Executive Search in New Zealand – 2016 Outlook

Confidence Levels Edge Back Up

2015 was possibly one of the toughest years I have experienced in over 27 years in the industry!

The year was highlighted by retrenchment and delays in decision-making across all sectors. Traditional clients, who normally provide two or three assignments per year, had a total freeze on the use of external consultants, and many had instruction from regional head offices not to replace departing employees.

This created some change in the industry with several senior search consultants going to the dark side, taking on internal search functions with large corporates.

2016 dawns with the NZ economy stable and in growth, but at a lower rate, with some large infrastructure projects underway. Surveys show confidence levels are considerably higher, and retailers are relishing the higher turnover experienced through the festive season.

So what does this mean for ‘search in NZ?’

Confidence is there and already I have had calls about new work. We completed some very good assignments at the end of last year, and have used the down time to develop new contacts and relationships. My colleague Carolyn has successfully carried out coaching assignments, and these will continue. We have also helped a new client with setting up a proper formal recruitment process for all levels in the organisation, including Job description templates, interview questions and reference checking procedures with questions.

Much of our ‘down’ time has been used developing a new product which we are told is at the leading edge.

Diversity has been a hot topic for a few years and NZ has quickly gone past the issues of gender and cultural diversity to look at the core issues of Diversity of Thought, as this is the area where there is clear evidence of bottom line benefits to Corporates. We have been working with a global player in thinking styles and preferences and are adapting their tool to use as part of a search offering.

We are able to measure thinking styles and behaviours and find deficits where we can screen candidates to ensure that not only do we have core functions covered, but we can select people on their behaviour and thinking style, to ensure that there is a measureable diversity (of thought), where organisations desire this, or at the other end of the spectrum compliance in thinking, where that is desirable.

Our research of the industry globally indicates that everyone is ‘conscious of the need to think about diversity when undertaking a search assignment, but that there is no methodology of measurement, and needs analysis, which is the area we have been working on.

So 2016 has lots of opportunities, which with some hard work will provide a great platform for the years ahead.