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Candidates cautious to make changes in top positions

This is the first time Executive Search rankings are part of the Career and Employment Guide.

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For companies that engage in Executive Search, the trust of clients is vital since they are entrusted with the mandate to fill key positions. That is why assignments in this segment typically mean that the client pays part of the price when the specification of the person the client needs is assigned to the agency.

Executive Search professionals then have the necessary skills to seek people who will be the best at the job that is being offered. Job candidates are typically people who are not actively seeking a new job and therefore need to be addressed directly.

The client then pays another part of the price when the candidates are presented, while the final part of the sum is paid when the work contract is signed with the new employee. This method is often used no longer just to fill top and middle management positions, but also when seeking specialists. Due to the fact that the search process is highly demanding time-wise, the reward for a suitable candidate is normally around three monthly salaries; the value is often higher than €10,000.

Situation on the market

“Even though recruitment experienced a dramatic slowdown, Executive Search has not been that affected,” said Matej Taliga, client partner Executive Search rankings at Amrop Jenewein. This international company placed first in the ranking. The company filled the biggest number of positions and had the most employees working in Executive Search. It reported that in 2020, the demand for crisis managers and digital transformation leaders increased on the market.

One significant challenge was finding the right talent as people were more risk-averse and thus reluctant to consider a career move, resulting in a reduced pool of leaders open to discussion. “Their preference for stability and job security was much higher than their hunger for new challenges,” commented Taliga.

Changes

Last year was linked with a transformation in traditional approaches and services that companies in this segment used to offer. In the second quarter of 2020, companies felt the cautiousness of clients, reflected in halted or cancelled assignments.

“The pandemic has helped us in speeding up the diversification of our portfolio. We are strongly focused on product development in the management consulting area,” said Lucia Vantuchová, partner at Menkyna & Partners Management Consulting firm. Even though the Executive Search segment is based on personal relations, they needed to quickly switch to functioning online.

“Things that were unimaginable for us before the pandemic suddenly became reality,” Vantuchová added.

Her company had the highest representation of local and family businesses, and filled the most positions in middle management and ranked second in the overall ranking.

The largest Executive Search companies agree that advising managers on how to better cope with the new situation has been their focus over the past year. This segment has also moved to the online environment, even though it has always been seen as more conservative in that sense.

Related articleCareer Guide: Exploring Slovak labour market trends and human resources in the wider EU contextRead more 

“We are learning how to do simple things right,” said Blanka Schellingová, managing partner at the Arthur Hunt company, which ranked third in the Executive Search category. They most often sought candidates for companies in industry, trade, health care and pharmacy.

Schellingová noted that the pandemic has brought the knowledge that life is not just about forward leaps. Companies are re-evaluating their real needs when confronted with daily reality.

“We are humbly learning and teaching others to integrate their own egos with the needs of the whole group, as well as the individual companies,” Schellingová said.

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