Competitors – the recruiters’ perspective 2013

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 341 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.


Companies over 100 consultants are still making the biggest impact, however have lost market share (-10%) since August 2012.  SME’s have gained (+5%) as have midsized companies (+10%) whilst independent consultancies with less than 10 people have lost market share (-5%)


Those businesses established 2000 – 2004 have increased their market share the most (+7%) whilst those established 2005 – 2009 have decreased the most (-10%).  Those established pre 2000 and post 2010 have increased their share marginally (+2% and +1% respectively).

There is no obvious reason why there should be such a drop in market share for those established 2005 – 2009.  One theory could be the lack of time, cash or foresight to plan for growth during the recession.  They were set up during a strong market and quickly entered the tough economic conditions of 2008/2009.  Those that were set up pre 2005 had the infrastructure and funds in place to weather this storm and have taken market share from them.  The post 2010 companies were set up mid recession and so they were fully aware of the market conditions and could plan accordingly.  2000 – 2004 companies have taken far more market share than pre 2000 and this could suggest that the pre 2000 companies have penetrated the market as much as they plan to, and are now either maintaining that share, or are focussing their efforts on other geographical markets.


Some of the largest and most successful companies from last year have either slipped down the rankings or have fallen off them completely, whilst others have shot up the rankings.  Is it a coincidence that the top 4 are all businesses where the founder(s) are still very much involved? That the top 3 are niche, home grown consultancies rather than multinational generalists?  My personal opinion……hopefully not.  It will be interesting to see if this trend continues next year.

It is quite striking to me how only 38% of the market is dominated by 8 names, whilst 62% is being serviced by such a wide variety of names it would be impractical to name them all.  In my view this is a really healthy mix; it means that those companies that want to grow and dominate the market have the opportunity to do so, but it also leaves a lot of market share for those companies with different ambitions and motivations. 

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:                 Eximius, Kennedy Pearce

HR:                         Oakleaf, Digby Morgan

Search/Interim:     Heidrick & Struggles, Interim Partners

Technology:            Networkers International

Energy:                   Spencer Ogden