Everyone wants a career that will give them stability and prosperity, but identifying the job that can provide these is easier said than done. The workforce is constantly changing, which makes it hard to pin down the positions that will still be around—and well-compensated—30 years down the line. Fortunately, you can use career trends to help predict what the future holds or give a general idea of what to expect.
Investing time in your professional development should be done with the same amount of care as investing your personal savings. Identifying where money is flowing will enable you to focus your efforts in the areas most likely to realize your financial goals. Jump directly to the infographic for actionable job search advice.
What Are Career Trends?
Career trends represent the changes in job markets regarding certain skills. These changes can create new career opportunities or make certain markets dry up altogether. For instance, the modern shift toward renewable energy has led to a boom in solar panel and wind turbine employment projections. Tracking current job trends and anticipating what the future holds can keep your professional and financial growth on track.
The Most (and Least) Sought-After Employment Markets
Industries are defined as much by their location as they are by their specialties. Both factors heavily influence an industry’s present and future demand. Understanding which employment markets are growing and their trajectory is important for both students planning their studies and for current professionals planning their careers.
1. E-commerce hiring grew by 73 percent between April and October 2020. (LinkedIn)
2. Only 57 percent of software engineers report being highly satisfied with their jobs despite making six-figure salaries. (Payscale)
3. Loan and mortgage positions grew by 59 percent between 2019 and 2020. (LinkedIn)
4. 65 percent of social workers report high satisfaction with their jobs while having a median salary of 33,700 dollars. (Payscale)
5. 83 percent of surgeons report high satisfaction with their jobs. (Payscale)
6. Healthcare support staff openings increased by 34 percent since 2019. (LinkedIn)
7. Wind turbine service technicians lead the fastest growing job projections through 2030, followed by nurse practitioners, and then solar photovoltaic installers . (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
Employee Relocation Trends
Following the population changes in different cities and states can be a strong indicator of industry growth or stagnation. If you are looking to relocate, take into account the locations seeing the greatest population increases. This can reveal where the greatest employment opportunities are, as well as the best property investments.
8. 14 of the 15 fastest growing cities in the U.S. were located in the South and West regions. (Census Bureau)
9. Austin, TX gained 217 tech workers for every 10,000 already residing there between May 2020 and April 2021. (LinkedIn)
10. While California is still the most populous state, its growth slowed to 6.1 percent between 2010 and 2020. (Census Bureau)
11. The population of Florida increased by 14.6 percent between 2010 and 2020. (Census Bureau)
12. The population of Texas increased by 15.9 percent between 2010 and 2020. (Census Bureau)
Resignations are New Job Trends
The pandemic threw a wrench into the plans of nearly every business in the world. Staff shortages left employers scrambling to retain workers and attract new talent. This made power dynamics shift between employers and employees seemingly overnight, with potential employees gaining the upper hand.
Employees started quitting with such frequency that the trend became known as “The Great Resignation.” Employers now have the pressure of increasing wages and restructuring company culture to recruit and retain top talent.
13. 25 percent of Millennials think it is ok to leave a position within 12 months of being hired. (Manpower Group)
14. 88 percent of tech executives report higher-than-normal turnover rates. (PwC)
15. Voluntary resignations make up 60 to 70 percent of all employee turnover. (ADP)
16. The U.S. has a 5 percent average monthly employee turnover rate. (ADP)
17. 55 percent of professionals believe high employee turnover will continue in 2022. (Korn Ferry)
18. 86 percent of workers feel they are not heard fairly or equally. (UKG)
19. In 2021, 52 percent of U.S. workers considered changing jobs. (Fast Company)
20. Companies who make employees feel heard are 88 percent more likely to perform well financially. (UKG)
21. Almost 30 percent of job applicants report having quit a job within 90 days of beginning. 43 percent report the role did not match their expectations. (Jobvite)
22. 18 percent of hourly workers quit due to a lack of flexibility with their positions. (My Work Choice)
23. 14 percent of Americans were bullied at work. More than half never reported it. (Jobvite)
24. 34 percent of workers would change teams or resign rather than address concerns with their bosses. (UKG)
25. 44 percent of workers had plans in place to leave their jobs. (Fast Company)
26. 22 percent of applicants have rejected job offers due to negative reviews by employees. (Jobvite)
The Future is Freelance
An increasing number of workers are shying away from traditional forms of employment in favor of the opportunity to work for themselves. Aided by the digital marketplace, freelancers are no longer reliant on personal connections to get job contracts. They can post their portfolios online, browse freelance jobs on online boards, or pick up a part-time job in the ever-growing gig economy.
Employers find this trend to be mutually beneficial, as they do not have the burden of paying the salary and benefits of a permanent hire when the workload does not justify one.
