CEO, Edward W Kelley & Partners
Edward Kelley has held a variety of high-profile positions during his 30 years in consulting and the executive search industry, including president and board member of Korn/Ferry International’s European operations. Earlier this year, Kelley spearheaded the management buyback of A.T. Kearney Executive Recruitment from Texas-based Electronic Data Systems, from which emerged a new company: Edward W Kelley & Partners. As CEO, Kelley has traveled the globe, opening offices in Boston; Calgary, Alberta; Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Moscow; and Vienna, Austria, to help clients meet staffing needs. Kelley recently spoke to Workforce Management staff writer Gina Ruiz.
Workforce Management: Where is the demand for executive recruitment most pronounced?
Edward Kelley: The global economy is growing at a healthy pace. This bodes well for business in general. But the markets where the demand is outstripping the talent by far is in the emerging world—China, India, Russia and Eastern Europe.
WM: Have the executive recruitment needs of employers changed over the years?
Kelley: The needs of clients are not changing tremendously. But the time given to a candidate to prove himself has shortened dramatically. Before, the time frame was a matter of a year or two. But now it can be a question of quarters or even months. This raises the stakes when it comes to selecting the most suitable candidate.
WM: Do the needs of clients vary from region to region?
Kelley: They vary drastically. Take China, for example. That country has a tremendous need for indigenous middle- and top-level people. In markets where economic growth is moderate, like North America, employers generally look for executives that have something unique to contribute to the company. They are looking for somebody who can make a strategic difference.
WM: Are there any new technology tools that allow recruiters to meet the needs of employers more effectively?
Kelley: There are all kinds of tools one can use. Certainly the ability to identify candidates within companies is much greater than it was before. The use of research, extensive databases, outside research centers like the ones in India or other parts of the world have made it a lot easier to get information on individuals than it was 10 years ago. There are also a whole series of personality tests.
WM: Will recruitment activity be affected by unfolding events in today’s global political/economic climate?
Kelley: It depends on the type of challenge that is out there. The situations in Lebanon, Iraq, the price of oil and interest rates may eventually force companies to look differently at where they make their investments and carry out staffing efforts. Some parts of recruitment are more insulated than others. For example, if you are working in the field of higher education, you are less susceptible. There is always a need for deans of schools and presidents of universities. That doesn’t change. But demand for heads of companies, marketing directors, finance directors in major Fortune 500 companies—yeah, that changes.
Workforce Management, August 28, 2006, p. 9 -- Subscribe Now!