Executive Grapevine’s UK Executive Search Rankings provide an overview into the Executive Search marketplace but they can’t reveal what the day-to-day is like inside an individual Executive Search firm.
To understand what challenges a search firm works to overcome – and to snag a few industry tips – Executive Grapevine spoke to David Burton, Partner at Wilton & Bain: a firm who are specialists in search services within the tech and digital industries.
Despite anecdotal reports that there are less searches being undertaken across the entire spectrum of sectors that search firms work within, Burton is optimistic that big firms are looking to retain Search firm’s services – especially as businesses grapple with ongoing digitisation and legislative changes.
He said: “The market is currently buoyant. In particular, we are seeing a strong demand for new talent in areas such as risk advisory services, cyber security and digital transformation as professional services firms gear up to meet client demand in complex and uncertain business environments.”
Burton was frank when pressed on what clients need to do to help Search firms obtain the best talent. “It’s up to employers to invest in developing their brands as a good place to work,” he added, “if they want to attract and retain the best people.”
And, at a time when professional services are digitising at a seemingly exponential rate, it is no surprise that Burton notes the present desirability of candidates who can offer strategic advice on cyber-security and artificial intelligence – which often means making a search global.
Burton explained: “We [Wilton & Bain] understand global mobility and have invested substantially in developing our network in the major international consulting hubs. Most of our searches have an international remit and we will look for these people anywhere in the world.”
However, according to Burton, what doesn’t appear to be changing is the demand for top talent and the ability to dictate terms that these candidate’s hold.
He concluded: “Demand is hot as there is a relatively small talent pool and everyone is looking to employ these people. This means that top candidates are discerning about who they join.
“As [the candidates] are highly educated and mobile, an international network is essential.”