Last year we conducted research among 100 of the UK’s top headhunters, followed by a similar survey this year. Perhaps one of the most interesting UK results in 2011 was the number of headhunters who believed that the Davies Report – which recommended companies should more than double the number of women on their boards by 2015 – would fail. In 2012, the results were just as significant, with a staggering 8 out of 10 headhunters believing that the Davies Report would not succeed.
The figures suggested that 83% of those surveyed feared the recommendations would result in optimal candidates being turned down as a result of positive discrimination. I personally believe that the most important outcome of any recruitment process is that the best candidate gets the role. Any kind of discrimination, positive or not, is not in the interest of the employer.
Conversely, 61% of headhunters (twice as many as in last year’s survey) now agree that firms should double the number of females on their boards.
Our survey also suggests that, for the second year running, China will demand the most senior executives in 2012. This year’s report also ranks emerging markets Brazil and India in the top five, while the US does not even make the list.
The top five are:
- United Kingdom
How has the market impacted the survey?
The unpredictable economic climate has impacted these results. Many senior executives are monitoring the jobs market as they carry out their roles, with 86% of headhunters believing that they consider their next position for anything up to 12 months. However, there are flashes of positivity in the recruitment market, with just 1% of senior executives expected to wait over two years to find a position before searching for new opportunities.
As the UK economy is still in recession, it is no surprise that 64% of headhunters say employers are taking advantage of the situation by seeking ‘bargain deals’ in the senior executive recruitment market.
Changes in executive priorities
Perhaps equally unsurprisingly, 63% have found that senior executives are no longer looking to smaller companies for employment, as they want to increase job security. Indeed, the economic uncertainty has led to a change in what senior executives value in their role. This year, job satisfaction was the key priority for senior executives when seeking a new role, whereas in 2011 salary came top.