INTERNAL auditors, senior quantity surveyors, project managers and marketing communications professionals are some of the talent employers are seeking in the beginning of the year, reports Hays, a global specialist recruiting group.

In the January - March edition of the Hays Quarterly Report, the firm reveals that the growing list of skills in demand by employers in Singapore is the result of several factors.

First, there are many instances of employers opting to recruit now in an attempt to gain competitive advantage and secure the best of the available talent.

Second, many organisations that cut staffing numbers to the bone in 2009 are going to look for new recruits. Last year, departing staff were rarely replaced as their duties were taken over by remaining staff members.

Now that the market is slowly recovering, employers are reassessing and filling vacancies. Many have aggressive recruitment plans in place and there are companies that are expanding and creating roles. While they still exercise caution, more non-essential hires are now sanctioned.

Third, candidates already in permanent roles are preparing to re-enter the job market. Some have already started looking for their next career move, and this momentum will also generate opportunities as positions become vacant, further fuelling the jobs market.

In general, there is an increasing awareness that 2010 will be a better year for candidates. The surplus of candidates that peaked towards mid to late 2009 is starting to abate.

In some sectors, such as sales and marketing, employers have started to reduce the time taken to sign off on new headcount. In these cases, the recruitment process has also shortened and senior managers are more flexible with their schedules so that they can interview quality candidates quickly.

According to the Hays Quarterly Report, the following skills are sought:

ACCOUNTANCY & FINANCE

High demand exists for regulatory-related finance professionals. Experienced internal auditors are also sought due to the strong control culture in all companies.

BANKING

Project management and strategic change candidates are sought following mergers and acquisitions and the migration of roles from other locations to Singapore. Investment banking operations is also an area of demand, given recent expansions and role migration. Risk management and controls candidates are in demand due to heightened regulatory oversights.

CONSTRUCTION

Government infrastructure spending has seen companies tender for new projects. When added to their current project workload, this has created a need for senior quantity surveyors, project managers, estimators, estimating managers and costing managers.

FINANCE TECHNOLOGY

Java, C++ and C# skills are in most demand. Employers will also seek business analysts and project managers with domain experience across development, infrastructure and business.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Expanding companies are creating new HR roles at the senior level for managers and above, as well as for generalists. Candidates with regional experience will have an advantage.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Contract candidates for roles in SAP and development are in demand. This includes JAVA, C# and .Net. Companies are also hiring infrastructure and sales candidates.

OIL & GAS

People with sub-sea construction experience are in demand due to the number of new fields coming online this year.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Candidates with general and technical R&D skills, including clinical, medical and manufacturing scientists, are in demand due to continued government financial support.

PROPERTY

Project managers/directors are needed in the fit-out space within the commercial/retail sector as major corporate banks, IT companies and multinational corporations (MNCs) expand. Employers will continue to seek local facilities management (FM) talent, specifically within the commercial and data centres.

SALES & MARKETING

FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and retail employers are seeking strong marketing candidates with product-based experience and insightful consumer trend experience. Marketing communications professionals at all levels, from graduates to directors, are also in demand.

The IT&T sector is also hiring sales candidates with at least three to four years’ experience. There are further opportunities for sales and business development candidates in the construction and property industries.