The Age of the Specialist

Published: 10 February 2011

Technology, social media, the migration of industry to the East, and unprecedented economic challenges has created a world where consumers and organisations constantly demand more. This trend impacts advisory and professional services organisations across the public and private sectors.

Executive recruitment emerged from the world of management consultancy in the 1950’s and was initially regarded as a specialisation in itself. Until relatively recently, recruiters were often ‘generalists’ working across a range of markets, following relationships and personal chemistry rather than an industry sector or function. Executive recruitment firms were more likely to operate on a transactional basis - even at a senior level. The quality of the successful candidate and satisfaction with the process itself were less common indicators of success.

Berwick Partners regards itself as a generalist firm made up of specialists. We fundamentally believe that recruiters should be experts in our chosen sectors and we are proud of how well we know the markets within which we work. Our team are as unique and individual as the markets and sectors they operate across but we share values and rigour of process which help define our culture and character.

Our clients choose to partner with us because they know that we understand the issues they face and indeed how these impact upon senior recruitment.

We are now in an era where clients demand real advice and insight. We enjoy a role which could perhaps be best classified as that of “trusted advisor”; we are privy to sensitive information and often party to some of the most difficult decision making that organisations face. We can only aspire to this status if we really understand our clients and markets and are able to offer insightful and informed advice. Our ability to empathise with our clients’ most difficult decisions is augmented by our in-depth understanding of what is happening throughout respective sectors. We use this knowledge to provide solutions in terms of enabling organisations to attract the best senior talent.

In a world where the internet can make access to candidates virtually instantaneous, the ability to assess talent is critical. Understanding sectors inside out and being able to identify which organisations (as well as which individuals) are in the ascendency gives a huge insight into achievements. Similarly, understanding the technical backdrop to given specialisations gives us the fluency required to advise appropriately on the suitability of candidates.

In addition to this, we are also required to make an assessment of the cultural fit or otherwise of candidates with our clients’ organisations. Knowing the intricacies of the prevailing employers within a sector can be very important in making sense of this.

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