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March 15, 2001
Demand Accelerates for Highest Paid Executives
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and for senior executives in 2000 increased 23 percent compared to 1999, according to a new study.

The growth was propelled by a 32 percent share of demand in North America, as well as a 30 percent surge in senior level hiring in Asia/Pacific, according to a new Executive Demand Index compiled by Korn/Ferry International. Both Latin America and Europe also generated stronger year-end executive demand in 2000, reporting 15 percent 12 percent increases, respectively.

"Demand for senior executives was substantial in 2000, particularly due to a phenomenal jump in North America," says Windle B. Priem, president and CEO of Korn/Ferry. "Even with the global economic slowing in the fourth quarter, top-flight professionals still have ample options as companies fight for position in this fast-changing environment. Organizations are continuing to focus on quality leadership that is imperative to gain an advantage in today's ultra competitive marketplace."

"The push for the right management continues to outpace the availability in the market," says James Boone, president of the Americas for Korn/Ferry. "We expect the demand for talented senior executives in North America to increase indefinitely."

Increasing its top share, the advanced technology sector furthered its lead to 29 percent of all executive searches in 2000, compared to 20 percent in 1999. The advanced technology sector includes computer, electronics, hardware, software, and telecommunications companies.

"Advanced technology continues to be a strong growth sector in the United States and Canada," said Boone. "The demand for top talent in technology companies is as strong as it has ever been. In 2001, the difference is that more established concerns and product companies are demanding world class talent. For the higher quality companies, we do not anticipate a slowdown in talent demand this year."

In second place, demand for financial services executives increased to 17 percent, compared to 14 percent in 1999. "A number of mergers and acquisitions in the financial services sector has led firms to reorganize," Boone said. "The restructuring of banks and other financial institutions often results in searches for new leadership and direction."

Demand for healthcare and pharmaceuticals executives remained steady with a 13 percent share in 2000, compared to 14 percent in 1999. "We are expecting demand for healthcare executives to remain steady," said Boone. "Traditionally, the healthcare sector is less likely to be affected by an economic cooling and it appears government initiatives will favor the pharmaceutical sector."

In fourth place, growth in executive demand with the industrial concerns continued at a healthy pace with a 11 percent share, compared to 12 percent in 1999. "We anticipate a strong demand for industrial executives in 2001," Boone said. "There continues to be a need for technology-savvy managers with an industrial background."

In the functional categories, chief executive officers represented 13 percent of all 2000 demand in North America, relatively equal to its 14 percent share in 1999. "CEO turnover, particularly at large concerns, contributed to a strong demand for chief executive searches in the past year," said Boone. "A successful CEO today must simultaneously command rapidly changing technology, demands of shareholders and complicated organizational matrixes. There is a shortage of capable men and women who can have a measurable impact in the corner office."

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