Written by Candice Wolken
April 10, 2019
The United States has been enjoying a long stretch of economic growth, with unemployment rates of hitting a record low of 3.7% last year. Though growth in traditional, benchmark jobs has followed overall economic growth, many of the hottest jobs today are in the technology industry – the same sector that economists often site as helping drive the current period of economic growth.
Hot jobs today fall into two categories: new, emerging jobs that are difficult to recruit for because they require niche skillsets, or existing jobs where the demand for labor far outstrips the supply in a local talent market. While hot jobs in the high-tech industry are primarily new and emerging roles that support the development, expansion, and evolution of technology, many hot high tech pay markets, like Silicon Valley in California, are also experiencing a labor shortage in traditional, benchmark roles.
Throughout 2018, the U.S. continued to experience strong economic growth, continuing a nearly 10-year trend. The United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was an annualized 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2018, beating market expectations of 2.4%.
Economists believe numerous factors are working together to influence the current economic boom, including low unemployment, low interest rates, and positive consumer sentiment. Strong corporate profits are also driving economic growth, particularly in the technology sector, which some experts believe is more immune to geopolitical and economic risks than other industries.
Growth in the technology sector is reflected in the positions currently identified as hot jobs in Salary.com’s CompAnalyst Market Data. As of March 2019, nearly two dozen hot jobs in CompAnalyst Market Data have a direct technology focus. Jobs in big data, software development, and information systems, among other high-tech job families, have been difficult to recruit for in today’s tight IT talent market, and are among the most popular hot jobs this month. Additional March hot jobs in the Marketing job family have high-tech leanings as well, with many Marketing roles emphasizing digital skillsets and familiarity with new marketing technologies.
To identify hot jobs in CompAnalyst, Salary.com uses a combination of feedback from customers and deep market research. To understand pricing for these jobs, Salary.com applies a proprietary algorithm, cross-referencing available job prices and using jobs from its deep survey library as a foundation. Results may draw from a composite of multiple survey jobs that align job requirements and skills of a hot job in the market.
Many IS/IT and technology-focused roles are extremely high paying, due to the current demand for talent. Read the next article in our series, The 9 Highest-Paying Tech Jobs, to learn more.
The current economic expansion in the United States began in 2009. If it continues through this summer, it will become the longest expansion period in U.S. history.
Economics is a game of uncertainty, but many leading economists agree that this record is likely to be broken. Unanticipated political, economic, and even cultural events can quickly change the economic outlook, and the volatility of many of today’s major economic players, including the U.S. and China, is making investors wary of forecasting continuing growth.
As with predicting U.S. economic trends, it’s difficult to predict what future hot jobs will look like. For now, it seems likely that the high-tech focus will continue as the industry continues to develop and refine new technologies.
Regardless of whether or not your business is in the high-tech industry, you should consider the current economic conditions when planning and budgeting for your compensation programs. While annual salary increase budgets have been flat at 3% since the last recession, your organization may need to budget additional funds to keep pace with market rates for jobs in hot job families or pay markets in order to drive retention of these critical employees.
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