We're #4.... Right??

Korn/Ferry said Monday it has regained its position as the No. 1 executive search firm in the United States and the world, according to recently released rankings from two trade organizations.

Korn/Ferry, which ranked third in the United States and second internationally a year ago, edged out Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. (NASDAQ:HSII), which took the top spot globally last year, and Chicago-based Spencer Stuart, which was No. 1 in the United States last year.

Congrats to Korn Ferry. But that is not all. Apparently the search business is booming:

A broad and sustained increase in executive recruiting activity in the United States and worldwide helped retained executive search consulting firms snap a three-year slump and fueled double-digit increases in professional fee revenue for the largest of them in 2004.

The 20 largest global retained executive search consulting practices posted a 25% gain in professional fee revenue in 2004, while the 40 largest retained executive search firms in the United States registered a 21% gain in revenue, according to the just-released annual search firm rankings issue of Executive Recruiter News (ERN), whose publisher, Kennedy Information, Inc., has tracked the global business of executive search since 1970.

"Corporate management is shifting its focus from cost-containment to business growth, and it's investing in executive talent to seize new opportunities, differentiate from the competition, and build and align workforces to meet the demands of the global economy," says Joseph Daniel McCool, editor in chief of Executive Recruiter News. "The broad and sustained increase in executive recruiting activity we witnessed in 2004 signals that employers around the world are beginning to rebuild the people side of their businesses, and that should bolster the jobs market at all levels in 2005."

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