CFOs, IT business analysts, sales managers and geologists are just four of the skills in demand as the job market heats up this year in Malaysia.

According to Hays Malaysia's latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand, the first quarter of the year will see movement in the jobs market. One of the main priorities is to address skills shortages, particularly in accountancy, sales, IT and oil & gas.

"It's still early days for 2014, but we have already noted an increase in candidate applications, which will ultimately lead to more movement in the jobs market," said Chris Mead, regional director of Hays in Malaysia and Singapore.

"In addition to the traditional movement of candidates post-bonus, employers are beginning to implement their 2014 growth plans, which is creating many exciting opportunities for top professionals," he said.

One of the key concerns is addressing the skills shortage. "Skills shortage exists across the board, particularly for more experienced candidates. Candidates with niche experience also continue to be in demand," he said.

Adding to demand is the trend to localise roles, as well as the regional expansion of local firms.

"In the banking sector, most firms are tapping into the growing Islamic banking markets in the Middle East."

He also noted GST implementation and Basel requirements are adding to candidate demand in the accountancy and finance jobs market.

Here are Malaysia's most in-demand skills:

- Financial controllers

- Commercial finance Managers

- CFOs

- Islamic product development managers

- Talent managers

- Compensation and benefits managers

- IT security

- IT business analysts

- Exploration geologists, development geologists, and reservoir and petroleum engineers

- National sales managers

- Digital marketing managers