By Dan Primack
January 25, 2011

Paging Jeff Immelt: American private equity firms to help boost the employment rolls in 2011, according to a new survey conducted by accounting and consulting firm BDO USA.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they would increase professional headcount at their portfolio companies, compared to just 45% that actually did so over the past year. Administrative headcount is being raised by 47% of respondents, versus just 28% who did so in 2010.

No specifics on how large the increases are expected to be, or if they’ll be offset by job cuts by other firms. What we do know, however, is that the most aggressive employers seem to be at the largest private equity firms. Seventy-seven percent of respondents with over $1 billion in capital under management said they planned to add new professional staff, while 62% of such respondents plan to add administrative staff.

For context, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council estimates that there are six million people employed by PE-backed companies in the United States. That means a net increase of just 2% would represent 120,000 jobs.

It’s also worth noting that┬áprivate equity firms plan to add staff in-house, with 42% planning to hire over the next 12 months. That is a slight increase from the 35% of respondents who boosted their own rolls last year. Again, larger firms lead the way with 55% of all firms larger than $500 million responding affirmatively.

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