What do US job seekers want? Higher salary and telecommuting

American workers are in the driver’s seat, and employers offering higher wages and remote work opportunities are scoring points with job applicants, according to a new survey.

It doesn’t happen very often, but thanks to massive outages brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, workers in the United States are in the best position in decades to choose the jobs they want. And increasingly, they are interested in working for employers that offer higher wages and opportunities to work remotely.

That is the discovery of the inauguration. Relative interest of the job applicant Indeed job search site metric released Thursday.

The metric, which captures the kinds of jobs workers are seeking, reveals the kinds of businesses that are falling out of favor, and in favor, among job seekers.

Civil engineering, IT, and media jobs have seen the largest increase in interest from job applicants since the start of the pandemic, while childcare, warehouse positions, foodservice and care personal and domestic have experienced the steepest declines.

In numbers: Civil engineering and IT operations and technical assistance jobs have seen a 59 percent increase in interest since February 2020, just before the pandemic began, while media and communications, as well as the software development, have seen an increase of 48 percent.

On the other hand, interest in child care jobs is down more than 15 percent since February 2020. Interest in food preparation and service positions is down more than 18 percent; personal care and home health are down more than 33 percent and cargo and storage are down nearly 40 percent.

“Sectors such as cargo and warehousing are substantially less interesting for job seekers now than pre-pandemic,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab, in a press release. ‚ÄúThat’s bad news for hiring in those sectors, where job openings have been increasing for months.

“For sectors such as personal care and home health and childcare, moderate interest only compounds existing hiring challenges,” he added.

Salaries and flexibility

Perhaps not surprisingly, the metric revealed that the median hourly wage advertised in a job posting and whether the work can be done remotely “are positively and significantly related to changes in relative interest from job seekers,” Konkel wrote.

That trend, he notes, makes it more difficult for companies that pay lower wages and require in-person work that can’t be done at home.

“These employers have only one major lever: raising wages,” Konkel writes.

A record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August, while the number of job openings, 10.4 million that month, was close to record highs.

With so many jobs in begging, companies, especially smaller ones, struggle to fill positions. About 51 percent of small business owners said they had job openings they couldn’t fill in September, according to the National Federal of Independent Businesses.

That has translated into larger paychecks for workers. Average hourly wages in September increased 4.6 percent compared to the same period last year. But that didn’t keep up with inflation. Consumer prices that same month increased 5.4 percent on an annualized basis.


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