Market Update & Key Recruitment Trends for 2018

Market Update & Key Recruitment Trends for 2018


Vanessa Moon, Founding Director of Executive Search firm Moon Consulting, provides deep insight into trends affecting boardrooms around the country.


Reflections of 2017

2017 has been one of our busiest years. Drawing upon our expertise in executive search and head-hunting, our team has been called in to manage some high-level confidential campaigns with scenarios ranging from new board member appointments to new product launches and acquisitions. 
Vanessa said "Our experienced team are often privy to highly confidential business information, making our roles both critical and exciting;  we have seen a year of considerable change and growth during 2017."


Executive Search

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Looking back on the year, a high proportion of our executive search instructions came from listed and £multimillion t/o global businesses.

Feedback from a diverse collection of clients tells us that it is our discrete bespoke service which is highly sought after by these organisations when they are making crucial senior appointments. Our ability to compile a shortlist of candidates with exceptional talent and experience marks Moon Consulting out as being trusted and distinctive. 

Most of our searches operate under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (for both the Moon Consulting team and the prospective candidates) meaning we are rarely able to advertise the role publicly. In fact, most of our assignments never reach the public domain until they are completed.  Given the sensitivity of our listed appointments and allowing for notice periods, often of 6-12 months, our clients decide when, and how, they wish to announce the appointment.   


Completed Assignments

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Our executive search assignments have doubled in the past year, with a 42% increase in Board Level assignments. Such executive searches cover a wide spectrum of sectors, from manufacturing, construction and engineering to hi-tech, digital and professional services. Roles range from Chair, CEO, COO and Non-Exec Director to more niche compliance, risk and product focused Board Directors.  
This year we have undertaken several instructions in new or emerging technologies such as FinTech and EdTech, where clients have been keen to seize the advantage of early market entry in a new market area. Our head-hunts typically fall into the £80-250k bracket.


Board Builds


One of the ongoing strengths of Moon Consulting is managing multiple Board build assignments where we recruit the range of executive and non-executive skills required on the Board for a single client.  This year we were privileged to bid for, and win, a Board set up for a new high-profile operation in the South West.

We also worked on other major campaigns to bring in multiple Board members including a CFO and Commercial Director for a Technology business, several Group Director roles for a major PLC, a regional Board build for a national charity, multi-Board roles for a VC backed start-up and Director and Partner roles in the Professional Services sector. 


Key Trends


Through our executive search assignments, we have identified key trends that are affecting Boardroom decisions in multiple sectors.  Regardless of the catalyst – for example increasing market penetration, driving operational performance or raising profit levels - our analysis of the executive search marketplace reveals how meeting the needs and interests of candidates is paramount in recruiting the talent that organisations seek.  

1. Shortlists

Addressing the specific instruction from our clients requires our expert recruiters to use our well-honed networks to identify suitable candidates who may or may not be interested in pursuing new opportunities or considering a change in career. This means that this year has been the, ‘year of the shorter shortlist’. We no longer see shortlists of 6-7 candidates and advise our clients that quality is more important than quantity.

2. Location

Candidates are increasingly more reluctant to relocate unless it is for personal / family reasons. We have therefore seen a rise in the average weekly commuting distance and a continuation of the trend towards more flexible working – both in terms of hours and home working arrangements.

3. Candidate Experience

Moon Consulting is attuned to candidate needs and the importance of managing the candidate experience, particularly when making a head-hunt approach.  Candidates confide in us concerning the treatment they have received from other organisations, whether regarding recruitment or otherwise. We are professional from our initial approach throughout the recruitment process ensuring the candidate feels valued and respected and receives thorough and relevant feedback on matters ranging from their CV and interview performance to the negotiation of salary, benefits package and starting details.

4. Values & Culture

Values-based recruitment is increasing in prevalence and we regularly interview against our client’s values statements.  As highly professional recruiters, we take the time to understand the company culture of our clients, allowing us to enrich their overall considerations around both cultural and behavioural suitability. We pride ourselves on our ability to get the right cultural and behavioural fit for both parties. 

5. Salaries

In the market place, we are seeing that salary and benefit packages have remained fairly stable during 2017, although candidates are focusing more on additional benefits such as equity or share options over basic salaries and car allowances rather than specific car specifications.  




Our clients refer to Moon Consulting as their trusted executive search advisor.  We build trust by working in close partnership with our clients on each instruction, which often results in our being commissioned by them time and again.  We focus on establishing strong and clear communication on both sides from the outset. Fundamentally, we are here to promote the client’s brand at all stages of the process. 

In order to get the best from the partnership, we recommend our clients update us of any changes to business plans during the recruitment process so that we can manage the candidate journey effectively. In today’s fast-moving business environment, we fully accept that  search parameters may change due to wider business decisions.  We are well-versed in the need to be fleet of foot and can step up quickly to redefine the role and feasibility of the campaign. You will be pleased with our realistic and pragmatic approach.        


Looking Ahead to 2018

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There will always be a need for our executive search and head-hunting service as companies want to stay ahead of their competition and exploit all the opportunities that a changing business climate creates.  My team at Moon Consulting welcome an opportunity to help you achieve your organisation’s goals and encourage you to make contact with us. 
As you reflect on each of your business and company performance for 2017 and opportunities going forward, I’ll leave you with these inspiring quotes;

"Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people"
Steve Jobs (1955 -2011), Co-Founder of Apple Inc.
"The most dangerous in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’"
Grace Hopper (1906 – 1992), American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral.

We wish you and your team every success in 2018 and look forward to working closely with you.

Yours Sincerely


Vanessa Moon, Director & Founder of Moon Consulting