Nine percent of executives in the finance, insurance and real estate sector plan to hire full-time staff members in the next quarter, a new survey by Robert Half International found. Overall, 10% are planning on hiring, and only 6% are planning layoffs.

The legal field is expecting the strongest hiring activity, followed by business development and IT.

The survey also found that 82% of executives are confident about their companies' growth prospects in the second quarter, and 37% said that despite the recession, it is a challenge to find skilled professionals.

"Many firms, especially those that cut staff too aggressively during the worst of the recession, may need to add personnel at the first sign of a pickup in business," said Max Messmer, chairman and chief executive officer of Robert Half.

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