The hiring expectations of employers have dropped for the first time in nine quarters, although the job market remains buoyant, a global human resources consultancy survey has found. Hudson Global Resources said 61 per cent of 600 executives interviewed in the poll planned to hire more staff in the third quarter of this year, compared with 69 per cent in the previous quarter. 'This is the first quarter in which expectations have fallen since the second quarter of 2009, when the city was hit by the financial crisis. But then a levelling-off was anticipated after a long period of strong growth.' said James Carss, executive general manager at Hudson. The survey covered key business sectors including the legal, consumer, banking and finance, and media sectors. Despite the drop, Carss said hiring expectations remained at a healthy level that was still close to the figures seen between the start of 2006 and mid-2008, when the economy was generally regarded as very good. Asked if the dip in expectations hinted at less hiring in the future, Carss said: 'I am not an economist and I cannot predict that.' Carss said it should be understood that the latest figures might be a result of seasonal factors, as hiring expectations usually peaked around the second quarter of the year and slowed down during the third quarter, when many executives took summer holidays. 'And we should look at the fact that there were many hirings over the past few months, so employers may take a more conservative approach in the third quarter,' he said. Carss said the job market was still vibrant, with the potential for pay rises, as many companies were still looking for suitable candidates. 'Salaries are still going up. Many people have two to three offers in hand if they want to change jobs, and their own company may pay more to keep talent,' he said. The information technology sector reported the steepest fall in hiring expectations, with 52 per cent expecting to hire more staff this quarter compared with 79 per cent in the second quarter. Law firms have the highest hiring expectations, with 90 per cent of respondents expecting to increase headcount, compared with 80 per cent in the previous quarter. Carss said leading US law firms were actively recruiting and offering substantial pay increases to attract talented candidates. 'Lawyers with experience in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions are in great demand for private practice roles, while many companies are hiring paralegals and legal assistants for in-house project work,' Carss said. 'Chinese language skills are now a non-negotiable requirement for most positions.' The recruitment firm also offered tips for people trying to land a managerial job. It found 60 per cent of respondents valued the ability of a recruit to fit into a company's culture as the most sought-after attribute. The next most significant elements were flexibility, and people and team management skills, which 37 per cent regarded as vital.