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Executive-Search Firms: From Headhunters to Culture Counselors

Economist (06/13/15)

Following the financial crisis, many companies substantially reduced their use of executive-search firms, and career-networking sites such as LinkedIn are making it easier for companies to do their own recruiting. So the executive-search firms are growing by entering new lines of business. Korn Ferry, for example, has purchased a number of businesses, including executive-development firm Pivot Leadership, that aim to boost workforce performance even when there is no vacancy to fill.

Heidrick & Struggles also has pursued a diversification strategy, purchasing Senn Delaney in 2012. The purchase allows Heidrick to cross-sell services when it is hired to recruit new executives. Senn Delaney last year accounted for just 7% of Heidrick’s revenue, but nearly a third of its growth.