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Earlier this year, we released Top Echelon statistics for 2018. However, we did not release all of the statistics, but just the major ones involving each industry and discipline within our recruiting network. To recap, below are some of the highlights of those statistics:

  • Completed placements were up 11.2% in 2018 over 2017.
  • The average placement fee was $20,283. That’s the highest average in the Network during the past five years.
  • The average starting salary for a placement was $93,406. Once again, that’s the highest average in the Network during the past five years.
  • The average fee percentage was 21.6%. The average has been hovering in the 21%-22% range during the past five years.

In this issue of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog, we’re breaking down the Network disciplines in terms of three categories. They are the average fee percentage, the average fee, and the average salary associated with each one. This breakdown should give you a better idea of where TE members are making the most money in the Network.

2018 Placements by Discipline

DisciplineFee %Average FeeAverage Salary
Accounting (00)22%$19,114$83,624
Finance & Banking (05)21%$33,922$166,250
Engineering (10)23%$24,521$105,831
Scientific (15)20%$29,270$127,466
IT/Information Systems (20)22%$21,956$98,437
Industry & Manufacturing (25)20%$18,745$84,861
Sales & Marketing (30)20%$21,718$101,485
Insurance (35)20%$32,000$160,000
Technology & Technologists (40)20%$10,684$46,001
Personnel & Human Resources (45)18%$17,999$82,030
Construction (50)20%$15,793$76,215
Healthcare (60)15%$15,193$75,114
Service (65)20%$11,957$58,725
Retail (70)22%$24,833$116,667
Miscellaneous (99)22%$13,160$61,640

As you can see, there are some interesting trends among the statistics presented above:

  • Engineering boasted the largest average fee percentage at 23%.
  • Finance & Banking, Insurance, and Scientific were responsible for the highest average fee. However, to be fair, these disciplines are not in the top half of the Network when it comes to placements made.
  • A total of six disciplines has an average salary above $100K. Once again, thought, Network members did not make a ton of placements. However, Engineering and Sales & Marketing are the exception. These two disciplines are consistently in the top five in our split network in terms of placements made.

There is one big takeaway from all of these statistics. That take-away is that Network recruiters have been doing all of the following on a consistent year-over-year basis:

  • Making more split placements in the Network
  • Placing candidates with higher starting salaries
  • Earning larger fees as a result of their placements

You might say that’s not just one take-away, but three take-aways. However you define it, this represents an ongoing and positive trend with Top Echelon. These numbers bode well for Network members throughout the rest of 2019, and more than likely, beyond.

The economy has been good, more or less, for the past several years. In fact, we’re in the midst of the second-longest bull market in our nation’s history. It recently celebrated its 10th birthday.

Something interesting happens in the recruiting profession once a bull market reaches a certain point. That’s because when the market is good, more people enter the profession. More people think they can be a recruiter. Ergo, more people try to become a recruiter.

That becomes a problem for those people who were already recruiters, especially those who are veterans of the profession. That’s because as a general rule, they do not appreciate how these newbie recruiters conduct themselves in the marketplace.

Now, I’m not talking about recruiters who are seriously pursuing the occupation, who are putting in the hours of training necessary to be successful. No, I’m talking about those who “jump into the deep end of the pool.” They wake up one day and they say to themselves, “Hey . . . I think I’ll be a recruiter.”

Giving us plenty to think about

Earlier this year, we conducted our annual State of the Recruiting Industry Survey. We did that, of course, for our annual State of the Recruiting Industry Report. We will be releasing that report in the near future.

However, here is what’s interesting:

Even though we did not pose a specific question asking survey participants what they think of other recruiters, they gave their opinion, anyway.

In fact, they gave their opinion of other recruiters in response to different questions. It wasn’t even one question that prompted these responses. This is obviously something that has been on the minds of recruiters as they work their desks on a daily basis.

So what do recruiters think of each other in this market?

Well, with one of our questions, we asked if there are any threats to the recruiting industry. In multiple choice answers, we did NOT include “Other recruiters.” However, participants supplied the following comments:

“Incompetence and laziness are always threats.”

“All of the above have affected our industry. However, I do not see them as a threat. Laziness and call reluctance on the part of recruiters is our biggest threat. Failure of our industry to adapt to technology is another threat . . .”

We also asked survey participants to grade the overall health of the recruiting profession. Although the the responses were positive overall, there were a few caveats, such as the following:

“We’re overpopulated with poor recruiters that give the industry a bad reputation.”

“The biggest challenge always has and continues to be overcoming the business practices of subpar recruiters/firms causing a negative outlook on the industry.”

“Too many ‘fly by night’ recruiters have entered the industry with little to no training. Too many don’t do search but market candidates and ‘throw paper against the wall.’ And too many recruiters are willing and agreeing to lower fees, as 20% used to be upsetting and now it seems to be the norm. Too many are transaction oriented and not relationship oriented.”

And then we asked about the possibility of a recession. Once again, we did not bring other recruiters into the equation. However, some participants felt the need to bring the subject up once again:

“I’ve been through several, and if there is [one], so be it. Nothing we are going to do or not do has any affect. Honestly, our industry could use a good bottom-feeder cleaning.”

Ah, yes. Do you think the industry could use a good “bottom-feeder cleaning”? And if so, is a recession necessary for that to happen. And is all of this simply inevitable? Is this what happens within the recruiting profession during the latter stages of a bull market?

What do YOU think?

We recently asked members of Top Echelon’s recruiting network how much they would bill through the Network in 2018. Well, we’re back with another question. And this one involves billing goals in Top Echelon Network.

Specifically, it involves billing goals in the Network for this year. After all, the only thing better than making money as a recruiter is making more money as a recruiter.

Below is the poll question that we posed in the Members’ Area of the Top Echelon Network website:

How much more do you want to bill through the Network in 2019 than 2018?

The choice of answers that we provided is listed below, along with the percentage of split network recruiters that selected each one:

  • 10% to 15% more — 4.9%
  • 15% to 25% more — 12.2%
  • 25% to 35% more — 9.8%
  • Over 35% more — 48.8%
  • The same as this year is fine with me. — 24.4%

Aggressive goals = good goals

As you can see, Network recruiters were aggressive with their goals. Nearly half of poll participants (48.8%) chose “Over 35% more” as their answer. Nearly 10% selected “25% to 35%.”

But it didn’t stop there. Another 12.2% indicated that they would like to increase their Network billings by “15% to 25% more.” Even those who want to increase their billings “10% to 15% more” garnered almost 5% of the final vote.

Then are those who are satisfied with the status quo. That contingent (24.4%) stated that “The same as this year is fine with me.” And if it’s fine with them, then I say it’s fine with us. (After all, what choice do we really have?)

In years past, members have relied upon the Network only when they’ve needed it. That translates roughly into when they need job orders or quality candidates. In today’s market, they clearly need quality candidates. Their clients want them, so they want them. And they’re having trouble finding them.

So in their minds, having aggressive billing goals in Top Network means they’ve found more quality candidates for their clients. And once again, these are candidates they probably would not have found on their own. Which means, of course, these are placements they would not have otherwise made.

So in Top Echelon Network’s 32nd year of existence, the wisdom that helped start the Network remains:

“Half a loaf is better than none.”