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Wow – what a difference a few months makes! Just in the past 45 days, we have seen a significant resurgence in hiring on the Employee Benefits side AND now the side once again. Our levels are not yet back to our 2007 levels, but back to our 2008 levels. Again, we have more searches than we can handle, so we are back to the practice of simply refusing client searches. If the client is not responsive and ready to roll, we simply decline the assignment.

That said, there is a divergence in compensation levels as brokers are aggressively seeking “”hunter”” producers with above 2008 compensation levels, and, in many cases, are actually paying attractive sign-on bonuses now – unheard of only a few months ago. And producers with books of business are gold. We placed three of these in the past month – easy stuff.

On the other hand, the market for CSRs and account managers continues to be dismal – little movement. As an example, a ten year veteran account manager making $82k just one year ago just accepted a position with a client of mine for only $57k – wow!

Many of the smart hiring authorities are taking this opportunity to raid their competitors for A++ talent, which of course, is the smart thing to do. One such mid-level broker client is really loading up on producer talent now and is well positioned for the turnaround – their plan is to dominate their sector and run the competition out of town by end of 2010. Needless to say, they are well positioned for the future. They are in a smaller market than NoVA, but nonetheless, they are pretty ruthless in gaining market share.

Hiring is very strong on the international side of our business as many of the large insurance companies continue to strategically open TMDs (Threat Management Divisions) throughout the Middle East and South Asia.

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