Transnational headhunting and the orchestration of executive

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					              The internationalization of executive search:
              new intermediary networks of elite
              labour mobility .

              Jonathan Beaverstock, James Faulconbridge,
              Sarah Hall and Andrew Hewitson

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    Knowledge intensive services in an intermediary
    The emergence of executive search
    (headhunting) as a global industry
    Internationalization and office growth
    Spatial economies of internationalization
    Example: The Group Search Group

Knowledge intensive services in an
intermediary economy
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    Knowledge intensive services
    High-value; bespoke; personal; global-local
    Professionalization - „Search consultants‟
    Reputation, trust, track-record
    MBA, specialist partners/consultants
    „Scientific‟ managerial approach; and software
    „Match-makers‟ in the executive labour market (Finlay and
    Coverdill, 2002)
    Retained and contingent

Knowledge intensive services in an
intermediary economy
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    “Headhunters are third-party agents who are paid
     a fee by employers for finding job candidates for
     them. Their clients are organizations, not job
     candidates. In some cases a headhunter
     receives a fee even if none of the candidates he
     or she produces is hired; more commonly,
     however, a headhunter earns the fee only if his
     or her candidate is the hired one” (Finlay and
     Coverdill, 2002, 2)

The emergence of headhunting as a global
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    Diffusion from the USA to London from the 1960s („Big
    Four‟ - Heidrick & Struggles (1968); Spencer Stuart
    (1961); Russell Reynolds (1971); Korn/Ferry (1973))
    Indigenous growth of European firms (in London, Zurich,
    Paris e.g. Alexander Hughes - 1965; Goddard Kay Rogers
    - 1970; Saxton Bampfylde - 1986)
    „Europeanization‟ of the industry in Europe from the 1980s
    (Britton et. al.,1995)
    Growth in emerging markets from late 1970s and
    consolidation in 1990s (China and India in 2000s)
    World city geography (New York, Chicago, LA, London,
    Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong,
    Shanghai, Mumbai, Bangalore…..)

       The emergence of headhunting as a global
       industry, 2005
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Firm                      Fee      HQ               World     Structure           World
                          income                    offices                       rank
Korn/Ferry (1969)         402      Los Angeles      73        Owned               1
Heidrick &Struggles (1953)375      Chicago          59        Owned               2
Spencer Stuart (1956)     362      Chicago          49        Owned               3
Egon Zehnder (1964)       336      Zurich           59        Owned               4
Russell Reynolds (1969) 268        New York         33        Owned               5
Ray & Berndtson(1965)     147      New York         48        Hybrid              6
Amrop-Hever (2000)        135      Brussels         78        Hybrid              7
Globe Group (1997)        76       London           15        Network             8
IIC Partners (1986)       75       Alberta          53        Hybrid              9
Transearch (1982)         70       Paris            67        Hybrid              10

Source: Jenn, 2005; Faulconbridge, Hall and Beaverstock, 2007.

The internationalization of executive search
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Building on contemporary discourses to make

The end of „serving your time‟

    Inefficiencies in the „old boys network‟

    Rising demand for elite labour

The internationalization of executive search
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Socially constructing ‘talent’ & elite labour

    Drawing in clients and candidates

    Defining a „geographical‟ model of elite labour

     Modelling elite labour
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Socially constructing the network – transnational elites

When you speak about recruitment at a certain level you don’t look local. Most
of our assignments now are pan-European, we don’t look for a candidate only in
France, there is no difference from a German, an Italian, a British with
experience working in France, they will have an international background. Our
biggest customer is looking form members of their steering committee to come
from abroad, not being French. To be on this international level you need to have
a multicultural team, because plenty of their subsidiaries are abroad (Paris 6

     Modelling elite labour
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But elites with geographical sensitivity…

I am working for a client at the moment, it is a very international firm, it is merger
between a French firm and an American firm so you have the French way of
working and the American way of working, but it is an international firm with lots
of different nationalities, so you have to understand that. So for the candidate I
need somebody who has been exposed to international contexts. I met yesterday
with someone, she works for a Franco Spanish firm she is very good, she knows
the tools, but she does not know how to work with Anglo Saxon people, there is an
Anglo Saxon way of working (Paris 3 owned)

       Modelling elite labour
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Selective geographies…

Good people need to be at least intellectually and professionally mobile, they know
that they may have to work in another country and commute. The strategic jobs
these days are at pan-European level (Brussels 4 Hybrid)

       Modelling elite labour
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Geographically selective education…

if you talk about a usual search it would mean you are looking for someone
well educated, who is international, maybes an MBA, has worked abroad, has
good experience in an international organisation, has travelled a lot, is a
peoples manager, things like that (Frankfurt 3 owned)

Having an MBA because more and more people have degrees and second
degrees so there has to be things that differentiate and if you are being very
elitist about this then going to Oxbridge or if somebody has done an MBA at a
very good business school, languages, if somebody has lived abroad and they
are really international, these all add (Researcher 3 London Owned)

        Modelling elite labour
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An Anglo-American model?

We are working on a search at the moment looking for head of one of the big design
houses, and we found out one the candidates couldn’t speak English so that was the
end of her, if you can’t speak English you can’t be headhunted

Enrolled candidates and network entry strategies
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Entering the database is crucial…

in our case you only make it into the database if you are screened by us to
some extent and that screening could be that we met you in the context of an
assignment or we know enough about you and we think it is worthwhile for
you to be in our database (London 12 Owned)

 Enrolled candidates and network entry strategies
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Having the right geography of experience and a
geographical CV

I would say 90 to 95% is Frankfurt and London because the international
financial community works cross border London to Frankfurt as it works
cross border Paris London or London Madrid, so when you look at firms
like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs they all have a substantial number of
experts sitting in London because it is the wider platform and it doesn’t
matter that it is more costly, it is just a more efficient platform, it is multi-
lingual, it is multinational, it has a different exchange, it is a little bit like
the platform we have here on a smaller scale (Frankfurt 1 owned)

   Enrolled candidates and network entry strategies
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Being there in the right places…

I have membership to 6 or 7 medical societies, and I go to conferences, I do that
several times a year and meet people there, this gives me an opportunity to meet
people in these sectors (Brussels 8 Network)

I am going to a charity event tomorrow evening where a number of key energy
people will be present and networking with them. I’m going to a conference next
week in Sweden for exactly the same reason, so staying in touch with people out
there is really what it is all about (London 10 network)

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A new geography of elite labour mobility defined by:

• Being in the right network(s)

• Having the ‘model’ geography

A new geographical reinvention of the ‘old boys network’?


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