Expert networks put the brakes on recruiting new staff during 2022 according to analysis prepared by expert network marketplace Inex One and Integrity Research. Job postings from 21 leading expert networks fell from over 1,000 new hires as of the end of 2021 to fewer than 500 currently. A job postings index for the top four expert networks shows that hiring has fallen to pre-Covid levels after a huge post-Covid surge. The job postings data is a key performance indicator for the health of the expert network industry, and is used as an input for the 2023 Expert Network Market Sizing being produced by Integrity Research and Inex One.
Expert networks began 2022 in hiring mode, increasing their number of new jobs through the first quarter, peaking at 1,132 open positions on March 31, 2022 according to bi-weekly data collected by Inex One. Job postings declined steadily thereafter, falling to 491 as of the beginning of January 2023. Job listings have continued to decline, with 473 open positions as of the end of January.
The expert network job postings data is collected from career listings from 21 expert networks, comprised of Alphasights, Arbolus. Atheneum, Capvision, Coleman, Deepbench, Dialectica, First Thought, Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), Guidepoint, Knowledge Ridge, Lynk, NewtonX, Prosapient, Ridgetop, Silverlight, Stream, techspert.io, Tegus, Third Bridge, and VisasQ.
All regions have been impacted by the slowdown. Expert networks that are based primarily in Asia appear to have been the most impacted, increasing their hiring only 5% at the highest point in 2022 before falling over 70% from December 2021 levels. Expert networks based primarily in Europe appear to have been the least impacted so far, down 47% from December 2021 levels, but show no signs of recovery yet. Expert networks based in the US shrank their hiring by over 50% during 2022 but have begun to increase hiring slightly since.
An index of job postings from the top four expert networks – GLG, AlphaSights, Guidepoint, Third Bridge – shows that hiring declined precipitously in the early stages of the pandemic, rebounding strongly in late 2020, then more than doubling before returning to early Covid levels currently. The index declined nearly 70% at the beginning of the pandemic, from March 2020 to June 2020. Hiring began to surge in the fall of 2020, increasing throughout 2021. The index peaked in March 2022 at 239 before falling to 96 as of the end of January 2023.
Job postings data is a key input to the latest expert network market sizing undertaken by Integrity Research and Inex One. To learn more about the market sizing, go to https://expert-network-market-data.sellfy.store/.
Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), the firm that pioneered the expert network industry, filed for an IPO in October 2021, only to withdraw it in March 2022, as hiring peaked. We infer from GLG’s action that growth had begun to slow in the first quarter of 2022, causing it to pull its IPO and reduce its level of recruiting.
GLG is a bellwether for the industry as other leading expert networks and the industry overall dramatically reduced hiring in 2022. While there appear to be some variations by region, cooling demand for expert network services appears to be a global phenomenon.
Expert networks have successfully diversified from their financial services roots, which up until recently has been a source of growth for the industry. Now, however, as overall economic growth slows globally, expert networks are suffering a downturn across their user base. It may also be true that expert networks enjoyed a boost from the nearly universal work-from-home environment during the height of the pandemic, which has eased as offices re-opened during 2022.
The question now is whether the spike in 2021 expert network hiring was a pandemic-fueled aberration, with hiring levels now back to more sustainable pre-Covid levels. Or whether 2023 will bring a further decline in industry demand as economic conditions worsen. The leading expert networks are apparently not yet convinced that the worst is over, since their recruiting levels are currently at the lowest levels since March 2020. Hopefully, their skepticism is unjustified.