What We Learned About The Job Market In 2018
Believe it or not, 2019 is just around the corner. Before we welcome in a new year, let’s take a moment to look back at what we learned about the job market in 2018 and make some predictions about which trends will continue in the coming months.
1. Job Seekers (Still) Have The Advantage
The unemployment rate just kept dropping this year, with the Bureau Labor of Statistics most recently reporting it at 3.9 percent. According to Forbes, the market should remain tight for the foreseeable future, and job seekers can certainly use this trend to their advantage. Keep in mind, however, wages aren’t increasing as steadily as unemployment is dropping. If you’re in the midst of moving to a new company or plan to ask for a raise, be prepared. Do your research, know your value, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
2. Even Non-Tech Industries Need Tech Employees
No one needs to tell you technology is the future—it’s simply a way of life for all of us now. What may be surprising, however, is how many traditionally non-tech fields have been looking to hire technologically savvy employees. The biggest industry to introduce techies into their ranks? The retail world. GQR reported that since 2012, the retail industry has increased their software job postings 7.5 percent.
Banking and finance has seen an increase as well, “which can be chalked up to the growing use of mobile banking and payment apps and electronic trading platforms. Manufacturing’s 1.7 percent increase is due to more automated production lines as well as the desire to operate more efficiently and focus on higher quality outputs.” In short, 2018 has proven that if you have a technological background, your job search market has expanded exponentially.
3. Older Workers Are Finally Getting Their Chance
After years of hearing about how companies don’t want to hire older workers—who are often forced to reenter (or linger in) the workforce when retirement is not a financially viable option—it appears as though 2018 was a year of opportunity for those over the age of fifty-five. According to CNBC, the unemployment rate for seniors was 3.2 percent as of February. So why the sudden change of direction? You can thank the above mentioned tight labor market, which has forced many employers to reconsider hiring those of a certain age. Seniors offer more experience (both professionally and worldly), and are often in the perfect position to mentor younger employees. The advantages of hiring older workers seem to have come into sharper focus this past year.
4. Relocation Became More Popular
A competitive labor market has also encouraged job seekers to more seriously consider relocation as an option when looking for a job. This has proven especially true in large metropolitan areas such as Denver, San Francisco, Boston, and Dallas. These larger cities have attracted the most out-of-towners because, as Consumer Affairs reported, “employers in these areas [have] to seek candidates from beyond the borders of the local talent pool. Job seekers who are willing to pull up stakes and relocate for new opportunities are finding welcoming arms.” Overall, the relocation rate hit 12 percent in the second quarter of 2018, which is the highest it’s been in four years.
2018 has been quite a ride, and it appears 2019 will bring more of the same, with the economy expected to continue to grow and expand over the coming years.