27. 75 percent of freelancers who quit a full-time position earn the same income or more. (Upwork)
28. 46 percent of freelancers claim to not be able to have traditional jobs due to personal circumstances and responsibilities. (Forbes)
29. 71 percent of decision-makers want to continue or increase freelance contracts. (Upwork)
30. The average freelancer is 40 years old, 2 years younger than the average traditional worker. (Forbes)
31. 25.7 million non-tech jobs could potentially be converted to freelance opportunities. (Upwork)
32. Skilled services make up the single largest group of freelancers, at 45 percent. (Forbes)
33. 40 percent of freelancers are female. 6 percent less than in the overall workforce. (Statista)
34. 64 percent of workers desire side jobs to supplement their income. (Deloitte)
35. 22 percent of side hustles are considered a passion project by the performer. (Jobvite)
36. 1 in 6 traditional workers want to be independent. (McKinsey)
37. 31 percent of job seekers have a side hustle (Jobvite)
38. 51 percent of freelancers claim no amount of money could make them take a traditional job. (Forbes)
39 59 percent of side hustles are out of a need for the money. (Jobvite)
Recruitment and Hiring Trends
As job trends change, so do demands. In this seller’s market for labor, potential employees are able to place greater demands on compensation, benefits, and corporate responsibility.
40. Open positions take an average of 42 days to fill. Top candidates are only on the market for 10 days. (Zippia)
41. 75 percent of job seekers research a company’s reputation before applying. (LinkedIn)
42. Only 7 percent of applications come through referrals. (GoRemotely)
43. 67 percent of job seekers consider compensation to be the deciding factor in accepting an offer. (Zippia)
44. 82 percent of employers value employee referrals above all other sources. (GoRemotely)
45. 70 percent of job seekers want recruiters to disclose the salary range in their first contact. (Zippia)
46. 70 percent of employers feel referral candidates fit their culture better than non-referred candidates. (GoRemotely)
47. Companies choose the wrong applicant for a position 82 percent of the time. (Gallup)
COVID-19’s Impact on Recruitment
COVID-19 turned the employment market on its head. Both employers and employees alike now have new expectations for what they want out of one another. Workplace safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds and is impacting recruitment.
48. 29 percent of employees say they are required to be vaccinated. (Gallup)
49. 30 percent of executives in non-health-related industries support vaccine mandates. (PwC)
50. 60 percent of Americans are in favor of vaccine requirements for federal workers. (Gallup)
51. 43 percent of executives in the healthcare industry support vaccine mandates. (PwC)
52. 58 percent of Americans want companies with 100 or more employees to have either vaccination requirements or weekly testing. (Gallup)
Employment Projections for Essential Skills
Perhaps the single greatest impact on employee-employer relations is the current shortage in skilled labor. This is being experienced across multiple markets and employers need to make compromises for their employees in order to keep the top talent in their ranks. There is expected to be a greater emphasis on upskilling employees in the future.
53. 29 percent of Americans aged 25–44 changed career fields after their first post-college job. (edX)
54. 83 percent of superintendents have difficulty hiring qualified teachers. (Interview Streams)
55. 89 percent of manufacturers have unfilled positions due to a lack of qualified applicants. (Deloitte)
56. Half of U.S. workers aged 25–44 believe they are blocked from career advancement due to educational criteria. (edX)
57. 45 percent of professionals cite lack of qualified skills as the main obstacle in filling open positions. (Korn Ferry)
58. 40 percent of employees are expected to require reskilling by 2025. (PwC)
59. 15 percent of college graduates aged 25–44 do not make use of their major at work. (edX)
60. The soft skills training market is expected to double in value by 2026, to an estimated $43 billion. (IMARC Group)
61. Soft skills training has been found to increase productivity by 12 percent. (University of Michigan)
62. 90 percent of mid to high-wage jobs require digital skills. (Brookings Institute)
Automation’s Impact on Job Outlooks
As automated technology improves, it becomes more affordable for companies to implement in the workforce. For certain industries, automation can be more practical than human workers. In other industries, automation is being used to make human workers more efficient.
63. 80 percent of workers believe their positions will still exist in 50 years. (Pew Research Center)
64. 52 percent of companies have sped up their AI plans due to COVID-19. (PwC)
65. 17 percent of workers whose jobs involve manual labor are concerned about automation. (Pew Research Center)
66. The costs of robots decreased by more than 50 percent, while labor costs increased by more than 100 percent between 1990 and 2015. (Visual Capitalist)
67. 76 percent of companies barely break even on current AI investments. (PwC)
68. 65 percent of Americans believe robots and computers will perform much of the work currently done by people within 50 years. (Pew Research Center)
69. Approximately 85 percent of customer service interactions are automated. (Gartner)
70. 33 percent of companies have implemented AI in limited capacities. (PwC)
71. Hyperautomation investments are projected to reach $596.6 billion in 2022. An increase of more than $100 billion over the last two years. (Gartner)
Remote Career Trends
The rise of COVID-19 also brought the rise of remote work and permanently shifted workplace culture. Out of necessity, many companies gave their employees the opportunity to work from home either part-time or full, with some companies closing their physical offices permanently. While remote work grants greater flexibility to businesses, it can bring new complications.
