular Manchester) has in attracting and locating senior execs here
  2. Growth in smaller businesses leading to an increase of newly created board positions

Gender Breakdown

As the Women on Boards agenda continues to roll (and see an actual decrease in large company female execs), our percentage of females was 46%, against a national average of 27%. Finance and Sales/Marketing being the two fields that saw more females than males placed. However, the analysis of those responding to headhunting approaches shows that only 34% of females are interested in hearing about a new opportunity.


Salary movements by function
Most functions have seen a basic salary increase, average rise being around 7%. Sales & Marketing is the only function where that trend has reversed, but it, and all functions to a lesser degree, have seen package values increase through bonus and LTIP uplifts – rewarding performance.

Package Breakdown – Salary/Bonus/LTIP
All functions have seen package increases, and package values geared more towards performance earnings (bonuses) as well as LTIP/wealth creation schemes. Sales & Marketing roles remain the functions with the greatest percentage of packages biased towards bonuses, HR being the least. General Management postings have seen not only the greatest salary increases, but a marked increase in the percentage of their overall remuneration package geared towards LITP/Equity. Average salary offered in 2017 was £112,300.

Other stats

72% of instructions were for newly created roles, the reminder being replacement roles. (previous year 64%)
44% of placed individuals relocated (or would have to relocate) for their new role. (previous year 31%)
68% of those placed were over the age of 40 (average age of all placements was 44). (previous year 57%, average age 41)
55% of placed individuals were held to their full notice period. (previous year 46%)
39% of placed individuals changed sector to some degree. (previous year 34%)

Process Averages 

  • Average Longlist – 37
  • Average number of interviews to compile shortlist – 23
  • Average number of candidates on shortlist – 4.8
  • Average number of client 1st interviews per process – 4.7
  • Average weeks to conclude retained assignments – 8.2
  • Average notice period held to – 11 weeks