2016 Executive Search Industry Survey

2016 Survey Results on Executive Search in the Philippines

Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 16, 2016

For the complete survey results, please read this http://www.paespi.org/paespi-survey-state-philippines.

There has been a rapid rise in the number of executive search and recruitment firms over the past five years. Because of the low barriers to entry, these firms have risen to 70+ and the number continues to grow. A lot of these firms are not even SEC-registered and evade taxes. Because of intense competition, malpractices emerge, victimizing both executive talents and clients alike. Even the passage of the Data Privacy Act has not prevented the unauthorized release and peddling of Curricula Vitae (CVs).

In response to the deterioration of the search industry, a group of like-minded search firms formed the Philippine Association of Executive Search Professionals, Inc. (PAESPI) in September 2010. As an advocacy group, PAESPI aims to help professionalize the industry, promote a Code of Ethics and expose malpractices. A significant key to this advocacy is the sustained educational campaign that consists of breakfast forums, articles in broad sheets and business journals, and appearances in TV shows as well as in the companies’ Human Resources (HR) programs. A website (www.paespi.org) showcases the group’s advocacies, activities, articles and career opportunities for executives.

PAESPI is a signatory of the Integrity Initiative launched by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP). It has gained the support of the Corporate Advocacy Partners within the top 500 Corporations in the country. As partners, they agreed to allow the use of their logos in PAESPI materials to signify their support to the group’s advocacies.

As prevalent issues rise in the growing industry of Executive Search, a survey on trends of the industry specifically in the Philippines was conducted by PAESPI from May to August 2016. This way, a clearer picture of the industry’s current state is highlighted. The group wanted to identify areas that Clients and Executive talents are very satisfied with and areas where they are most disappointed in. The survey results are critical for PAESPI as to how to address these areas of dissatisfaction and continue to raise the standard of service of its member firms. A follow-up survey will be conducted after 12 months to track the progress.

The profile of the respondents included those chosen randomly from the Top 500 Corporations, supplemented by PAESPI’s former and current clients and executive talents. A minimum of 100 respondents each from Corporations/Clients and from Executive Talents were included in the survey. Structured questionnaires focusing on service areas that are practiced by Global Search Firms were then distributed to the respondents, with open-ended questions added to provide more substance to the statistics through verbatim comments. These questionnaires were mostly sent by e-mail while some were personally handed to the respondents around May to July 2016. By August 2016, the survey results were subjected to appropriate data analysis.

From the analyzed survey results based on the talents’ perspective, only 16% of respondents were “Very Satisfied” with their experience with headhunters. This is considered low and confirms that headhunters have a long way to go to raise the standards of professionalism, ethics and deliverables.

Also, the “satisfactory” grade, which was given by 54% of respondents is probably not a source of comfort. In a 3-step rating, “satisfactory” is almost equivalent to a “fair” grade (good, fair, poor) because the verbatim comments showed many negative comments.

Executive talents value confidentiality. Their consent must be obtained before their CVs can be shared with a specific company. Certainly, “peddling” resumes is not acceptable because it exposes executive talents, needlessly.

Sadly, there is still no awareness among all the respondents about Data Privacy Act.

The verbatim comments pinpointed the areas wherein headhunters are deficient and the areas for improvement.

From the corporations’ point of view, the important attributes are already being practiced and enhanced by PAESPI members, as validated by the results showing the path it has taken, especially on ethical practices.

Although corporations value quality and timely results, they recognize the importance of process. These corporations value relationships that only top-notch consultants can foster and sustain. The Executive Search industry needs an “ideal consultant” thereby encouraging search firms to align themselves to fill this gap.

Corporations and executive talents alike have expressed dismay over the numerous unethical practices of so-called search consultants or “headhunters”. Thus, PAESPI should continue in taking the challenge of exposing malpractices and stay committed inactively educating corporations and executive talents on ethics and professionalism in the Executive Search industry.