“Much like other industries, this sector is experiencing large scale disruption”, says Rupert Irving, Managing Partner at Patterson Irving told Executive Grapevine. “With large scale M&A activity of the 2-3 years, this has resulted in search being pushed off the boardroom agenda as corporates focus on integration and internal management issues. Overall, the markets are going through change and the likely outcomes at this juncture are not easy to read.”
It’s not just search firms that are finding planning for the future beset by uncertainty. As Rupert Irving tells Executive Grapevine: “There are some real challenges in the current market and clients are finding it hard to retain quality in the executive management team”.
Compounding the changing face of candidate and potential employer relations is the issue of remuneration and how it is structured. Rupert Irving explains that: “Candidates are looking for real value in the next role they take, both in terms of career path development and achievable remuneration structures.”
His comments come at the same time that an official IHS Markit/REC report notes that rising wages are indicative that ‘power’ is coming back into employee hands – regarding negotiating salaries, bonuses and offerings.
This change in use is in line with Rupert Irving’s prediction that “Executive Search will not be utilised in the same way in the next few years.” Irving predicts that “boards will increasingly ask for the HR executive team to manage the search provision and with that comes focus on such items as off limits and service differentiation.”
With search firms increasingly aware of the competing factors that affect their search services – optional diversity remits, executive pay and remuneration transparency amongst them – it’s up to them to find success.
Irving concludes: “It’s about working closely with our Clients and working closely with the candidate. For Executive Search professionals that could well mean more investment in managing the client relationship at all levels and more time in ensuring an overall positive candidate experience.”