Thirty-seven percent of private equity firms are expanding their payrolls in the first half of 2012, according to a survey conducted by auditing firm EisnerAmper. Another 56% said they expect staffing levels to remain constant, while just 7% plan to reduce headcount.

Overall, more than half of all respondents said they plan to hire new financial and operational professionals sometime this year, while a third also plan to hire research analysts. Just over a quarter also expect to add staff in compliance — a figure EisnerAmper had expected to be higher, due to increased regulatory requirements of Dodd-Frank.



Here are some other survey results:

  • Manufacturing/distribution received more interest than any other additional sector, rising to 46% from a prior H2 2011 survey. It was followed by business services (falling to 43% from 55%) and healthcare (falling from 46% to 41%). The only sectors outside of manufacturing/distribution to show half-to-half increases were life sciences (13% to 21%), real estate (9% to 12%) and consumer (9% to 10%).
  • Half of respondents said that their current fund has 25% of dry powder remaining. Not hugely surprising — and portends a busy fundraising season — and was matched by 50% who said their current fund was at least three years-old (24% older than 5 years).
  • More than 40% of respondents expect H1 2012 increases in new deal closings and dispositions. A slight majority expects the availability of debt financing to remain stable.

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