12 Industries That Desperately Need Workers

The low unemployment rate in the U.S. bodes well for workers, but several industries continue to experience an inability to attract the right talent -- and have gaping openings for positions they need to fill.

Unemployment rates in the U.S. declined steadily during the past year, as the economy proved to be resilient and employees saw their wages increase slightly. The unemployment rate in May was 4.3%, and nonfarm payroll employment rose by 138,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The positions which are most in demand include those with specialized skills, such as data scientists. The health care industry is also seeking thousands of workers as the Baby Boomer population ages.

The following 12 jobs are ones that many employers are seeking to fill as growth in these industries is estimated to increase rapidly, according to consulting firms, trade groups and CareerCast, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based job website, which based its data from projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and others.

The technology industry is facing one of its largest challenges as it struggles to find enough data scientists to fill a growing demand. As big data becomes more commonplace and the adoption rate increases, the dilemma companies encounter will only increase as industries across the board are all rushing to hire workers who have the right experience to fill data scientist positions. While the number of degrees in the big data field has risen by 7.5% between 2010 and 2015, the demand is much larger and estimated to be increasing by up to 12% annually, the McKinsey Global Institute report stated.

The shortage of qualified people to fill various employment positions has been occurring for awhile. One aspect that stands out is that these open positions "tend to be spread across multiple industries and don't necessarily have a lot in common with each other," said David Twibell, president of Custom Portfolio Group, an Englewood, Colo.-based financial planning firm.

The need for medical personnel and software engineers are prime examples of how the economy and demographics have both changed. A continued scarcity of qualified people in these industries could push wages higher in order to attract additional workers, he said.

"While we have seen a slight bump in wages across the board in the economy recently and particularly in some of these in-demand areas, more increases are likely on the way if we see material improvement in the economy," Twibell said. "If this happens, it may put upward pressure on inflation in general, which could lead the Fed to be more aggressive in hiking rates over the coming months."

Jobs are plentiful in industries where individuals still need immediate help or direct feedback.

"Consumers still need human interaction and 'hand-holding' when it comes to critical health and wealth matters which a robot or algorithm simply cannot provide," said Jon Ulin, a managing principal of Ulin & Co. Wealth Management in Boca Raton, Fla.

Editors' pick: Originally published June 8.

1. Data Scientist
1. Data Scientist

The gap is only widening as the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that the shortage in the U.S. could increase to 250,000 data scientists by 2024. The projected growth is 15.75%.

2. Financial Advisor
2. Financial Advisor

The BLS projects growth of 30% by 2024.

3. General & Operations Manager
3. General & Operations Manager

The projected growth is 7%.

4. Home Health Aide
4. Home Health Aide

The projected growth is 38%.

5. Information Security Analyst
5. Information Security Analyst

The projected growth is 18%.

6. Medical Services Manager
6. Medical Services Manager

The projected growth is 17%.

7. Physical Therapist
7. Physical Therapist

The projected growth is 34.56%.

8. Registered Nurse
8. Registered Nurse

The projected growth is 16%.

9. Software Engineer
9. Software Engineer

The projected growth is 17%.

10. Truck Driver
10. Truck Driver

The projected growth is 5%.

11. Phlebotomists
11. Phlebotomists

The projected growth is 25%. There are 28,100 skilled professionals needed by 2024, according to the American Staffing Association, an Alexandria, Virg.-based group. 

12. Operations Research Analyst
12. Operations Research Analyst

The projected growth is 30%.

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