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The Most In-Demand Jobs (And What They Pay)

Forbes logo Forbes 08-02-2016 Karsten Strauss, Forbes Staff

This week we checked out the most in-demand jobs in seven major U.S. industries, as well as what employers are looking for in employees. (image credit: Pixabay.com)© This week we checked out the most in-demand jobs in seven major U.S. industries, as well as what emp... This week we checked out the most in-demand jobs in seven major U.S. industries, as well as what employers are looking for in employees. (image credit: Pixabay.com)

This past week, HR and staffing firm, Randstad US, completed its annual report on the hottest jobs, using data compiled by its recruiting team and the Economic Research Institute. The report highlights the most in-demand positions in each of seven industries. They also reported what those positions generally pay.

Randstad has some experience in this arena; it’s part of Randstad Holdings, a Dutch firm based in Amsterdam that places over 500,000 people into new jobs every year. We decided to take a peek at their findings to get a sense of what employers in these fields are looking for, as well as what’s important to employers and employees looking forward (see below).

Here’s what they discovered:

Engineering

Most In-Demand: Manufacturing Engineer (pays $79,814 annually for 3 to 10 years of experience)

2nd: Mechanical Engineer (pays $84,714 annually for 3 to 10 years of experience)

3rd: Electrical Engineer (pays $90,295 annually for 3 to 10 years of experience)

“Engineers will be highly sought after this year, especially within organizations that have not typically required engineers in the past,” said Richard Zambaccam president of Randstad engineering. “The healthcare and entertainment industries are just two examples of sectors that will look to hire more engineers in 2016 to support new and innovative technologies.”

Finance & Accounting

Most In-Demand:  Senior Accountant (pays $61,000 to $85,000 annually)

2nd: Cost Accountant (pays $51,000 to $74,000 annually; management positions can expect $85,000 to $135,000)

3rd: Finance Manager (pays $82,000 to $130,000 per year.

Human Resources

Most In-Demand:Human Resources Generalist (pays $45,000 to $67,000 annually)

2nd: Learning & Development Manager (pays $65,000 to $90,000 annually)

3rd: Human Resources Business Partner (pays $85,000 to $120,000 annually)

“While HR professionals with a broad base of knowledge are still in very high demand, we do anticipate that organizations will gravitate this year toward candidates with more specific skill sets to cope with an increasingly complex workforce environment,” says Kathryn Bold, group president of Randstad Professionals. “HR specialists must bring deeper expertise to the executive team around critical matters such as talent acquisition and retention, succession and compensation planning as well as workforce engagement—all while contributing to more informed business decisions.”

Information Technology

Most In-Demand: Project Manager (pays $73,000 to $121,000 annually, with an average of $98,000)

2nd: Software Engineers (pays $72,000 to $109,000, with an average of $90,000)

3rd: Network and Security Engineer (pays $52,000 to $137,000 annually, with an average of $93,000)

“More and more candidates working within STEM fields, specifically IT, will be highly sought after as more complex issues related to cyber risk and business compliance continue to arise,” says Bob Dickey of Randstad’s technology and engineering group. “More broadly, companies will also seek experienced IT professionals who possess soft skills, like strong writing and communication abilities.”

Manufacturing & Logistics

Most In-Demand: Machine Operator (pays $19.08 per hour, 6 years experience)

2nd: Forklift Operators (pays $16.22 per hour, 6 years experience).

3rd: Warehouse Laborers (pays $14.13 per hour, five years of experience)

“As the economy continues to improve and consumer spending responds positively, manufacturers will look to expand their business, which necessitates a consistent pipeline of skilled talent,” says Randstad’s Traci L. Fiatte. “However, many manufacturing talent will quickly accept new employment offers to advance their pay grade. This means that in addition to paying competitively, hiring managers need to vigilantly address the full scope of talent attraction and retention options, such as proactively offering career development opportunities or performance-based pay increases.”

Office & Administration

Most In-Demand: Intermediate-Level Administrative Assistants (pays $20.43 per hour, six years of experience)

2nd: Intermediate-Level Customer Service (pays $19.02 per hour, six years of experience)

3rd: Entry-Level Customer Service (pays $14.35 per hour with only one year of experience)

“The administrative role continues to evolve, particularly as new technologies are introduced into office and customer service workflows,” says Traci Fiatte. “Additionally, many organizations are coping with baby boomers retiring at a rapid pace by advancing current administrative employees into more senior roles, rather than replacing the position outright.”

Larger Trends

Outside of the Randstad’s findings, certain other trends are presenting themselves. According to Jim Link, the company’s chief human resources officer, employers are interested in hiring folks who have a wider skill set. “What we see is an increasing demand for people to have some type of advanced skill and that advanced skill is falling more and more into STEM (science technology engineering math) related areas.” These skills, Link explains, would be in addition to those that a job applicant would naturally have for a given position.

Having two specialties at the intersection of two fields is also a plus for job-seekers. “Anywhere out there where two formerly distinct career paths cross is in high demand,” he said. “Some examples are healthcare and IT, engineering and finance, human resources and operations; and any formerly distinct career area that involves the use of data or digital technology. Anywhere those things cross we’re finding more and more demand and less and less capability.”

What Employers & Employees Feel

Randstad also completed an online survey to discover what employers and the people they hire actually feel about their careers and practices. Conducted online within the United States by Ipsos on behalf of Randstad U.S. in June of last year with 2,279 employed adults ages 18 and older, the survey showed that 92% of employers felt they strove to help their employees achieve their goals. The disconnect, however, is evident in that only 59% of employees felt that was true.

Another striking trend showed that 49% of employees feel they need to leave their current company in order to get to the next level in their careers. This jibes with the growing belief among many workers that working for only one or two companies in a single career is unrealistic and maybe not even desirable. Says Link: “If you sit down and talk to a person under the age of 35 about what it is that they want to do and how they expect to achieve those goals, they have no rational belief at all that they will work for an employer for a set period of time in order to accomplish those goals around mobility, flexibility – not to mention pay. They believe that in order to do that they will need to have somewhat of a transient lifestyle, moving from employer to employer.” Some young workers, he says, see logic in an even more varied experience—one where they do not switch companies every several years, but work on a project-by-project basis to have the professional flexibility they desire.

SEE SLIDESHOW: You'll Never Believe These Jobs Pay 6 Figures!

You'll never believe these jobs pay six figures You'll never believe these jobs pay six figures

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