By Reico Wong
INDIVIDUALS with niche skills and who are looking for engineering, information-technology (IT) and sales and marketing jobs in the commerce sector this year are likely to see strong job prospects and high salary increases, even as the general job-market outlook here remains cautiously optimistic.
Continued growth in these areas is less directly affected by the global economic uncertainty, said human-resource consultancy Robert Walters.
The firm yesterday revealed the findings of its latest annual recruitment-trend and salary-level survey, which is in its 13th edition.
Miss Andrea Ross, managing director of Robert Walters, noted that commerce companies hired a large number of experienced professionals last year, in line with their growth strategies, and that the trend is likely to continue this year.
More of such talents may be hired specifically within the oil and gas, chemicals, energy, pharmaceutical and industrial sectors, she said.
Engineering job opportunities, for example, are expected to come up within the chemical, pharmaceutical and fast-moving consumer-goods industries. The reason is that projects implemented in 2010 are set for maturity or completion within this year or next.
Hiring for engineering positions could increase by about 3 to 5 per cent this year, outside of replacements, said Mr Wayne Gay, a senior consultant for Engineering, Chemicals and Process Automation at Robert Walters.
Workers with chemical, mechanical or electrical backgrounds and strong technical skill sets, particularly in the areas of design, tenders, proposals, service maintenance and project management, are expected to be in high demand.
They could see a 15 to 20 per cent pay increase if they were to switch companies, and receive an actual salary increment of between 10 and 15 per cent.
Similarly, individuals with deeper knowledge of and maturity in IT skills are likely to receive better job offers. Their pay could rise as much as 15 to 20 per cent if they were to switch companies, and increase by 15 per cent in terms of actual increment.
Hiring levels for IT jobs are forecast to remain stable this year, on the whole.
Individuals with specialised skills related to sales and marketing within the consumer segment can expect the biggest pay increments this year. While new hires within the field are expected to stem mainly from replacements, professionals can achieve a raise of between 20 and 30 per cent if they have niche in-depth knowledge.
Ms Patricia Tan, a senior consultant for Sales and Marketing at Robert Walters, noted that such jobs in the banking and finance sector this year are more likely to stem from local banks. Foreign banks had completed the bulk of their hires last year, she said.
She added: "Individuals who have the skill sets to fill analytics and portfolio-management positions are most likely to see the highest pay rise, as such talents are few.
"Those with previous experience in the retail and travel industry will be more highly demanded, as banks are increasingly targeting high net-worth consumers when they travel."
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