Menlo Park firm identifies 11 promising jobs for 2011

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on November 19, 2010

Eager to be in the right place (e.g. occupation) at the right time? Litmus test your skill set against what Menlo Park-based specialized staffing firm Robert Half International identifies as the 11 roles across several fields — including accounting and finance, technology, creative, legal and administrative services — that show increases in starting salaries and growing demand among employers.

“The common thread among the jobs highlighted in our research is that they help businesses improve efficiency and profits, and foster a more positive customer experience,” said Max Messmer (pictured), the company’s chairman and CEO. “The most successful job candidates bring multiple skill sets, a track record of success and a strong sense of accountability to their roles.”

Here’s an overview of 11 top jobs for next year, according to the 2011 Salary Guide just released by the salary firm:

1.    Senior business systems analyst: Among nearly 300 finance and accounting positions listed in the Salary Guide, senior business analysts are expected to see the largest jump in starting salaries. Average base compensation is projected to rise 5% to the range of $66,500 to $85,500. Firms of all sizes look for highly skilled analysts to enhance existing systems and leverage new hardware and software.

2.    Financial analyst:  Starting salaries are predicted to climb 4.8% for financial analysis managers at both large ($81,500 to 109,750) and midsize ($72,750 to $95,000) companies. Hiring managers want staff with expertise in evaluating financial plans, forecasts and budgets.

3.    Staff accountant: Professionals with one to three years of experience joining midsize companies should see a 3.7% starting salary increase, to a range of $42,000 to $55,500. Businesses continue to seek staff members who can perform fundamental duties, such as maintaining the general ledger, compiling financial reports, and overseeing payroll and accounts payable and receivable.

4.    ERP technical developer: Base compensation for these professionals — who tailor enterprise resource planning (ERP) software — is projected to increase 5.2% next year, to a range of $79,250 to $109,500. ERP enables organizations of all sizes and types to improve efficiency and cut costs. Since no two companies are alike, developers are in steady demand to customize software according to specific organizational needs.

5.    Business intelligence analyst: Average starting salaries for business intelligence analysts will rise 5% to between $82,500 and $116,250. Companies need analysts who can guide decision-making processes in a constantly changing business environment, and help reduce costs and better evaluate internal and external clients.

6.    Data modeler: As firms analyze more complex data and create custom applications, they require skilled modelers who can design methods for handling, processing and evaluating material. Data modelers can expect base compensation in the range of $80,750 to $111,250, a gain of 4.5% over 2010 levels.

7.    Mobile applications designer/developer:  A new addition to the The Creative Group 2011 Salary Guide, the mobile applications designer/developer role should command a starting salary of $73,250 to $102,500. Strong demand for these individuals is based on the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers; companies want to develop applications and advertising to target users of these devices.

8.    User experience (UX) designer:  As firms continue to seek greater revenue opportunities through digital initiatives, they require professionals with proven expertise in developing innovative and impactful online experiences for customers. Starting salaries for UX designers will have the largest increase of more than 100 creative roles listed in The Creative Group 2011 Salary Guide. Compensation is expected to rise 7.8% to a range of $67,500 and $98,000.

9.    Lawyer: Attorneys with four to nine years of experience at midsize law firms should see average starting salaries of $106,250 to $163,250, a 4.1% increase over 2010. These firms are recruiting experienced lawyers who can bring a significant book of business to support their development in lucrative practice areas such as litigation, healthcare, bankruptcy and foreclosure law.

10.    Paralegal: Paralegals with four to six years of experience at midsize law firms will see average base compensation ranging between $48,250 and $62,500, a 3.7% increase over 2010 projections. Law firms seek legal support professionals experienced with in-demand specialties who can handle a wide range of administrative tasks.

11.    Senior administrative assistant: Companies that cut support roles during the downturn are adding staff to help make departments more efficient and productive. Senior administrative assistants with advanced technical skills, specific industry expertise and staff supervision experience are in demand, and should see starting salaries grow 3.1%, to a range of $32,500 and $41,750.

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