Trends Facing the Executive Recruiting Industry

March 5, 2024 – Member-owned recruitment network NPAworldwide has released the results of its twice annual business barometer survey, which provides insights into the current state of the recruitment industry. Completed in February 2024 by over 560 independent NPAworldwide recruitment firm owners, the survey highlights key trends and challenges faced by the industry. According to the study, the global demand for talent has been on a downward trend since early 2022, with a slow rebound in some markets in 2023. This has resulted in a significant increase in the difficulty of finding talent for senior positions with 55.8 percent of respondents reporting business results that were similar or better when compared to the previous 180-day period.

“The results of our business barometer survey show a noticeable reduction in optimism among independent recruitment firm owners, with a 14 percent decrease in benchmarked results since February 2023,” said Dave Nerz, president of NPAworldwide. “However, despite these challenges, the majority of respondents remain optimistic about the next six months, with 83.2 percent expecting similar or better results ahead. It’s clear that finding both jobs and talent has become equally challenging for our members.”

When asked about the strongest verticals in the last 180 days, the survey revealed that healthcare, technology, manufacturing and accounting/finance were the top industries for recruitment activity. This aligns with the overall trend of increased demand for talent in these sectors.

NPAworldwide’s survey included about 47 percent of respondents that are from outside of North America. The largest respondent group was from North America at 52.8 percent followed by Australia/New Zealand at 16.1 percent, Asia and EMEA were at 14.3 percent each, and LatAm at 3.1 percent.

Related: NPAworldwide Adds 28 New Member Firms

At the time of the survey, 62.1 percent of the respondents see the next six months as positive or the same as the last six months. This is nearly an 11 percent decline since February 2023. So, while things are slower, there is generally optimism for 2024.

Solid Demand for Top Talent

“Member firms working contingent and retained recruitment are finding job openings less prevalent but still solid demand for top talent,” said Mr. Nerz. “Top candidates continue to receive multiple offers and counteroffers from existing employers. Compensation offers have become more normalized with long-term trends versus the spikes when exiting the pandemic. Retaining talent is going to be increasingly important and difficult. A recent trend of unexpected retirements is an area of concern for employers that have not built strong pipelines or deep benches of talent. Confidence continues to grow as inflationary conditions mitigate. 2024 offers much promise.”

NPAworldwide is a global recruitment network facilitating placements between its member firms. The recruitment network has more than 550 member offices across six continents.

Related: NPAworldwide Adds 15 New Member Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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