JOBS for accountants, bankers and engineers are still paying well but packages have not increased that much, according to a survey by recruiter Kelly Services released yesterday.

It also found that bosses are starting to use non-monetary incentives such as work flexibility and career development programmes to retain staff.

Kelly Services said in its employment outlook and salary guide for 2012 that despite much job-cutting worldwide, professionals such as accountants, bankers and engineers are still in demand.

"In the accounting and finance sector, mid-level positions like senior accountants, auditors and credit managers will continue to be in demand due to stricter internal controls via expense management and push for profitability," it wrote.

However, the wage ranges for some of these positions have remained largely unchanged.

An accountant earned between $3,500 and $6,500 a month, according to the 2012 salary guide, compared with $4,000 to $6,500 in the 2011 report.

Kelly said that increasingly stringent banking regulations are generating greater demand for professionals trained in these areas, but local banks were still cautious in hiring.

The position of risk manager in a bank commanded a monthly salary of between $9,000 and $16,000 this year, unchanged from last year.

Consistent growth in the oil and gas, construction and water sectors was expected to keep prospects good for engineers.

But various engineering jobs saw no change in salary ranges between this year and last year. For instance, a project engineer continued to earn $4,000 to $7,000 this year, the same as last year.

This trend of stagnating pay packages is occurring despite a tight labour market.

The unemployment rate was 2per cent for the second quarter of the year, according to the Ministry of Manpower, which is around its record low.

"In such a labour market, one would expect companies to use financial compensation as a means of strategically attracting and retaining talent," Kelly Services wrote in its report. But on the contrary, Singaporeans "prefer to negotiate other factors", it noted.

According to Kelly Services' 2012 Global Workforce Index, three out of four Singapore workers surveyed said that personal growth and fulfilment were more important than salary and benefits when choosing between jobs.

And 51 per cent said it was important to change jobs for the sake of career growth and skills development.

These new demands mean human resource managers have also begun changing tack in order to attract talent.

While monetary benefits remain a core component of remuneration, non-monetary benefits such as work flexibility, career development programmes and a clear career path are also being dangled as incentives during salary negotiations, Kelly Services said.

"We are seeing a shift in the way that companies approach compensation and benefits, with many recognising that they must find creative solutions that offer more than just a competitive remuneration scheme in order to keep hold of critical skill sets within an organisation," said Mr Dhirendra Shantilal, senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region at Kelly Services.