Employment prospects for this year are positive, particularly for the hi-tech market, a survey released Sunday predicts, building on trends of 2006, which saw the number of job seekers registered with the Israel Employment Services demonstrate significant declines. A survey of salary trends in the hi-tech sector by venture capital fund Pitango showed that among its 60 portfolio companies, the demand for hi-tech workers is expected to increase in 2007. "After a number of weak years in the market where there was a low percentage of newly qualified engineers and developers, the demand for these professionals has increased," the company said adding that because of the high demand, salaries in the sector also would rise. The survey showed that research and development engineers who had changed jobs in 2006 improved their salaries by some 15%. The biggest demand last year was for quality assurance engineers whose salaries rose between 10% and 17% compared to 2005, Pitango said. Meanwhile, the improving trend in the job market extended beyond the hi-tech sector during the year as the IES reported Sunday that some 206,300 people sought employment through its network in December 2006, compared to 226,500 a year earlier. The IES said it registered 0.8% fewer people in December than November as the number of job seekers with degrees dropped 0.5% from month-to-month and the number of new registrations stayed the same at 17,900. The monthly survey showed that 57% of the newly registered had been retrenched from previous employment, while 14.8% were participants in welfare programs and 14.7% of new job seekers had recently completed their military service.