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Some of the richest people in the City are headhunters

If you want to make big money in life, the best careers to go for are (in descending order): trading, ‘general finance’ (AKA all areas of finance that aren’t trading or insurance), law, and…recruitment.

Based on pay figures drawn from clients of wealth manager ‘The Route’, the average top end trader is earning 1.5m, the average top end ‘general financier’ is earning 1m, the average top end lawyer earns 572k, and the average top end recruitment person is taking home a pleasing 477k.

Everyone knows that traders, bankers and lawyers are big money earners, but who are these wealthy recruiters? Victoria Jackson, business development manager at Route, says they’re mostly City headhunters.

Daniel Whomes, director of search to search firm The Ocean Partnership, says 477k is eminently possible for headhunters in the right place at the right time: “To earn that kind of money you need to be with the right firm, work the right market and have been building up a network of people for a number of years. The figure would be much lower at a contingent recruitment firm, due to fee size.”

Shaun Springer, chief executive of fixed income search firm Napier Scott, says 477k is the top of the market: “There are some people here earning that kind of money, but there are plenty more who aren’t. It’s a commission-based industry so I’d love to be paying that out as an average.”

Comments (47)

  1. Again another totally pointless and blatantly wrong piece. The ‘average’ headhunter is earning nowhere near 477k and the ‘average’ banker is not earning 1m, esp in this market.

  2. so Why are they sacking managers and associate from permanent jobs in the biggest inv banks?

  3. Why are some banks sacking traders? If traders were good, they could still make money as markets fall. Or are these just the execution ‘traders’, who just sit and take calls from the real brain men/women.

  4. This article is absolute rubbish.

  5. The “average” “recruiter” is not earning 477k, this is top end.

    Computer Person Reply
  6. What about the likes of Egon Zehnder, Korn/Ferry, Heidrick and Struggles, Spencer Stuart, Russell Reynolds etc.?

  7. This article is a lot of rubbish. What a waste of everyone’s time. The figures are utterly wrong (maybe she confused billing and earnings) and all they do is exacerbate antagonist attitudes towards headhunters. This article is talking about top earners and the figures are plausible but in NO WAY this constitutes and average.

  8. Clearly, you’re mis-understanding the point, which is that of the clients of Route – the wealth manager – some are recruiters, and the average earnings for this group is around 500k. This is not to say you usually earn that much as a phone jockey, but some headhunters working in the City of London can earn enough money to warrant the services of a wealth manager. Something to aspire to perhaps?

  9. Sarah! Please let me know in which company the “average” recruitment consultant earn that sort of money. I feel now that i chose the wrong company ;)

    thanks for making me laugh anyway

  10. This story is wildly inaccurate and misleading – To earn this amount you would need to bill over $2m – and there are very few people who really do this and usually covering the IB or markets areas – where the fees are heavily capped in any case.

  11. this is a load of poo….

  12. Total nonsense. Billing 477k perhaps, but earnings? This is absurd, especially in this market. To be earning that sort of money has nothing to do with right place right time logic.

  13. The average recruiter earns nearly half a million????

    Got to be the worst article shown on EFC for quite some time.

  14. If I bill another 900,000 this year then I will make the average…fingers crossed

  15. This is absolute rubbish, where do you get your facts! Again the media making up rubbish to justify their exsistance, which is why we are in the present situation.

  16. Paul if we all misunderstood the point and you are the only one to grasp it, logic would tell us that this article is badly written then. Figures plucked from the air mixed with a few random quotes does not constitute an article.

  17. It was a pleasant surprise to read this article, it is nice to know that some people in this industry are earning big money. Those with my firm, albeit a very young one, can certainly hit these figures, we take the first 30,000 in fee income and then they keep 75% of their fees generated. I would have thought that the bigger firms would not have been able to pay these amounts, unless Route thinks that MD and Owners of recruiment firms are average recruiters.

    Gary Wilson 3G Recruitment Reply
  18. Will there be more articles of high quality journalism in this vein soon? I do hope so. It absolutely doesn’t look as if it was knocked up down the pub at lunch time over a few swift ones. Oh no.

