“There has been a noticeable turnaround since the fourth quarter of 2020.”

– Interview with Arne Adrian


The Federal Association of German Management Consultants (Bundesverband Deutscher Unternehmensberater, BDU) published its annual report on the state of HR consulting in Germany in 2021 today. It is one of the most important sources for a comprehensive overview over the market situation as well as a reliable measuring tool for the trends to come.

To start with the most important fact: The expected overall market decline due to the measures against the Corona pandemic was kept relatively low at around 8% and turned out to be far less damaging than expected last fall. For the current year, the BDU even predicts overall growth of around 15%, which could take the industry to the next record high and even above pre-crisis levels next year.

Important for the PAWLIK Group are the trends and the outlook for the current year. We talked to our managing director Arne Adrian about this, who heads the board in the BDU's professional association for personnel consulting.

Mr. Adrian, how have Germany's recruitment consultancies managed the Corona crisis so far?

At the beginning of the Corona crisis, in the second and third quarters of 2020, HR consultancies suffered some significant setbacks in the wake of the generally gloomy business climate. In the fall of 2020, four out of ten market participants were more than 40 percent behind their revenue expectations. Since the fourth quarter, there has been a considerable trend reversal. Of course, industry specialization and the size of the consulting firms play a key role here. Large consultancies are usually more broadly positioned and can compensate for declines in individual fields more quickly than smaller specialists. Overall, the personnel consultancies got off lightly. In an international comparison, for example in the USA, we observed significantly higher declines.

What does the market development look like in detail?

Last year, 65,000 positions were filled, while the average target income rose by €4,000 to €175,000. There was also a slight increase in the placement of female candidates. Another trend is digitization. Every fifth position filled is now a digital job, and the trend is rising. But the methods of HR consulting are also changing.

What do you mean specifically?

We have already digitized many measures that we use to help our customers find the right candidates. And I'm not just talking about virtual interviews. In the age of remote work, HR diagnostics has received another boost and established itself as a valuable tool in HR consulting landscape in 2020. In the German market, too, executives are realizing that good diagnostic tools and procedures significantly improve the recruiting process, especially with regard to the soft skills of candidates. Personnel diagnostics can support correct decisions through well-founded scientific assessments. Incidentally, this is also reflected in the study: the market share of management diagnostics in the total volume of HR consulting in Germany was 8.1% in 2020. A noticeable increase compared to the previous year.




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