Monday 19 February 2018

Korn Ferry opens headhunting arm as Brexit looms

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Gretchen Friemann

Global recruitment and advisory firm, Korn Ferry, has opened an executive search division in Dublin as the listed headhunter pitches to become a key powerbroker in the recovering Irish employment market.

While the US-headquartered group gained a wide presence in Ireland after the group's 2015 takeover of the human resources consultancy outfit Hay Group its executive recruitment activities were conducted offshore.

Korn Ferry's expansion here is likely to shake up the already acutely-competitive recruitment sector and may herald the arrival of other international heavyweights, like its listed peer Heidrick & Struggles and the privately-controlled headhunting groups Spencer Stuart and Egon Zehnder International.

These names are well-known in global business circles - between them they have populated the C-suites and boardrooms of the multinationals for close to five decades. Typically they charge one-third of the successful candidate's salary and bonus for a placement in the upper echelons of an organisation.

But Korn Ferry is the first of these elite brands to open a local executive search operation in Dublin.

The moves comes as unemployment continues to fall and the financial services sector looks set to expand on the back of Brexit.

Robert Wilder, Korn Ferry's managing director in Ireland, stressed the firm's decision to boost its Irish operations was not spurred by Brexit.

Instead he attributed it to the desire to "build on our existing capabilities" and unite Korn Ferry's three distinct lines of business: its executive search arm, advisory services and its talent management and recruitment solutions arm, Futurestep.

While Mr Wilder acknowledged Brexit offers opportunities he said Korn Ferry is "unique" in its ability to offer "the full breadth of people and organisational solutions and products".

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