  19. Is it national hate recruitment week? If our profile of career choice was not scrutinised enough! The fact is that I would love to earn an average of 477K . In fact I think every recruiter would like to earn this. This article just proves what ill intelligence you show in understanding our careers and how little knowledge you obviously have in the real world. Where did you conduct your research WALT DISNEY WITH MICKEY MOUSE because that what your figures are.

  20. The article isn’t saying that Mr. average recruiter is earning 477k. It’s saying that the average recruiter who’s a client of this particular wealth manager is earning 477k. Given only better off recruiters are likely to require wealth managers in the first place, it’s inevitable that this will be a snapshot of what’s going on at the top of the market. The article does, in fact, point this out….

  21. Figures are completely wrong… I’m sure we can assure you the ‘average’ consultant doesn’t earn this at all. Average here for the top billers is between 160k-450k OTE, but this accounts for about 15 consultants in a company of 150.

  22. How disappointing – the article made it very clear what the assumptions of the comments were. The recruiters making negative comments here have proven yet again what the market says about head-hunters ? they are superficial and do not go deep enough. They read the headlines and run for it – guess what, that is why their days-to-close is bad and their placement rate is abominable. Frankly, such colleagues hurt our industry where client understanding, in depth knowledge, diligence and commitment bring success. I do concur with Paul that the article should be an incentive to aspire to move the job of recruiter out of the shadow of head-hunting and elevate it to the next level and make this one of the respected forces in people, talent and organisational development. Each and every day we touch many lives with our work, we will not be a part of their future if we do not take it serious and allow for the necessary depth. If we do things right a great compensation will come, just naturally. If we stay needy, greedy and nurture envy, we will be like Mike, KLM or p*ssedoff and the same sort of commentors.

  23. I echo the various comments about this being nothing more than another antagomistic swipe at the world of executive recruitment.
    Certainly there are ‘big hitters’ out there but to claim that earnings of over 450k per annum are ‘the norm’ for (employed?) City recruiters is plainly daft and misleading and, is unlikely to win an industry desperate to improve its profile and reputation, any new friends.

    MD, a City Search Co. Reply
  24. Alienated, what a valiant defence! But the article is ambiguously written and you cannot deny it. We all aspire to better and I am sitting at my desk in a search firm where top billers bring in between 1m-2m revenues a year. The article is pointless and too ambiguous. Frankly journalists should also show diligence and deep knowledge rather than putting 2-3 opinions together and linking them with 1-2 sentences. I do not see why you are upset that headhunters ran with the headline – our world is all about headlines so journalists have a duty to clarify. Do you think the FT, Bloomberg or Reuters would have published anything that bad?

  25. I think the point of publishing it is that it’s a massive surprise that recruiters CAN earn that money. Clearly there are enough of them earning around the 500k mark for the Route to mention them among the top earners amid its clients. Unless of course they have three clients, one trader, one headhunter and a lawyer, in which case he needs to tell us the secret to earning so much cash!

  26. tssss…..What’s a’ot rubbish. Billing 500K maybe, earning? no way…Again, 1/10 guys might be billing 2M a year but average guy will be billing 300K a year and bring home 100k maybe

  27. I made 7Million from recruitment by sending all my clients a ruler. Why dont all you loser recruiters shut up and get on the phone and maybe you will bill more than 3,000 per month.

  28. The aritcle does say “average *top end* headhunter”, which is a bit like saying “average premier league footballer”. Most kickers of balls don’t get paid at all, and certainly no one would pay 50K per week for my soccer skills.
    Also I fear that not everyonre here is using the same skills on their own business that they should apply to the market we work off.
    “Pay” is a tricky term at this level, many of us own at least some of the company we work for. Thus there may be an element of capital growth in this as well as salary/commission. This of course implies that if next year is a dog, some of us will actually lose rather than make money. As the disclaimer goes “the value of investments can go down, far down really, really far down, as well as up”.
    Certainly there are a number of us who earn more than most of the people we place. Yes of course there are commission caps and the really quite amazing bar bill I got from Paris last month, but last year was a good one. Next year ? Who knows ?

