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Poll: Demand for Senior Executives Rises

By SHRM Online staff  1/18/2012
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Despite difficult economic conditions, increased demand for senior executives is still expected in most major markets around the globe in 2012 but with less optimism than at the start of 2011, according to a poll released in January 2012, by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

According to a release from AESC, 43 percent of industry professionals surveyed predict that executive search activity will increase in 2012, with the greatest increase expected in the energy and natural resources industries (52.4 percent) followed by the health care and life sciences industries (41.6 percent) and manufacturing (31.9 percent).

The AESC Member Outlook Survey totaled 217 responses from AESC executive search consultants worldwide. About half of the responses came from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 38 percent came from the Americas and 13 percent of the responses were from the Asia Pacific region.

When executive search consultants were asked about their general outlook for 2012, global results showed that 37 percent held a positive view of executive search demand while 49 percent were neutral.

“It is no surprise that the outlook for [2012] in terms of demand for senior executives should be less optimistic than at the same time last year, given the economic turbulence of the past six months and the continued pessimism surrounding growth rates in China and the European Union,” AESC President Peter Felix stated in a release.

“Nevertheless, it is most encouraging to see strong demand expected in the United States and in sectors such as energy, health care and manufacturing, which have remained positive throughout the past several years.”

Emerging markets continue to show the strongest need for executive talent with China set to witness the greatest shortage in 2012, followed by Brazil and then India, the release stated.

“At any given point in the coming years, we can expect to see a serious gap between the demand for executives in emerging markets and their supply based upon any sensible evaluation of the practical issues involved,” Felix said. “Any one of the major emerging markets could consume available surpluses of interested executives from the developed countries if they were ready to both motivate their interest and organize themselves … and be able to integrate them into their own cultures and organizations. However, this is not going to take place overnight, and considerable skill and foresight will be needed to help bridge the talent gap.”

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