Remaining relevant is one of the executive search industry’s toughest challenges, according to Tim Sheffield, Chairman of Sheffield Haworth. “Clients are more sophisticated in how they acquire senior talent than ever before,” he explains. “Many have pretty impressive in-house talent acquisition teams, so our industry has to ensure it’s adding value – or what is its purpose?”
Sheffield is well placed to have a view on the industry in which he’s carved his career for almost three decades. At 26-years of age, just two years into his first job in executive search, he teamed up with Nigel Haworth to establish Sheffield Haworth.
In the ensuing years, he has observed much commoditisation of executive search and believes service providers that are becoming commoditised are now finding it a difficult market. Why? “Because companies feel they can do it better and cheaper in-house,” he says.
Sheffield’s absolute focus on remaining relevant means that his firm is evolving into a global multi-sector talent consulting firm. “We know we must demonstrate how we add value and validate the fees we charge,” he continues. “It’s important to recognise clients’ changing needs and adapt our model accordingly. Whether that’s our pricing; how we engage; or moving into new areas, such as talent advisory and consulting solutions.”