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Industry hungry for executives, and pay is up

Despite the economic slowdown that depressed the job market earlier in the year, the number of job openings for executives has rebounded and stands at a record high, with salaries continuing to escalate, Dun's Review reports in its annual survey of leading recruitment firms. The job openings are generally across the board, the survey discloses.

The poll of 20 recruiters shows 1,429 current openings paying $40,000 and up, a 17 percent increase over last year's tabulation, itself a record, and 251 of the jobs listed pay of $100,000 or more. (The highest opening is for chief executive officer at a West Coast electronics company, at $400,000.) There is more to the boosted salaries than inflation. For one thing, high-level jobs are a lot more demanding these days, and at the same time, there is a shortage of highly qualified people.

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Nowhere is this more evident than at the highest level, where turnover is probably higher than ever before. The main reason is that boards of directors have become a lot more aggressive in the last few years and tend to get rid of chief executive officers quickly if dissatisfied. CEOs have to cope with a lot of new problems such as consumerism, pollution, equal rights, and government relations. As a result a lot of people fall down on the job. When they do, directors are quick to oust them and look for more capable successors.

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