There were around 8.8 million job openings in the US in February.Insights shared with BI from job sites show which occupations need workers.Indeed data shows roles for sign language interpreters can be hard to fill.

It’s a weird job market right now, one that’s characterized by — simultaneously — layoffs sweeping across knowledge industries, and other sectors still desperately scrambling to staff up.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the rate of hires is just a little down from where it was a year ago — 3.7% this past February compared to 3.9% in February 2023. Openings for jobs have dropped from a rate of 6.0% in February 2023 to a rate of 5.3% this past February.

Tuesday’s news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said February job openings “changed little at 8.8 million” since January. The news release also pointed out “the number and rate of hires were little changed,” in addition to other areas that didn’t see big changes.

For some white-collar workers, especially those in tech, it might look like a bleak job-hunting landscape.

However, plenty of jobs are in demand, from accountants to civil engineers. Amid a skilled trade shortage, there’s a plumber deficiency according to Bloomberg — one shortage among others that are still festering.

“Job postings and job openings have pulled back from their highs over two years ago, but demand for new workers is still strong in several sectors,” Nick Bunker, economic research director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab, told Business Insider in a March statement.

Business Insider reached out to career sites to see what demand is looking like. Job-search and networking site Handshake, a platform largely for college students and recent college graduates, said its roles with the most job postings were powered by employers in government, law and politics, retail stores, energy, and education. Across industries, here are the roles with a multitude of openings, or an urgent need to hire.

Construction workers

The construction industry needs a whole lot of workers to help with the housing crisis and other construction projects, and it has the job openings to match. A January 2024 analysis from the Associated Builders and Contractors found that the industry needs 501,000 more workers this year to keep up with labor demand. An Associated Builders and Contractors news release stated that figure is “on top of the normal pace of hiring.”

Tuesday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows the industry had 441,000 open roles in February, an increase from 425,000 in January.

ABC’s chief economist, Anirban Basu, said in a press release that after winter’s cooler temperatures, contractors anticipate staffing up even more: “Demand for workers should remain strong through at least the first half of the year.”

Per BLS’s Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, the median hourly wage was $23.72 for construction trades workers, and the median annual wage for these workers was $49,330. That’s slightly above the $46,310 for all occupations.

Healthcare

“Jobs related to health care and care work more generally are particularly in high demand,” Bunker told BI in a statement. “Job postings for Physicians & Surgeons are almost double their pre-pandemic level, while Therapy job postings are up 81%,” Bunker said about Indeed’s Job Postings Index as of mid-March. Therapy-sector jobs could include occupational or physical therapists, for instance.

The need for these workers isn’t going to decline any time soon. The shortage of physicians through 2036 is projected to be around 140,000 per the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis.

“Since it can take over a decade of education and residency to prepare a physician, the United States should take steps now to address future physician shortages,” a webpage from the Health Resources and Services Administration agency stated.

Costs for this needed education can also add up. An Association of American Medical Colleges report finds the median tuition for first-year students at private institutions for the 2023-2024 academic year who are residents was $64,000. The median was $65,059 for nonresidents.

But it’s not just physicians that could see a shortage and need more workers. NCHWA projections show registered nurses, dispensing opticians, and pharmacists are other types of healthcare workers that could see shortages through the next several years. Registered nurses have a relatively high median annual wage, at $81,220.

LinkedIn data also shows the need for healthcare professionals. LinkedIn pointed BI to its most in-demand jobs on the platform. Care specialist was the position with the fastest-growing demand, based on “Roles with the greatest quarter-over-quarter increase in share of paid job posts” between the third and fourth quarter of 2023. However, it was just one of six healthcare-related jobs part of the top 10. Sonographer and home health licensed practical nurse are two other healthcare roles that made the top 10, for instance.

Sign language interpreter

Sign language interpreters are in demand. Indeed data compiled for BI finds that just over 60% of sign language interpreter roles are hard to fill, meaning they’ve been on Indeed for 60 or more days. According to BLS, interpreters and translators make a median hourly wage of $25.79, and a median annual wage of $53,640.

The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes has said that there is a nationwide shortage of ASL interpreters, even as “the need for interpreters who have specialized skill and knowledge has increased over the years as more and more deaf students pursue medical and technical fields.”

Teachers

Elementary school teachers, high school teachers, and special education teachers were among the jobs with the most postings on Handshake over the last year.

It might be a challenge to fill teacher demand as other occupations pay better for young people. ADP’s chief economist Nela Richardson previously told BI that “wages might discourage” young people “when they could make relatively more or see their salaries increase faster in other industries.”

The median pay for “Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education” was $61,690 in 2022, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is above the national median for all jobs, which was $46,310. BLS noted the median pay for “Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education” was $62,360, similar to those teaching elementary-school students.

Accountants and auditors

According to Handshake, accountants and auditors were two of the roles that had the most job postings on the platform over the past year.

That’s not a surprise, considering the accountant labor shortage quietly sweeping the country and potentially leading to accounting errors across firms, as Bloomberg reports.

“Accountants and auditors are to business as those people in the black-and-white-striped shirts are to sports. We’re the referees of business,” Steven Kachelmeier, the chair of the accounting department at the University of Texas, previously told Business Insider’s Erica Sweeney. “Without accounting and without finance, there are no rules to the game.”

The American Institute of CPAs found that, in the 2021-22 academic year, the number of students earning accounting degrees fell by 7.8%, potentially further exacerbating labor shortages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wages for accountants and auditors is $37.50 — or $78,000 annually. This type of work is expected to add 67,400 jobs from 2022 to 2032.

“We’re still on a downward trajectory for accounting graduates, although it’s worthwhile to note U.S. university enrollment and earned degrees collectively shrank during this period,” Jan Taylor, the AICPA’s academic in residence, said in a press release. “The AICPA remains focused on advocating profession-wide solutions to the talent shortage, and we saw increased mobilization and coordination in these efforts over the past year.”

The accountant shortage is already making its mark this earnings season: The lack of accountants is currently delaying some companies — including Tupperware — from releasing their annual reports.

Software developers and engineers

Handshake found that software developers and engineers were also among the jobs with the most postings over the past year. These workers typically get paid well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for software developers was $127,260. There’s already a lot of software developers in the US workforce — 1,594,500 in 2022 — and that’s expected to rise by 26% from 2022 to 2032 per BLS.

Other types of tech workers may be in need of new applicants. Artificial intelligence engineer ranked No. 10 on LinkedIn’s jobs on the rise ranking. Data from Indeed also showed that nearly 70% of Android developer roles were challenging to fill. Also, 52% of Python developer roles are hard to fill, per Indeed.

Civil engineers

Civil engineers were one of the roles with the most job postings on Handshake, according to the platform. And the lack of civil engineers is being felt acutely.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineering, firms are trying to lure in new engineers with higher pay, more time off, and the ability to work remotely. Some were even scouring social media to try and find potential new recruits. ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) Research Institute found that, in the first quarter of 2024, just over half of firms have had to keep turning down work because of workforce shortages.

According to a Boston Consulting Group publication in partnership with SAE International, the US will need 400,000 new engineers annually, and per their analysis of BLS data, find that from 2023 to 2031 demand for engineering skills will go up by 13%.

“Much of the engineering gap expected in the US over the next ten years will involve unfilled positions in software, industrial, civil, and electrical engineering, amounting to a staggering 186,000 job vacancies across the US by 2031,” the publication stated.

The median pay for civil engineers is $43.24 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $89,940 annually.

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