Top10 (jobs) in 2010

Starting salaries in the accounting and finance, information technology (IT), and administrative fields are expected to remain relatively flat or see modest declines next year, but some positions will buck this trend, according to the 2010 Salary Guides from Robert Half International. Research for the guides provides insight into compensation and hiring trends within each field, and identifies 10 positions where national average salaries are holding strong or seeing slight gains.

"Companies will continue to scrutinize expenditures in the coming year and it is evident that this trend is also affecting starting salaries," says Kathryn Bolt, president of Robert Half International's Canadian operations. "That said, many companies recognize the value in increasing their talent bench to capitalize on emerging opportunities. With a larger pool of top talent available, many organizations are investing in additional full-time personnel who were not previously available."

Here is an overview of compensation trends, segmented by field, along with 10 positions showing steady or increasing compensation, according to the Salary Guides.

2010 Salary Trends: Accounting and Finance
Starting salaries for accounting and finance positions are expected to decrease by an average of 0.4 per cent in 2010. Businesses seek financial professionals who can help manage costs and enhance profitability. Companies also value personnel who possess deep technical expertise, are excellent communicators and collaborate effectively with colleagues across multiple departments.

Positions with the best prospects include:
1. Senior financial analyst: Businesses need professionals who are able to evaluate financial plans, forecasts and budgets, and identify ways to improve profitability. A senior financial analyst at a midsize company ($25 million to $250 million in sales) is anticipated to earn $57,750 to $73,500 in starting salary in 2010.

2. Credit manager/supervisor: Companies need professionals who can contribute to the bottom line by reducing inefficiencies and enhancing profitability. As a result, credit and collections specialists who can evaluate credit risk, manage delinquent payments and help improve cash flow are in demand. Base compensation for credit managers/supervisors working in large companies (over $250 million in sales) is projected to range between $67,000 and $94,250.

3. Senior accountant: Professionals with an accounting designation are sought to handle projects ranging from maintaining the general ledger system to analyzing and preparing financial statements. Individuals who can identify cost-saving opportunities are particularly valuable to their organizations. Senior accountants at large companies are forecast to earn $56,250 to $74,500 in annual base compensation.
4. Accounting clerk: Entry-level job seekers are required to help companies perform basic accounting procedures, including processing accounts receivables to assist in generating cash flow. Many companies who had made deep cuts are looking for individuals to help manage increasing workloads and assist with special projects. Base compensation for accounting clerks is projected to range between $31,750 and $42,500.

2010 Salary Trends: Information Technology
National starting salaries for IT roles are forecast to remain relatively flat with an average decrease of only 0.2 per cent in 2010. Professionals who are most in demand are able to tie IT initiatives to larger business objectives, helping their firms become more efficient and reduce costs. In addition, managers seek candidates with strong communication skills for projects that involve collaborating with peers in other areas of the company.

Positions with the best prospects include:
5. Network engineer: Cloud computing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Software as a Service (SaaS) have significantly increased the complexity of and requirements placed on networks. Further, chief information officers interviewed for the fourth-quarter Robert Half         Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report cited networking as the most in-demand skill set. Network engineers can expect to see starting salaries in the range of $70,750 to $93,000 in the coming year.

6. Business systems analyst: As IT and business processes become increasingly aligned, companies are leveraging the abilities of software/systems to improve efficiencies and reduce expenditures. Business systems analysts are in strong demand by companies to help bridge IT with the business and achieve overall objectives. These professionals can expect to see base salaries increase to the range of $73,500 to $97,750.

7. Systems engineer: As companies implement new technologies, technical services roles remain critical to the organization. Systems engineers are in demand to help companies develop and maintain technical infrastructure, hardware and system software components in support of a variety of IT projects. Base compensation for these professionals is projected to range from $62,500 to $82,500.

2010 Salary Trends: Administrative and Office Support
Starting salaries for administrative professionals are projected to decrease by an average of 2.2 per cent in 2010. However, demand is steady for administrative candidates with broad expertise and the ability to multitask, especially within teams that have been stretched thin and have redistributed work among fewer employees. In addition, firms want support staff who are confident as they approach unexpected situations, quick to learn new skills and able to help others adapt to change.

Positions with the best prospects include:
8. Customer service representative: In the current economy, hiring managers consider customer service the function most critical to their organizations' success, according to the 2009 Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations (EDGE) Report from Robert Half and CareerBuilder. The salary range for a customer service representative is projected to be $28,750 to $37,500.

9. Executive assistant: Companies with leaner teams are looking for employees to take on a wider range of duties. Executive assistants who can wear many hats, support multiple managers and adapt readily to change are in particular demand. Senior executive assistants are likely to see starting salaries in the range of $48,000 to $64,750.

10. Data entry specialist: As companies hire professionals to help manage workflow and assist with special projects, those skilled in high-volume data entry will be in greater demand. Increasingly, these professionals need to work interdepartmentally while juggling multiple priorities. Data entry specialists are forecast to earn between $26,750 and $31,750 in 2010.

Bolt noted that many firms continue to report recruiting challenges despite current labour market conditions. "While many employers themselves have been more selective to avoid costly hiring mistakes, many are faced with competition for high performers and an unwillingness of professionals to leave secure positions. Supplementing full-time employees with skilled temporary professionals allows companies to manage business demands while avoiding over-hiring and the need for possible future layoffs."

The new Robert Half Salary Guides include the 2010 Salary Guide for accounting and finance, produced by Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources; the Robert Half Technology 2010 Salary Guide for technology professionals; and the OfficeTeam 2010 Salary Guide for administrative positions.

The guides are produced annually by Robert Half to offer hiring managers information on prevailing salaries in their geographic areas and insight into the latest employment trends. This year for the first time, the 2010 Salary Guides will be accompanied by online Salary Centres featuring up-to-the-minute information and analysis on the employment environment and Robert Half's new Salary Calculators. The Salary Calculators allow users to quickly access the starting salary range for their specified position and location and can be accessed at, and for the accounting and finance, information technology, and administrative fields, respectively.

To learn more about Robert Half International, visit