Competitors – the recruiters’ perspective 2014

There are many awards that a company can enter to see how they match up to their competition, but there are a lot of excellent companies that do not enter these for a variety of reasons.  We wanted to know who was making an impact in the market and who better to ask than the people who are competing against their peers every day; the recruiters.

We asked 402 Senior Recruiters, Directors and Business owners to let us know who they considered as their 3 biggest competitors to ascertain those companies making the biggest impact in the market.  We asked people from a cross section of the professional markets including Finance, Technology, HR, Energy and Search/Interim and they told us the following.Bowden_Infographic_V3_GreyBlueOrange


SME businesses have gained slightly (+2%) but in line with the last 2 years the companies with over 100 consultants are still making the biggest impact, increasing their market share this year compared to 2013 (+14%) and have also increased from 2012 (+5%). This is to the detriment to of midsized and independent firms who have dropped dramatically (-6% and -10% respectively).Bowden_Infographic_V3_GreyBlueOrange

The businesses that were established between 2000 – 2004 and 2005 – 2009 have seen their impact reduced (-9% and -4% respectively). Those established after 2010 have gained slightly (+2%) whilst those that were established pre 2000 have made the largest gains (+11%).

A high proportion of the companies that set up pre 2000 fall in to the large (100+ people) category and it is these that have made the largest gains. A lot of these companies cut back and started to stockpile cash to see them through what was proving to be the longest down turn since the war which was then released for headcount growth, new market investment and acquisitions at the beginning of 2014, thus increasing their impact on the market.

The majority of the companies that were started between 2000 and 2009 were set up when the market was strong and the founders/senior management may not have experienced, or been prepared for the down turn. Those established 2005–2009 especially wouldn’t have had time to build up the cash reserves and as the recession was far longer than expected these businesses may have had to strip back to save costs, or shut the business completely which would result in them being less dominant.

Those that were set up post 2010 would have been fully aware of the market conditions and could plan their business to suit this market place. Now that the market has picked up they have consolidated their place and are starting to slowly take more market share.

With the above in mind I would not be surprised if we continued to see both the pre 2000 and post 2010 companies taking even more market share from the 2000 – 2009 companies next year.Bowden_Infographic_V3_GreyBlueOrange

Michael Page, Morgan McKinley and Investigo are the 3 companies that have made the biggest impact in the market so far in 2014. Compared to 2013 Michael Page has more than doubled its share (+3.5%) and Morgan McKinley has almost doubled it (+2.5%). Michael Page were at 12.6% in 2012 and so they are still some way to reaching where they were 2 years ago (-6%), whilst Morgan McKinley are almost back to 2012 levels (-0.4%). Investigo has almost halved its dominance compared to last year (-4.5%), but they are still almost 2% up from 2012.

The top 6 companies are large, well established businesses who all ranked highly last year. They are businesses that have the funds and leadership teams in place to grow and are taking more market share compared to last year from ‘other’ companies (+7% ) so unless something went dramatically wrong I would expect this dominance to carry on through to next year. That said, there are a number of businesses that are less than 5 years old and are growing at a tremendous rate (Oliver James, which has entered the top names for the first time being one of those) and so there may be some surprises next year. Although not mentioned we have seen an increase in votes for some of the big RPO businesses in addition to internal teams and so it will also be interesting to see if these have a presence in the top competitors next year.

We very much appreciate the input from all those that contributed to this survey and to make it as inclusive as possible also want to mention those companies that were also ranked highly by their peers within their specific niche:

Finance:                 Eames, Reed

HR:                         Frazer Jones

Technology:          Alexander Mann Solutions

Energy:                   Spencer Ogden

Across other sectors there was not enough difference in votes to make any one company stand out.

All of the above are only my views based on the results we receive. If you agree, disagree or have any other viewpoints I’d welcome all comments and feedback on our linked in group page

Michael Bowden is Partner at Bowden Mayes – a specialist recruitment company focussed on helping recruitment businesses attract senior management and next generation talent.


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