The most recent job numbers are in, and there’s no doubt about it: the market is booming. Despite a slight slowdown, there are still more job openings than unemployed workers, with 7.4 million open jobs signaling strong employer demand.
But what else is happening behind the headlines? Today’s market brings new opportunities for different groups of job seekers, such as working moms and new grads, as well as for different areas of the country.
Indeed’s Hiring Lab, a dedicated global team of researchers, helps us make sense of what’s going on out there, delivering insights about the labor market and helping employers and job seekers understand today’s work world. Let’s take a look at some of their recent findings and insights.
New tech hotspots emerging, while existing hubs thrive
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Tech jobs are often associated with a handful of established hubs, such as the San Francisco Bay Area; San Jose, California; and Seattle. But could overall job growth mean that tech opportunities are also expanding geographically?
Digging into Indeed job posting and search data from 2018, as well as survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Indeed Chief Economist Jed Kolko recently found that the tech landscape is more complex than meets the eye. Although in 2018 most jobs remained very concentrated in long-time tech hubs, up-and-coming geographic areas offer many opportunities and may provide an appealing alternative.
It’s no surprise that “traditional” tech hubs still perform well. For example, in the San Jose, California, metro area, a whopping 23% of all jobs posted on Indeed in 2018 were in the tech sector. What’s more, between 2017 and 2018, the metro’s share of national tech jobs grew 10% — more than any other big tech hub. The highest-paying jobs in the tech sector are also clustered in the San Francisco area; so are many upward-trending roles, such as data scientist and cloud engineer.
But we also see smaller markets where tech jobs cluster. These let workers enjoy the perks of tech without dealing with Austin’s traffic or San Francisco’s housing prices. Job seekers might consider smaller metro areas with a higher share of local jobs in tech, such as Ann Arbor, Michigan; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Boulder, Colorado; Provo, Utah; or Huntsville, Alabama, where over 17% of all job postings are now for tech roles.
Competition helps distinguish these different markets. In cities offering greater diversity of both tech employers and positions — such as Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina — jobs tend to be less specialized and are therefore open to a larger range of candidates with different types of training and experience. This means more job seekers compete for the same positions, putting employers in the driver’s seat.
In contrast, job seekers hold more control in smaller markets such as Colorado Springs, Colorado; Huntsville, Alabama; and Baltimore, Maryland, where employers must choose from a smaller number of candidates for positions that are often more specialized.
Job posting data shows that certain cities are better matches than others for workers with specialized tech skills. San Jose is ground zero for artificial intelligence (AI), whereas Baltimore and Raleigh have higher concentrations of job postings for hardware engineers. Job seekers interested in robotics might consider Detroit, a center for autonomous vehicle technologies. Meanwhile, Washington, DC and Baltimore are homes to the highest shares of government tech roles. This geographic diversity is good news for employers. Yes, Silicon Valley is still the leading tech hub, but there are also lots of opportunities for talent in other metropolitan areas — and job seekers are paying attention.
Working moms are avoiding the part-time pay penalty
Did you know that part-time workers tend to earn less per hour for the same jobs than their full-time colleagues do? This phenomenon is known as the “part-time pay penalty.” It’s especially hard on working moms, who tend to need more flexibility. The Hiring Lab’s Martha Gimbel and Nick Bunker recently examined how this impacts working mothers, finding that certain types of positions can help job seekers get around the part-time pay penalty.
Occupations with significantly lower part-time wages include web developers, wholesale and retail buyers, librarians, and marketing and sales managers. In contrast, registered nurses often earn a higher rate working part-time than full-time — 4.8% more! Nurses, diagnostic technicians and special education teachers are among the jobs with the lowest part-time work penalty.
What’s more, these jobs tend to have flexible hours and allow workers to trade shifts when needed. These perks benefit working moms, who make up a larger share of the workforce in some low-penalty occupations.
Recent grads put passion over paycheck
The booming labor market is great for entry-level workers, and with more options available, new grads are able to be choosy. The Hiring Lab’s Nick Bunker recently compared job trends among recent college graduates in 2018 versus 2014, looking at job posts by occupation to see which are receiving the most clicks. He finds that 2018’s grads seem to prioritize interests and passion over higher-paying positions.
Those graduating college today enter the hottest job market in nearly five decades. This means they have more freedom to explore job prospects rather than jumping at the first opportunity — which was out of the picture during the post-recession market a decade ago. In 2018, new grads looking for jobs were more likely to click on posts for arts and social services positions — such as those for graphic designers, family therapists or art teachers — than did so in 2014. At the same time, positions in business and finance were less likely to receive clicks in 2018 than four years earlier.
According to Bunker, the current market is giving grads the freedom to pursue work based on their interests and values, and many are prioritizing personal fulfillment over high-powered pay. This means recruiters in business and finance could have to work harder to fill their slots.
Change is in the air
Today’s worker-friendly climate goes far beyond positive hiring numbers. The changing nature of work is bringing shifts across geographic areas, industries and demographics. Recruiters and companies should consider these trends when looking for new hires or planning moves and expansions. And those who are new job seekers, considering a career change or pondering a move might want to look to some of these fast-growing jobs and cities.
What else does the future hold? To find out more about the latest in labor market trends, visit the Indeed Hiring Lab.