Salary Survey: Recruiters' pay races ahead

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Pay for bankers may not look set to soar in 2004, but the same cannot be said for financial services headhunters. A salary survey says top billers will see their earnings rise more than 150%.

After a bumper year for financial services recruiting, executive search consultants in the financial services sector can expect a basic salary of 50,000 (€72,000; $90,000) to 90,000 and on-target- earnings of 75,000 to 240,000, according to two surveys by Heywood Associates and Hewood Search.

Partners and directors in finance-oriented executive search firms can expect basic salaries of 90,000 to 140,000 and on-target-earnings of 150,000 to 500,000.

The survey, which incorporates data from 5,000 search and selection specialists across the UK, shows that financial services headhunters are grabbing a bigger slice of the fees for themselves. Fees earned by consultants in the sector rose an average of 60% compared to last year, while those earned by directors rose 108%. By comparison, on-target-earnings for consultants are up 153% versus last year; those for directors are 245% higher.

Heywood Search, which specializes in recruiting recruiters, ascribes the difference to strong demand for executive search consultants. 'Recruitment has increased dramatically throughout 2004,' says Simon Gee, managing director.

Tony Barnes, managing director at Waters Barnes Associates, a rival headhunter of headhunters, agrees: 'The market is booming, all the search firms are looking to hire.'

Gee says there are now three to four vacancies per experienced recruiter in the financial services search sector. In hot sectors, such as fixed income, it rises to eight to ten. Unsurprisingly perhaps, fixed income search consultants such as Lee Thacker, head of fixed income at the Whitney Group in London, and Ted Tracey from Mantaray Partners, have both left in recent weeks.

Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry. Sheffield Haworth, Alexander Mann, and the Rose Partnership are among the firms hiring in 2004. Mike Brennan, managing director of the search practice at Alexander Mann, said he has already recruited 16 consultants and researchers this year, and plans to hire another 10 to 15 before the year is out.

Soaring headhunter recruitment is having a predictable effect on pay. Heywood says guaranteed bonuses and golden hellos are increasingly common.

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