Posted by Paul McDonald on Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 07:43 | Follow me
U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs last month, according to the June jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month. The U.S. economy has created about 1.25 million jobs so far this year and has seen job growth for the past 57 months. The United States is on pace to add 2.5 million jobs this year, compared to 3.1 million in 2014.
The overall unemployment rate is now 5.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since April 2008. In May, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. The BLS also reports that the unemployment rate for college-degreed workers 25 and older is 2.5 percent, compared to 2.7 percent in May. This indicates continued demand for skilled workers.
Other highlights from the June jobs report include the following:
- Employment in professional and business services increased by 64,000 in June; over the past 12 months, job gains for this sector have averaged 57,000 per month.
- The healthcare industry added 40,000 jobs in June; employment in the sector has grown by an average of 34,000 per month over the prior 12 months.
- Employment continued to trend up in June in temporary help services (+20,000 jobs) and in computer systems design and related services (+4,000 jobs).
- Employment gains for April and May combined were 60,000 jobs fewer than previously reported, according to the BLS.
Based on data from the BLS job reports for the first six months of 2015 and conversations I’ve had with Robert Half staffing professionals around the country, it seems employer demand is especially strong in the healthcare, financial services and IT industries. Job numbers for June underscore that hiring in the healthcare industry, in particular, is robust.
Here’s a quick overview of some factors driving hiring in healthcare, financial services and IT, and the types of positions employers need to fill:
Hospitals, medical groups and clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations are all looking for skilled professionals to fill a wide range of healthcare administration positions. And regulatory pressures, such as the Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are creating demand for internal auditing and accounting and finance professionals with risk and compliance expertise.
Also wanted: business systems analysts who can help with the transition to and optimization of healthcare information management systems — especially cloud-based solutions — used for handling electronic healthcare records and practice management. There’s also a growing need for IT professionals as the sector becomes increasingly reliant on technology to support everyday operations and to help drive innovation.
Many financial services organizations are having a difficult time keeping pace with today’s rapidly changing and complex business environment. Mounting regulatory pressures, including those related to consumer protection and anti-money laundering mandates, and the ongoing shortage of skilled financial talent are two key reasons for that struggle.
As we reported in our 2015 Salary Guide for the accounting and finance industry, business growth is driving hiring, and most employers find it challenging to locate skilled candidates for professional-level positions in areas such as accounting, auditing and compliance.
In addition, as financial services organizations — and finance organizations, in general — become more data-centric, they will need to hire more business analysts and business systems analysts to help them gather and make the most of business intelligence.
Mobile, security and big data are the biggest drivers for IT hiring this year — and more than half of technology executives polled by Robert Half report that finding skilled IT talent is a challenge. Research for Robert Half Technology’s 2015 Salary Guide found that mobile applications developers, data security analysts, network architects, big data engineers and senior web developers are some of the most in-demand roles this year.
In fact, experienced mobile applications developers are so highly sought-after that starting compensation is expected to rise 10.2 percent this year compared to 2014 — more than any other tech position Robert Half Technology tracks.
Making your path
Healthcare, financial services and IT are fast-growing industries. But they are also specialized fields where employers highly value candidates with industry-specific skills and experience. If you lack these qualifications but have a strong desire to work in one of these sectors, what can you do?
Temporary and consulting work can provide an important stepping stone on your path to full-time employment in either industry by allowing you to build valuable work experience. A staffing specialist can help you find an employment opportunity that aligns well with your current abilities and expertise. These arrangements can also provide the flexibility you need to earn relevant certifications or pursue advanced degrees that may be necessary to your long-term success in either sector.
Also, don’t discount nontechnical attributes you may have that will appeal to employers in any industry. Strong verbal and written communication skills are just one example. Professionals who are collaborative, team-oriented and able to demonstrate initiative also will often find that they have an edge when interviewing for open roles.
Breaking into the healthcare, financial services or IT field can take work — and time — but you are likely to find a lot of opportunity once you’re there.
The BLS reports that occupations and industries related to healthcare are projected to add the most new jobs between 2012 and 2022. As for IT, the agency estimates that the number of jobs in every occupation within the computer and mathematical occupations group, which includes software developers and programmers, will increase through 2022. The BLS projects more modest growth for financial services during the same period but notes that investment banking advisory services and commodities trading are likely to drive job gains.