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two new entrants test size of CSR jobs market

June 2007

Two more recruitment agencies have entered the increasingly crowded UK market. Arc Vision and Dangerfield Executive Search join eight other agencies in the UK alone that offer CSR executive searches and recruitment services. At least four more operate in the US.

Dangerfield, set up two years ago, specializes in the environment sector but expanded its reach last month to CSR. Arc Vision is entirely new.

The number of jobs in corporate responsibility has risen rapidly over the past three years as more large companies create dedicated teams. There are few figures on the sector’s size, but a recent US study found more than 600 vacancies advertised in 2005 on two online CSR recruitment sites, a 48 per cent rise on the previous year (EP8, issue 6).

David Dangerfield, founder of Dangerfield Executive Search, said the market was growing rapidly and ‘many of our existing clients are saying they want to move into the area’. The agency specializes in placing senior executives in large companies.

Gerry Roberts, head of Arc Vision, said that his agency will concentrate on finding consultants to work with businesses for fixed periods.

‘We believe there’s a niche here,’ he said. ‘Our research suggests that many FTSE 350 companies don’t want to employ full-time CSR managers but struggle to find good consultants to help them to design and write their programme.’

Claire Skinner, managing director of Ruston Wheb, which has been in the field for seven years, said the interest in climate change had reinvigorated the market. ‘Climate change is driving an increasing demand for senior consultants and the creation of new posts,’ she said. ‘There continues to be a shortage of really good people at a senior level.’

She questioned whether all the specialist recruiters would survive. ‘Some have already come and gone and there will be some consolidation in the future.’

Tom Leathes, director of London-based Acre Resources, one of the market leaders, said: ‘Clearly this is a growing field, and over the last few years there have been a number of other recruitment firms with backgrounds in other sectors – from IT through to finance – that have dipped their toes in the water. We see that as a positive sign of a sector that’s maturing. Competition is healthy, and it will drive the industry forward.’

Leathes added that all agencies, including his own, will have to ‘keep evolving their offering’ to stay competitive.

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