March 8, 2010 – The 2009 executive search industry summary released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) indicates growing activity in senior management hiring during the fourth quarter of 2009. While overall industry revenues plummeted 32.5 percent in 2009 from their highest ever levels in 2008, the fourth quarter saw a 7.3 percent annual increase in searches started and a significant slow down in revenue declines. Global executive search industry revenues were estimated to reach $7.43 billion in 2009, against $11 billion in 2008. “The latest figures reveal new momentum as organizations become less reluctant to invest in upgraded or replacement senior management,” said Peter Felix, president of the AESC. “We are gradually seeing increased search activity in many parts of the world, albeit exercised with more caution than with pre-recession hiring, and what appears to be a sustainable upward trend of demand. Certainly the final quarter of 2009 has proved to be a launch pad for greater optimism in 2010 and we are already seeing evidence of this in the first few months of the year.” For the first time in 2009, the fourth quarter saw yearly increases in the levels of senior executive search activity in Asia/Pacific, Central/South America and Europe. North America was the only region not to experience a rise.