  29. Pards you need to learn some manners and lose your arrogance.

  30. I have been recruiting front office for 18 years- trader before that for 12 yrs.
    Own my own business and have an excellent network of trading companies and investment banks. The article is totally incorrect. In a perfect world with the perfect candidate and the perfect Client where nothing goes wrong, everything is hunky dory on a consistent basis- then we can pull a figure like `a pleasing 477k` out of the air (why not 666) and call it an average figure. What are these people on? and should they not be out there trying to earn this sort of money instead of peddling garbage? its hard enough out there.
    Mr. Honestly Cynical

  31. what a loser who made 7M quid and spends time on EFin.. doesnt he have a life! or is he just fibbing

  32. I am a successful headhunter within the IT Investment banking Arena (4years and still going..), and no way am I earning that sort of money….I must be doing something wrong or work for the wrong company, but since I am doing a great job and my company is very successful I would say the article is slightly out of digits… Sorry to disappoint peeps but in my world the “average” earnings for a top biller (billing 1Mio a year) is 250 -300K depending on the agreed commission with your Boss!

  33. “The “AVERAGE” top end recruitment person………” Well Sarah, this sentence in itself is confusing…. So do you mean “average” or top end?!

  34. what twaddle, what a pointless article, if there are top end recruiters earning this level of remuneration they are the very privileged few, NOT the average .most financial institutions have a cap on their fee structure , hence this is more representative of a good recruiters billings as previously stated.

    A veteran Recruiter Reply
  35. All this hullabaloo could have been avoided if the survey had reported the median salary, and not – as seems likely – the heavily skewed mean.

    Mariusz Pudzianowski Reply
  36. Wow, what a bunch of bitches.

  37. I dont think the argument is whether the article is correct, if read properly it makes sense and in fairness to the Editor i sit between 2 senior search consultants who both earnt over 7 figures last year (that correlates to over 2.2mm in billings on our scheme). I think the point should be – why run this article in a time when recuiters are under the microscope and such facts could be detrimental – especially when they make up a signifiant portion of the efinancial reader/ subscriber demographic?!

  38. If you’re a the top of the game in recruitment sure. However, there’s much more to be made than that through agency ownership. For top recruiters I’ve seen guys bill 800K and 1.2M. On the company commission scheme at the time 400-500k was very achieveable. To do that consistently year-on-year and in this market is another story.

  39. Sarah,
    Could you please supply me with the details of said Headhunter as I am in dire need of some new diamond shoes and the Bentley is needing replaced – again.
    Grow up.

    Many thanks

    Curious Recruiter Reply
  40. pards needs to take his ruler out of his rear end..

    pards schmards Reply
  41. Personally I think this article is absolute twaddle and Sarah should get out of journalism and into stand-up….

  42. I feel this article is grosly missleading for both clients and candidates. It suggest that all recruitment fees are very high and that we are all walking away with massive bonuses and salleries.

    That may be the case in The Top Search recruitment firms however, it most certainly would not be an average there either. Even in Finance and Operations recruitment consultancies specialist, succesful and experienced consultants probbaly will bill for their company 500K rather than earn 500K.

  43. I have no idea what Karim is talking about. Maybe he should use a spell checker or learn English.

    I’m going off to my massive mansion that I got through headhunting. Bye.

  44. Wonderful piece of Journalism. Absolute incontravertible independent demostrable proof that some of the biggest bull…….. are Headhunters, both in and out of the City. And that Journalism attracts soem of the most gullible people on earth

  45. guys…………..this is a one off but i have earned over 500k by billing over 1mil back in 2007…..how do i hear you ask? my company was paying 50% commission, threshold was 4k, 4-8k was 25% and 8k and over was 50%………….hard to believe but there really is a company out there paying this sort of commission, i am still here at the company so if any recruiters out there that have good billings and wants to move to earn more money drop me a line………oh i am just a senior consultant so im not earning override……….people here are earning over 300k plus, lower end guys are billing 25k and still earning over 100k a year…………..so it can be done, just depends on the commission!!!!!!!

  46. It clearly says the average TOP END you idiots who keep saying that number is stupid as an average!!! It’s not – it’s average for top end you knobs.

    get lost u lot Reply
  47. Hi, my name is Marvin and I’m a salesperson who is planning to become a recruiter. Can a head hunter or a recruiter make 500,000 a year?

    Marvin St. Felix Reply

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