72. 79 percent of millennials want a flexible work schedule. (Manpower Group)
73. 75 percent of employees are willing to forfeit one work benefit in exchange for a flexible work environment. This benefit can include healthcare, bonuses, or PTO. (WeWork)
74. 54 percent of employees would consider quitting their job if they are not given flexibility in where and when they work. (Ernst & Young)
75. 28 percent of executives and employees are making permanent changes to where they get work done. (PwC)
76. 31 percent of workers around the world are expected to be hybrid or fully remote in 2022. (Gartner)
77. A projected 40.7 million Americans will be remote within 5 years. (Upwork)
78. 64 percent of employees are willing to pay for office space themselves. 80 percent of high-income earners are willing to pay, while only 49 percent of low-income earners are willing to pay.(WeWork)
79. 36 percent of executives say the biggest challenge of hybrid work environments is the loss of corporate culture. (PwC)
80. 30 percent of employees worked remote before COVID-19. An estimated 48 percent will continue to work remote in some capacity after COVID-19. (Gartner)
The Importance of Technology in Employment Markets
Technology will always be a driver of change in the workforce. While past generations were more resistant to this sort of change, current generations are shown to be more accepting. Many employees actively look to implement new tech in their positions and expect their employers to accommodate them.
81. 85 percent of workers want technology to advise their career path. This includes identifying areas of development and recommending next steps. (Oracle)
82. 81 percent of talent professionals will continue virtual interviews after COVID-19. (LinkedIn)
83. 55 percent of workers are more likely to stay with a company that uses advanced technologies that support career growth. (Oracle)
84. By 2030, tech advancement in all sectors is projected to slow due to a lack of workers. (Korn Ferry)
85. 16 percent of employers use tech more frequently to monitor workers. This includes virtual clock in/out systems, computer activity, emails, and communication. (Gartner)
How Social Media Impacts Future Job Outlooks
The line between personal and professional social media use is increasingly being blurred. Employers and employees alike are using it to find new opportunities and screen potential partnerships. It’s clear that a clean social media presence should remain a priority for professionals going forward.
86. 21 percent of hiring managers likely will not consider an applicant who has no social media presence. (Express Pros)
87. Publicly (88 percent) and privately (89 percent) owned companies are more likely to recruit through social media than government organizations. (SHRM)
88. 67 percent of employers research job candidates through social media. (Express Pros)
89. 84 percent of companies recruit via social media. (SHRM)
90. 54 percent of employers did not hire a candidate due to something on their social media. (CareerBuilder)
91. 51 percent of college graduates use LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center)
92. LinkedIn generates three times more visitor-to-lead conversions than their competitors. (HubSpot)
93. A profile picture on your LinkedIn page increases the chances of a profile being viewed by 14 times. (LinkedIn)
94. LinkedIn is responsible for nearly 46 percent of a company website’s social media traffic. (Statusbrew)
95. Sales teams that use social selling are 15 percent more likely to hit quotas than teams that don’t. (Aberdeen Group)
Employment Trends in Healthcare
While the healthcare workforce did not see the massive layoffs that others did due to COVID-19, they were greatly impacted in other ways. Long work hours and unsatisfactory conditions have led to current labor shortages. And, in an industry that was already predicted to have shortages in the future, employers are being forced to address grievances in order to avoid potential disasters.
96. 18 percent of healthcare workers have quit their jobs since February 2020. (Morning Consult)
97. Full-time nurses are increasingly becoming traveling nurses for pay raises exceeding $5,000 a week. (Marketplace)
98. By 2030, there will be an estimated shortage of between 8,700 and 43,100 primary care physicians. (AAMC)
99. 80 percent of healthcare workers have been affected by staff shortages. (Morning Consult)
100. Between February 2020 and September 2021 hospital employment fell by nearly 94,000 jobs. (Altarum)
101. 64 percent of doctors think the internet of things could ease demands placed on healthcare workers. (Policy Advice)
102. By 2030, 2 out of 5 active physicians will be 65 or older. (AAMC)
103. 19 percent of healthcare workers disapprove of how their employers communicate, offer low compensation, or provide PPE. (Morning Consult)
104. By 2030, healthcare specialists will have an estimated shortage between 33,500 and 61,800. (AAMC)
Although no one can say for certain what the future will bring, analyzing current career trends can help you position yourself for success in your job hunt. And if your career growth will require going back to school, then start budgeting now for the future expenses. Proper planning can help make unexpected complications much easier to manage.