Two separate reports on executive hiring point to increasing demand in the financial services, technology and healthcare\/biotech fields.First, the Association of Executive Search Consultants (ASEC) recently surveyed its ranks on the outlook for 2006. The results forecast that the financial services industry will dominate executive search activity this year, followed by strong activity in the IT and biotech sectors.ASEC respondents were equally optimistic about the outlook for executive search activity this year as they were for 2005, with 77% foreseeing industry growth. Of those surveyed, 56.3% identified banking and financial services to experience the most growth, followed by 34.4% for IT and 27.9% and 27% for healthcare and pharmaceuticals\/biotech, respectively. Industries that will experience increased search activity compared to last year include professional services, government, tourism, transportation and publishing.When asked to choose which functions will likely experience a scarcity of talent in the next 12 months, 19.2% of respondents chose IT\/CIO. The highest response was for general management\/board of directors, as selected by 35.1%.Executive search firm Christian & Timbers also predicts a positive outlook for executives, based on executive search requests in the fourth quarter of\u00a02005 as compared to the fourth quarter of\u00a02004. The financial services sector experienced a 5% boost, technology was up 8%, life science increased 15%, professional services grew 14% and requests were up 9% in other sectors.That bodes well for the overall job market. "Executive hiring can be a leading indicator of general hiring for the next quarter. These increase in demand for executives indicate we should expect the unemployment rate to remain low during the first half of 2006," says Brian Sullivan, chairman and CEO of Christian & Timbers.