We can expect the labor participation rate to drop slightly between 2020-2030, in part, because of more people in the youngest bracket of the Baby Boomer population reaching retirement age. However, experts feel that if the U.S. learns to manage the available labor it currently has, and those who will enter the labor force in the near future, the impacts of labor shortages may become less noticeable in daily American life.
Let’s take a look at the top ten jobs with labor shortages in the U.S. who also have healthy outlooks, with high expectations to come back in full swing by 2030. We include the information below about how to prepare for these roles and how much you can expect to earn in these roles over the next eight years.
Jump to a Career:
- Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst, or Tester
- Home Health Aide
- Chef/Head Cook
- Registered Nurse
- Middle School Teacher
- Management Analyst
- Market Research Analyst
- Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Driver
- Lodging Manager
- Construction Manager
Top 10 Jobs with Labor Shortages in 2022
1. Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers
Aside from supply chain issues, about 57% of tech executives today say that their biggest worry is not having enough skilled workers, including software developers and closely related areas. Current tech workers are demanding more flexible work schedules, better career advancement opportunities, and a more positive work environment. Many tech employers are working to improve on their employee offerings, which will likely help attract new workers and retain current software developers.
Software developers help bring computer applications and computer games to life, making sure that users can complete specific tasks. Assurance analysts and testers carry out software tests during the development stages to find any problems that may arise for users before the product goes to market.
The majority of these workers (26%) are employed at companies in computer systems design and related services. The next largest employers are in manufacturing and software publishing. They typically function as part of a team of creative individuals, working collaboratively on the design, development, and programming of user-friendly products.
Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst, or Tester Salary:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers make about $110,140 per year. The highest 10% of earners in this area of the tech field make more than $170,100 annually.
Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst, or Tester Career Outlook:
BLS projects a 22% growth in available positions for these workers by 2030. That’s much higher than many other computer tech-related positions, which are projecting a much lower, although still very healthy, 13% projected growth.
How to Become a Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst, or Tester:
These workers often need a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or software development. Depending on the employer, you might not need a degree. In those cases, some work experience will suffice. On the other hand, you might encounter jobs that require you to hold a master’s degree in computer science or a related field.
2. Home Healthcare Aides
According to NPR, There are about 2 million home health aides actively working in the U.S. on a daily basis. While that might seem like a huge number, there are actually about 54 million people in the U.S. who are 65 and older – the largest demographic who need the assistance of home health aides. As the remainder of the Baby Boomer population enters retirement, this demand for home health aides will continue to increase.
Why the shortage today? Well, despite the extremely valuable service that these workers provide, these positions don’t command a very high salary. While the median annual wage across occupations in the U.S. is $41,950 as of May 2020, home health aides make about $28,270. Aside from the fact that many workers in the U.S. who provide a skilled service are underpaid, home health aides are also at the mercy of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates.
Moreover, there’s really just a flat-out supply-and-demand shortage that we can’t ignore. The population that needs home health assistance from training professionals is just so much greater than the number of workers who are qualified to offer that care. The good news, however, is that there will be work available in this field, as home health aides will be among the highest in-demand roles in the American workforce through 2030.
Home Health Aide Salary:
The median annual wage for home health workers is $41,950. The highest 10% of workers in the area of the healthcare field make more than $36,990 per year.
Home Health Aide Career Outlook:
The expected job growth for home health aides is among the highest in the country. The BLS projects a 32.6% growth by 2030. Compare that to the average 7.7% expected growth in available positions for all other occupations in the U.S. during the same timeframe.
How to Become a Home Health Aide:
Home health aides typically need a high school diploma, although not always. You can expect to complete some kind of formal training process and pass some tests as required by hospice agencies or certified home health organizations.
3. Chefs and Head Cooks
Those of use outside the service or restaurant industries rarely have a good idea about the complexities of the business. There are a lot of moving parts, not least of which are sourcing ingredients, keeping and managing staff members, and managing a business. In the wake of pandemic lockdowns throughout 2020, many chefs, cooks, and restaurant workers have gone elsewhere to earn an income. Few people are applying for jobs in the service industry despite many openings, and there’s been a serious shortage of workers throughout the ongoing pandemic.
The good news is that customers are still going out to eat and ordering take-out. Moreover, many restaurants are raising wages to help attract and retain chefs, head cooks, servers, and others who allow our favorite establishments to open their doors every day. As we move forward over the next several years, we can also expect the availability of chefs and head cook positions to skyrocket.
Chef/Head Cook Salary:
The BLS reports that chefs and head cooks make about $53,380 per year. Top earners in these roles make more than $90,790.
Chef/Head Cook Career Outlook:
Between 2020-2030, the BLS projects a 25% increase in available positions for chefs and head cooks. That’s not far beyond the staggering growth for supervisions of food preparation and servers, which will see about a 21% growth.
How to Become a Chef or Head Cook:
Chefs and head cooks usually need a high school diploma and some relevant work experience before landing a solid job. Some workers choose to pursue formal education at culinary arts schools or four-year programs. There are also training programs available through the Armed Forces. With the demand today, you might be able to secure a position with less experience, which is a fast track to a good-paying job.
