The newly released 2012 Salary Guides from Robert Half International show U.S. starting salaries will increase an average of 3.4 percent next year.
Technology positions are projected to see the largest gains among all fields researched, with an anticipated 4.5 percent increase in base compensation. Accounting and finance professionals can expect starting salaries to rise an average of 3.5 percent, according to the research.
"Businesses seek professionals who can help them enhance their technology and accounting infrastructures," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "For many firms, the question isn't whether to implement improvements but how quickly they can find the talent to do so."
Following is an overview of hiring trends in the fields covered by the Salary Guides:
Accounting and Finance
The 2012 research forecasts an average starting salary increase of 3.5 percent for accounting and finance positions. Companies are hiring professionals who can identify and support growth opportunities, such as financial analysts and business systems analysts. Tax accountants who can help firms navigate complex corporate tax laws also are in demand.
Overall, base compensation for information technology (IT) professionals is expected to increase 4.5 percent in the coming year. Systems and networking engineers are in particularly strong demand as businesses look to expand their capabilities and transition to cloud computing. Mobile applications developers also are seeing demand for their services, given the proliferation of mobile devices.
Creative and Marketing
Professionals in creative fields can expect average starting salary gains of 3.5 percent in 2012, the research suggests. Those with interactive skills, such as user experience (UX) designers, are especially sought after as firms look to improve their web presence and transition many of their marketing programs online.
In the legal field, starting salaries are anticipated to rise 1.9 percent, on average, in the coming year. Lawyers with four to nine years of experience in high-growth practice areas -- such as litigation, labor and employment, real estate, and corporate law -- are seeing greater demand, the research shows.
Administrative and Office Support
Overall starting salaries for administrative professionals are expected to rise 3.4 percent in 2012. Companies that had streamlined support staff are now adding experienced executive and administrative assistants who can increase efficiencies, support key company projects and provide excellent customer service. Growth in the healthcare industry also is fueling demand for administrative personnel with experience in this sector.
About the 2012 Salary Guides
The newly released Salary Guides include:
-- 2012 Salary Guide from Robert Half for accounting and finance (www.roberthalf.com/salarycenter)
-- Robert Half Technology 2012 Salary Guide (www.rht.com/salarycenter)
-- The Creative Group 2012 Salary Guide (www.creativegroup.com/salarycenter)
-- Robert Half Legal 2012 Salary Guide (www.roberthalflegal.com/salarycenter)
-- OfficeTeam 2012 Salary Guide (www.officeteam.com/salarycenter)
All of the guides can be accessed at http://www.rhi.com/SalaryGuides. Salary calculators that can be used to determine average starting salaries in hundreds of local markets also can be accessed via the links to the Salary Guides above.