By Sarah E. Needleman,


If you’re seeking a job change this year, you may find brighter prospects if your search is focused in the health care, technology, or corporate finance and accounting fields.

These areas are expected to see the largest increases in job opportunities for executives, managers and professionals this year compared with 2006, recruiters say.

The hiring outlook isn’t rosy across the board. For example, demand for senior talent is on the decline in the automotive and residential real-estate sectors, they say.

To boost your chances of success, focus your search on areas that recruiters are hungry to fill. Here’s a look at where hiring is projected to grow most in 2007 and what employers are seeking in top talent.

Health Care

Recruiting for nonclinical talent in this niche is anticipated to be most active at large pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life-science companies, says Mark Reisner, a managing director in Spring House, Pa., for the Merwin Group, a member of executive-search franchise company MRINetwork. Also hiring aggressively are specialized health-care units of hospitals, such as rehabilitation departments, and start-up companies that develop health-care products, he notes.

Most needed are professionals skilled in regulatory affairs and specialized health care, says Mr. Reisner. Employers are seeking to tap senior talent from competitors and related businesses rather than from outside the industry, he notes.

San Diego-based NuVasive Inc. plans to expand its 250-person work force by up to 35% in 2007, about a 10% increase in hiring over last year, says Alexis Lukianov, chairman and chief executive officer of the developer and marketer of spine-disorder treatments. Openings will be mostly in middle management, in areas such as sales, engineering, quality assurance, regulatory affairs and technology, he adds. “Several mid- and senior-level manager positions are probably going to have to come from outside San Diego,” says Mr. Lukianov. “The market is really competitive.”

Hospital hiring is strong at employers of all sizes, says J. Larry Tyler, president of Tyler & Co., a recruiter in Atlanta. He estimates his firm will conduct about 100 searches for senior health executives and managers in 2007, up from 85 in 2006, he says.


Hiring activity in this sector is busiest in Web development, project management, and data warehousing and analysis, says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director at Robert Half Technology, a division of staffing firm Robert Half International Inc. based in Menlo Park, Calif. Most wanted are candidates with strong communication skills, a minimum of three years’ experience in a technology environment, and proficiency in programming languages such as XML and Java, she says.

Average annual starting pay for professionals in the hottest technology areas is expected to increase by 4% or more in 2007, according a compensation report from Robert Half Technology. For example, starting salaries for data warehouse managers are projected to grow 5.1% and range from $85,500 to $113,500, the study shows.

ELM Resources, a not-for-profit loan provider, plans to add about 35 new technology positions ranging from entry- to senior-level in 2007, says Pierre Vedel, senior vice president and chief information officer of the Oakland, Calif., company. Last year two jobs were created in this area, he adds. About half of the new posts will be in software development, with the rest in database administration, network infrastructure, Web development and systems management, he says. Recruiting top talent will be tough, says Mr. Vedel. “It’s not to the point of giving out cars again, but it’s really competitive,” he says, referring to a dot-com era recruiting tactic that his company has not used.

Corporate Finance and Accounting

Employers with the greatest hiring needs in this field include large and midsize publicly traded companies in oil and gas, technology and manufacturing, says Mike Eastman, president and chief executive officer of Eastman Consulting Group, a Houston-based recruiter. Demand is also healthy at certified public accounting firms of all sizes, he notes.

Employers are seeking candidates from the same industry or companies that have similar characteristics, such as multiple locations or cash-flow problems, says Mr. Eastman. Most sought after are senior professionals in planning and analysis and internal controls, he adds.

Stock-options scandals and regulatory-compliance requirements have kept demand strong in this sector in recent years, says Mr. Eastman. He expects his firm to conduct about 125 searches for senior finance and accounting positions, the same as in 2006, he adds.

Ernst & Young LLP plans to add about 10,000 new jobs in 2007, about the same as in 2006, says Karen Glover, Americas director, recruiting and lifelong relationships for the New York-based Big Four accounting firm. About 40% of the new hires will be mid- and senior-level professionals mainly in tax and transaction- and accounting-advisory services, she adds.

RSM McGladrey Inc., a consulting, accounting and tax services provider with 7,500 employees, plans to add around 1,800 new positions in 2007, says Ken Bansemer, director of recruiting for the Bloomington, Minn., company. More than half will require mid- and senior-level candidates skilled mainly in audit, tax and consulting, he adds. “A year ago I had about a dozen in-house recruiters,” he says. “Today I have nearly 50.”

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— January 22, 2007

— Ms. Needleman is associate editor at


This article is reprinted with permission from Career Journal, the executive career site of theWall Street Journal. is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.