Headhunters go a-hunting

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Ever wanted to recruit financial services staff? Now could be the time to begin. Australia's executive search firms are experiencing a mini war for talent all of their own.

Talent2 is about to launch an advertising campaign in the UK, seeking up to 20 people for positions for its Australian offices. "We can't find enough available people with the knowledge and experience in Australia," complains director John Banks. "The recruitment industry is booming and there is a shortage of people, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne."

The war for talent is raging all the way to the top of the search firm hierarchy. The US-based firm Edward W Kelley and Partners is in the market for new partners in Australia. It currently has six partners in Sydney and Melbourne and plans to add another five in 2007.

Cordiner King is another firm that recently lured an as-yet-unidentified management consultant who will join the firm as a partner in January to expand the number of partners to six.

Rob Pocknee, one of Cordiner King's Melbourne based partners, said most executive search firms were on the lookout for the right talent to become partners.

"People have constantly got a watch for new talent, because it's pretty hard to find quality partners in executive search," he said. "We have an open brief."

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