Despite a downturn in hiring, professionals with specialized skills remain in high demand among U.S recruiters, according to Jobfox, a Washington, D.C-based online job board.

In a list of the 25 most wanted workers by employers, software designers and developers ranked first, followed by nurses, accountants and sales representatives, the company reported. Others included administrative assistants, corporate finance workers and system administrators.

For the study, Jobfox randomly selected more than 4,000 job openings from its database, identifying 150 distinct professions from the sample. The top 25 were chosen based on the number of job postings targeting each occupation.

"While hiring activity is reportedly slow in some industry sectors -- construction and manufacturing, for example -- companies continue to go after a host of high-impact professions requiring degrees or specialized skills," Jobfox CEO Rob McGovern said in a statement.

In an earlier Jobfox survey of 100 recruiters, 43 said they expected staff levels at their companies to increase this year, while 21 anticipated a slowdown.