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Who’s Looking for a Job in 2020?

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Once again, nearly half of all workers are looking for new jobs in 2020. It’s great news if you’re on the hunt for talent, and scary news when it comes to retaining the talent you have. And then there’s this: Half of the Millennial workforce is open to not only searching for a new job but also to transitioning to a different career. In fact, four in 10 working adults (38%) across all generations say they are likely to change careers within the next year. Millennials are most open to it by far.

The key to benefiting from this news is in understanding what ASA defines as a “different career.” These workers don’t just want to start fresh and hope an employer will take a chance on them. They’re simply willing to “switch to a new industry or field, or a different position or role.”

Therein lies the opportunity for employers who need to upskill their workforce and attract talent while in an outlier industry.


As we’ve covered before, Houston and Austin were recently named among the top 10 U.S. cities with the most significant skills gaps. Employers worldwide admit that these skill shortages are slowing down their innovation and implementation of new technologies like machine learning. 

IBM recently discovered it takes longer for workers to close a skills gap now than ever before — 36 days of training on average compared to three days in 2014. It’s no wonder, then, that IBM also found that most companies that have a strategy in place to address skill gaps focus that strategy on recruiting outside talent who already have those skills.

But outside recruiting alone isn’t enough. Not in today’s tight job market. An estimated 120 million workers worldwide will need to be retrained as a result of AI and automation alone within the next three years.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see that the bulk of today’s workforce not only accepts that they’ll need to be reskilled or upskilled, but that they welcome the opportunity. Savvy employers know that today’s technical skills can be adapted and learned—and will need to be—throughout a workers’ career.

“The ‘once an expert always an expert’ mentality is long gone. It’s soft skills—which are also in high demand—that make top talent worth keeping.”

LinkedIn concluded that, in August 2019, the top skills shortages in Austin were:

  1. Oral communication
  2. Business management
  3. Leadership
  4. Digital literacy
  5. Social media
  6. Development tools
  7. People management

“Notice how many of these are soft skills that are much harder to learn than the latest coding language or accounting software,” says The HT Group Founder and CEO Mark Turpin.  “When you identify employees who have these skills, find out what their career goals are. Increasingly, you may find they’re eager to learn new skills or take on new roles.”


Then there are the recruiting opportunities this news presents. It means that even satisfied workers are searching for new career adventures in areas they’ve never considered before but where their job skills are surprisingly applicable.

While labor shortages can be seen in all industries, some sectors are hurting more than others. SHRM found that healthcare and manufacturing are two of the most challenging areas to recruit into right now. These sectors need scientists, skilled tradespeople and technicians, IT specialists, executives, and more.

Sound familiar? They’re the same jobs employers in many different areas need to fill right now. If you’re struggling to find talent, consider industries that have less trouble attracting the workers you want. What overlapping abilities do those workers share? And what can you offer them that others may not be able to offer?

The current administration is pushing for more U.S. manufacturing, which is great. But manufacturing jobs have been notoriously “unsexy” for a long time. Only 30% of Americans admit they’d encourage their children to pursue manufacturing jobs. Millennials rank the industry as their least preferred career destination. This has created a skills gap that may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled by 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion. Positions relating to digital talent, skilled production, and operational managers could be three times as difficult to fill during this time.

IndustryWeek offers manufacturers some tips to combat this dire forecast, starting with dispelling to potential job candidates the myths that a manufacturing career is dull and devoid of innovation. The truth is that manufacturing has the highest average wages of private sector industries and jobs can be on the very cusp of cutting edge technology (what techie wouldn’t want to work in a virtual reality environment or be an actual “robot team” coordinator?).

“The trick is to get the word out about what you can offer that’s exciting and unexpected,” says The HT Group’s Director of Staffing Services Claire Reese. “That’s where apprentice programs, employee referral programs, and even social media marketing can come into play. The more you can take potential workers behind the scenes and show them what makes your company different or innovative, the better.”

Consider workers you may have overlooked in the past, too. For instance, in the U.S., women officially hold more jobs than men now (by a whopping .004%, but still). If that doesn’t mirror the demographics of your workforce, consider how you might be able to attract more female talent.

And with flexible work-life balance a top priority for most workers, finding ways to offer and highlight that perk could be the recruiting edge you need. For ideas on how to do that in an industry like manufacturing that isn’t necessarily geared toward flex schedules, consider these tips by Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operations.

For more ideas and tips, contact your HT Group staffing and recruiting team.


The HT Group fills roles in Temporary Staffing, Executive Search, Technical Recruiting, and Retained Search.

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