I had the privilege this week to talk to a number of the leading executive search firms (research, not looking for a job, you understand). All have been hit hard by the recession and, unsurprisingly, there have been mergers and radical cutbacks. This sector is completely dependent on knowledge networks. Personal relationships, particularly at the top end (CEO and board level placements) are critical. It was interesting to hear that remuneration policy for the top people in this sector, whilst predominantly performance related, still has a very large element for tenure; 'the longer you stay with us the more we will pay you'. Whilst many organisations have moved, largely or wholly, to linking reward to performance, for organisations that fish in small, specialised pools, knowledge retention by £$€ still works.