FINANCIAL planners, human resource managers, geotechnical design engineers and sales executives are in high demand, reports Hays, a recruiting expert that focuses on qualified, professional and skilled people.

The April–June edition of the Hays Quarterly Report reveals that the balance of power is swinging back to today’s top candidates.

Job seekers today have more choice, and the surplus of candidates that employers experienced for much of 2009 has, in most industries, been absorbed back into the workforce.

In the post-global financial crisis workplace, employers now have less choice and are even taking steps to minimise the impact of future skills shortages.

For candidates, particularly top talent, this means they have some power back.

Candidates are starting to objectively examine job vacancies in far more detail than they did during the global financial crisis. They are now more focused on their careers and will evaluate a vacancy to make sure it will provide the progression they want.

They are asking for more information about a job’s responsibilities to work out if it is a step up or, at least, a step in the right direction.

They want to know if clear career paths are offered. They are also utilising their networks to see what others say about the company.

In addition, with the first cases of multiple offers again taking place for top talent, these candidates can potentially leverage an improvement in salary for the first time in well over 18 months.

Some employers are starting to enter into such salary negotiations once again for top talent, although this trend will take time to be evident across the board.

According to the Hays Quarterly Report, the following skills are currently in demand:

* Accountancy and finance: Financial planner and analyst jobs are hot as companies are looking to the future, making more strategic investments and implementing more projects.

* Banking: With the heightened state of the regulatory and controls environment, operational risk management (ORM) and compliance professionals with solid relevant experience in the region are in continued demand.

* Construction: There has been a surge in government funding to improve civil infrastructure, which is generating a range of jobs with engineering consultancies and construction contractors, particularly those with local experience.

* Finance technology: Companies are looking to hire candidates with strong object-oriented skill sets (C++/Java-based) combined with specific Greek or options-based risk-trading experience. There is more demand across the system and development space in general as the move to online trading systems continues.

* Human resources (HR): Regional HR managers are wanted as large multinational companies establish regional HR functions in Singapore. Candidates with international experience, particularly from the Asia-Pacific and South-east Asia, are very much in demand.

* Information technology (IT): There is a rise in demand for contract candidates experienced in SAP and development (including Java, C# and .Net). Infrastructure and sales professionals at all levels are also in high demand.

* Pharmaceutical: Companies in the region are starting to restructure their commercial teams, which is creating opportunities within sales and marketing. This is having a positive effect on clinical research organisations, as outsourcing also sees an increase from 2009 figures.

* Property: Developers, real estate companies and end users are all seeking project managers and facilities managers, particularly those who have delivered commercial interior or data centre projects for large corporations in banking or the IT space.

* Sales and marketing: Singapore’s traditionally strong markets of IT&T and financial services are leading the charge for talent. Sales executives with relevant industry knowledge and a good base of contacts are currently at the top of the recruitment list.