War for Talent: How Much are the ‘Jobs No One Wants’ Worth?

Job seekers now have the upper hand when looking for a new job. The economy is good, the stock market is healthy, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are currently 6.7 million jobs to fill in the U.S. compared to only 6.35 million unemployed people. This is the first time ever recorded in which the U.S. has more available jobs than it has people looking to fill them.

In this employment landscape, it’s unsurprising certain industries are having a hard time attracting workers. Jobs that are physically strenuous, or have a reputation of being mentally exhausting, are not attractive to millennial job seekers who have grown accustomed to having the ‘pick of the litter’ when selecting their next roles. Millennials are the most educated generation to date, so it’s likely they have their sights set on highly skilled white-collar roles, leaving certain industries desperate for younger applicants as its older workers near retirement.

Construction, farming, truck driving, and emergency dispatching are all seeing a decline in applicants. We delved into why exactly these industries are struggling, and used Salary.com data to determine the median income of such jobs.

Here’s what we learned:

The Construction Industry

Despite the existence of some high paying jobs in the construction realm, the industry is having trouble replacing older employees as they exit the workforce. Stereotypes that jobs in this field are for the unskilled have plagued interest in this kind of work, and a report by the Wall Street Journal points to possible other reasons for the disinterest, including parents influencing their children to get college degrees and work in white-collar fields, and a lack of vocational training programs being offered in high schools.

What’s it worth?

The median salary of a General Laborer is $31,105. A Construction Laborer typically works on a construction site as part of a larger team to complete a project. More skilled roles associated with this industry include Construction Project Manager –  a role associated with a median salary of $100,660 – and a Heavy Equipment Operator – a job that can take home $63,601 annually.

The Farming Industry 

Many farming jobs across the country are seasonal, making them a tough sell to people looking to work year-round. Additionally, the federal government's guest worker program, which allows employers to import temporary labor if they can prove Americans don’t want the jobs, is viewed as too expensive. This is leaving growers with few options when it becomes time to harvest their crops.

What’s it worth?

The median salary of a Farm Manager is $43,301. This person manages the overall daily operations of a farm or ranch and provides supervision and direction to staff. They’re also responsible for purchasing tools, equipment, and materials. This role may require a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Another role associated with this industry is a Farm Equipment Mechanic with a median salary of $41,483. This person inspects, maintains, repairs, assembles, and overhauls various mechanized equipment. It requires a high school diploma or its equivalent.

The Trucking Industry

As baby boomers retire, there are few millennials willing to take their places in the driver’s seat. This is due to the unwillingness of this group to endure the long hours and extensive travel required. In recent years, there has been a boom in shipments as more and more people rely on electronic commerce companies like Amazon. This is particularly troublesome because not only can truck manufacturers not keep up with demand to get more trucks on the road, they also face the problem of having no one to drive these vehicles once they’re built.

What’s it worth?

The median salary for a Light or Delivery Truck Driver is $38,759. This person operates a truck that transports cargo to and from specified destinations. They also prepare, receive, and provide documentation for the delivery or pick up of goods to ensure timely service. As the combined weight of the vehicle increases, so does the salary. “Heavy” truckers make a median salary of $43,001, while Tractor Trailer Operators earn $50,971.

The Emergency Dispatcher Industry

People are shying away from 911 dispatcher jobs due to the high-stress nature, and life-or-death consequences, that go hand-and-hand with this kind of occupation. The pay is also comparable to what a Retail Store Manager earns, and many see the compensation as not worth the emotional toll it can take on employees.

What’s it worth?

The median salary of an Emergency Dispatcher is $37,864. This person is responsible for responding to calls for emergency and non-emergency assistance and in dispatching law enforcement, firefighting, or rescue units. They also must differentiate between routine, priority, and emergency messages, and follow through on responses as required.

Looking for a new job, either in the blue-collar industry or the white-collar industry? Find out your worth.

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