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How much does Executive Search cost?

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author:by MERJE

​The cost of an executive search agency in the UK can vary depending on several factors, but here's a general overview.

Finding the perfect c-suite, executive, or senior professional for your company can be a tall order. You need someone exceptional, someone who'll truly propel your business forward. But where do you begin? That's where executive search agencies usually come in.

An executive search agency typically has the connections, the expertise, and the magic touch to unearth top execs, even those not actively seeking new roles. They can navigate the complex recruitment process, freeing you to focus on running your business.

The result? A leader who seamlessly integrates into your culture and drives incredible results. Investing in an agency might seem like a cost, but consider it an investment in your future – a future fuelled by the best talent at the helm.

But how much is this specialist hiring solution going to cost your business? And is our executive search alternative - Executive Talent - a better fit?

Executive Search Fee Structure

There are a variety of pricing models which executive search firms can employ, depending on their business structure and the recruitment project you're engaging them on:

Retained Search

This is the most common pricing model for executive search, where the agency charges a percentage of the candidate's first-year compensation, typically between 25% and 35%. This fee is usually broken down into payments at key stages of the search process, like finding a shortlist, making an offer, and confirmation of acceptance.

Fixed Fee

In some cases, agencies may offer a fixed fee for the search, especially for niche positions or smaller client budgets. This can offer more predictability but may not be as customized as a retained search.

Hybrid Model

Some agencies combine elements of both retained and fixed-fee models, offering a base fee with performance-based incentives.

How does MERJE's Executive Talent solution differ?

Our Executive Talent pricing structure is completely flexible to your business. Most executive search agencies ask for a large upfront fee before any work has been done, whereas we're happy to reduce this significantly or, in many cases, not take an upfront fee at all!

Find Out More >

Factors Affecting Cost of Executive Search

As with all recruitment solutions, the cost of the service provided depends on the nature of the work.

  • Seniority of the position: The higher the level of the role, the higher the agency's fee is likely to be.

  • Industry and sector: Some industries, like finance or technology, typically have higher search fees due to the intense competition for talent.

  • Complexity of the search: If the role is particularly niche or requires specific skills, the agency may charge a higher fee to reflect the additional effort required.

  • Reputation of the agency: More established and successful agencies with a strong track record may command higher fees.

Additional Considerations

It is important to consider every aspect of an executive search commitment before signing up to any particular partner.

As well as costs for the recruitment project work and how they fit with your company's goals, also bear in mind that some executive search agencies may charge additional fees for travel, research, or other related expenses.

Additionally, remember to ask about the executive search agency's replacement options - what happens if the chosen candidate doesn't start in their new role, or doesn't work out in the first few weeks/months? Some executive search agencies offer guarantees to replace a candidate within a certain period if they leave the position. These factors can add to the overall cost.

Tips for Finding the Right Executive Search Agency

Choosing the right talent partner can have a significant impact on the future of your business, particularly when it comes to critical senior positions like Chief Risk Officers, Chief Operating Officers, and Heads of department. It's vital to do your due diligence before committing to any one recruitment agency, talent partner, or executive search firm.

  • Research and compare different agencies: Look for talent and recruitment firms with experience in your industry and with good client testimonials.

  • Get quotes in writing: Ensure you understand the agency's fee structure and any additional costs before you agree to work with them.

  • Negotiate: Don't be afraid to negotiate the fee, especially if you are a repeat client or if the search is particularly complex.

Executive Talent: a no fuss alternative to Executive Search

Our Executive Talent solution focuses on what your business really needs in order to achieve its long term goals. We deliver highly relevant shortlists of candidates in a matter of weeks, and at realistic and flexible costs, removing the unnecessarily long timescales and high price points associated with traditional Executive Search.

If you're hiring a senior management, leadership, executive, or c-suite role, get in touch today >

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