There hasn't been much in the way of good news in terms of hiring and compensation in the private equity industry over the last couple of years. However, for the first time in a long time, there seems to be a light at the end of what's been a very long tunnel. The first positive change is that hiring seems to be picking up - at least anecdotally.

Evidence suggests that private equity hiring is increasing. For example, Pinnacle Group International, a firm that handles recruiting for private equity firms and investment banks, completed 22 placements during the first three quarters of 2012, that's up from 17 for all of 2011 and 25 for all of 2010. Additionally, the firm currently has 13 active searches in the works. What's more, mid- to small-market firms are doing most of the hiring. Of the searches that Pinnacle completed thus far this year, seven of them have been for middle-market buyout shops.

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