December 7, 2009 – Amid signs that higher consumer spending helped lift the U.S. economy in the third quarter, recruiters are forecasting a double-digit increase in executive search assignments in 2010 following a brighter, but slower end to the current year, according to the results of ExecuNet's Recruiter Confidence Index (RCI). November's survey of 161 executive recruiters found that 50 percent are confident or very confident the executive employment market will improve during the next six months – down from 56 percent last month and up significantly from all time lows reached in November 2008 (26 percent). In 2010, executive search consultants are forecasting a 15 percent increase in assignments. “With the top of the employment market poised for a recovery, now is the time for organizations and executives to refocus on making strategic talent choices,” says Mark Anderson, president and chief economist of ExecuNet. “Despite the openings occurring in leadership ranks, finding new opportunities at the executive level will continue to be more challenging than it was just two years ago. With companies less likely to advertise their openings, it's safe to assume that you'll need to network to find work.” Looking ahead to 2010, the industries recruiters expect will generate the greatest growth in executive-level job opportunities include: healthcare, clean/green-tech, energy/utilities, life science and high-tech.