NEW YORK - Hedge funds are at the top of a list of financial career categories with fewer job postings compared to a year ago in the United States.

Hedge funds job openings are down 44 percent from a year earlier, said eFinancialCareers, a unit of Dice Holdings Inc (DHX.N), which focuses on specialty jobs categories like finance and technology. Job postings in information technology and asset management categories are each down 28 percent from a year ago.

By contrast, job seekers in fields like derivatives and fixed income have more opportunities. Derivatives job postings are up 19 percent from a year ago; debt and fixed income postings are up 16 percent, and there are 12 percent more opening in quantitative analytics, according to eFinancialCareers.

The first quarter, when bonuses are awarded, is typically a time when Wall Street professionals go job hunting. A year ago, few did so because of a flood of competition and an uncertain outlook for the sector.

This year, financial institutions have moved beyond government aid, compensation has moved toward pre-crisis levels, and financial firms have begun to speak of investing in their businesses.

Wall Street's job market may not support a rush of movement this quarter, but we expect more professionals will test the waters, John Benson, chief executive of eFinancialCareers, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Dave Zimmerman)