How can the executive search industry future-proof itself?


2019 has been the most innovative and exciting year for the executive search industry globally. The overall picture is clearly complex but in many respects, it has been less challenging and more positive than predicted.

2020 is forecast to be the most critical year in the industry’s history, with increased threats and sharper competition as well as overdue, significant global events expected to shake up the search industry more than ever before.

Whilst some have been future-proofing themselves by internationalising and introducing interim and other non-search talent consulting services, many are inevitably starting to be left behind, incredibly busy stuck in the addictively sweet and sticky pool of inertia, running up and down on the spot.

The UK’s persistence of its Rule Britannia mantra continues to leave its European neighbours amused and flabbergasted: how can you say “I cover Europe” properly when you are not physically there?

However, this attitude is gradually changing even in the UK as well as in the US, its fellow insular cousin, where search firms in both are realising that either set up their own overseas offices or associate relationships with others can dramatically increase revenues and profit.

Interim and other non-search services such as assessment and organisation consulting are exponentially increasing as ways to introduce recurring revenue and increase the value of a search firm as well as future-proofing against world events and other threats.

As a whole, we should congratulate ourselves for starting to embrace change during 2019; maybe we could learn from our own advice to clients and start planning now to ensure a future-proofed and prosperous 2020.

What do you think the new year will bring? And what are you doing to future-proof yourselves?

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