Future-proofing has never been more important.
Since 2001, we have worked with the full spectrum of executive search and talent advisory firms, large and small, young and mature. From single office players to loosely affiliated networks. From strong member firm partnerships to fully integrated organisations. Firms with a local, international or global footprint, including all the Big 5 SHREK firms.
Irrespective of composition, geographical reach or size, our clients are asking the same questions: how can we achieve scale and growth, revenue and value? How can we create the conditions for long-term success? Executive search and talent advisory firms have enjoyed warm weather since the peak of the global pandemic. Conditions have partly been driven by the release of pent-up demand. Despite a period of stability and growth, leaders and partners of firms are far from complacent.
The industry is crowded, putting pressure on retained search. A lack of accreditation and low entry barriers leave the doors wide open to agile new challengers. At the other end of the spectrum and especially in the US, home-grown corporates still dominate. Their critical mass gives them the financial and human resources to achieve exponential growth.
A recent surge in AI has accelerated digitisation. When systems are well designed and ethically deployed, digital technology can elevate executive search. Digital liberates practitioners from time-intensive data collection and mining. However it is eroding the foundations of many firms, eliminating revenue streams as clients opt for digital substitutes provided by innovative and vibrant start-ups.
The needs of critical talent are changing, compounding the pressures on delivery: executives seek self-actualisation, freedom, portfolio careers, hybrid working. Attracting and securing the best candidates is a demanding endeavour and negotiations are more intricate than ever.
The big strategic dilemmas remain. These become more urgent as firms mature, scale and grow. Balancing local responsiveness with global consistency. Synthesising the desire for people (and member firms) for autonomy with the need for organisational reporting, norms and standards. Blending cultural diversity and unity. Deciding whether to expand via collaborating or merging. Via acquiring or being acquired. Positioning as executive search practitioners, or as leadership services firms.
Executive search will continue to play a pivotal role in supporting the need for diverse and high performing leadership teams
• Governance and structure
• Service portfolio
• Branding and marketing.
• Culture and internal communications
• Talent hiring and development
• Technology and processes
• Mergers and acquisitions
• Succession and exit