4. Registered Nurses
RNs play a crucial role in healthcare today. Their efforts and sacrifices throughout the Coronavirus pandemic have saved thousands of lives, and we owe them our gratitude. However, there is a growing shortage of RNs today.
This problem is largely supply-and-demand, as the 65 and older population is the largest it has been in U.S. history. Additionally, many nursing professionals experienced serious burnout because of the pandemic. While some late-career RNs chose to retire early, younger nurses elected to quit their RN role to seek out a less stressful career.
About 61% of RNs work in patient-facing roles in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and outpatient clinics. They may help educate patients and their families about how to manage illnesses or explain how to manage health concerns at home after a patient gets treatment. They may also take on specialized roles as critical care, neonatal, rehabilitation, or public health nurses, to name a few.
Registered nurses are in-demand and will be for the foreseeable future. Some studies suggest that the demand for RNs will jump from 2.8 million to 3.6 million, or 28.4%, by 2030.
RNs make a median annual wage of $75,330. Those who work in government nursing positions earn about $84,490 per year. The top earners working as RNs make more than $116,230 annually.
RN Career Outlook:
The BLS offers the most conservative outlook – a 9% growth in available positions between 2020-2030. That’s about 194,500 openings per year. Bear in mind that demand is not the same across states. The largest shortages exist in states like California and Texas, so the demand and number of available positions are much higher there than in other states.
How to Become an RN:
Prospective RNs will need at least a diploma or associate degree in nursing, along with a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. Licensure is required to practice.
5. Middle School Teachers
Public schools have struggled to keep enough teachers and staff for years. While these shortages affect some states in a much greater way than others, sweeping teacher shortages across the U.S. are commonplace today. With the ongoing pandemic causing continual teaching burnout for educators at all levels, it’s likely that we’ll see a shortage for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that many states are increasing teacher salaries to help attract and retain teachers. That’s the case in at least 15 states, including New Mexico, Colorado, and Kentucky. Depending on the location, some legislators may be proposing additional incentives to help ease the burden of the shortage.
Middle School Teacher Salary:
Middle school teachers make a median annual wage of $60,810, as of May 2020. That’s substantially greater than the average annual wage in the U.S. of $41,950.
Middle School Teacher Career Outlook:
According to the BLS, you can expect about 48,400 job openings for middle school teachers between 2020-2030. That’s about a 9% increase in teaching positions over the ten-year period. That’s slightly higher than the 8% average growth of occupations in the U.S.
How to Become a Middle School Teacher:
Middle school teachers in the U.S. public school system must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher. Public schools also require these workers to have a state-issued license or certification.
Related: How to Become a Teacher
6. Management Analysts or Consultants
According to Bloomberg.com, just as the consulting business was getting back on its feet in late 2021, now there’s a shortage of management consultants. In fact, about two-thirds of consulting firms report that they’re short-staffed.
Management analysts or consultants come up with ways to help businesses and organizations operate more efficiently. They strive to reduce a company’s costs and increase their revenues.
The decrease in consultants is partially related to the pandemic, as remote work is not quite as attractive to consultants as other types of workers. It’s often a face-to-face position for workers who thrive on traveling to spend time with clients. Management analyst and consultant positions are expected to bounce back over the coming years, which means many job openings that typically come with high pay and great benefits.
Management Analyst Salary:
The median annual salary for management analysts, as of May 2020, is $87,660. The top 10% of earners in this field make more than $156,840.
Management Analyst Outlook:
The number of available positions for management analysts and consultants is projected to grow by 14% between 2020-2030. That means we can expect to see an average of about 99,400 openings per year.
How to Become a Management Analyst:
Management analysts and consultants usually need a bachelor’s degree or higher to secure a position with a consulting firm. Depending on the role, you may also need several years of relevant work experience, too.
7. Market Research Analysts
With professional and business services being among one of the top three industries with the highest number of employee resignations, it’s no wonder that market research analysts are in-demand.
Market research analysts study the consumer market to help determine what types of products buyers want, who the best customers for a company are, and how much companies should charge for a product or service. With ongoing supply chain issues today, along with decreased production due to labor shortages, it’s not surprising that market research analysts have chosen to take their skills elsewhere.
Available positions for market research analysts, however, are expected to jump back into the normal territory – and, actually, they’re going to be high-demand over the coming years.
Market Research Analyst Salary:
Market research analysts and marketing specialists make a median annual wage of $65,810, as of May 2020. If you’re on the higher-end of earners, you could make more than $127,410 per year.
Market Research Analyst Career Outlook:
The job outlook looks bright, with the BLS projecting a 22% increase in available positions between 2020-2030. That’s almost triple the average growth rate for all occupations in the U.S.
How to Become a Market Research Analyst:
Market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the role, you might need graduate-level training, along with strong mathematical and analytical skills.
8. Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers
Perhaps one of the most crucial links in the supply chain, truck drivers are in high demand. In fact, a recent report from the American Trucking Associations, according to the New York Times, relayed that the industry is short 80,000 drivers. Moreover, the demand could double by 2030 as old truck drivers continue to retire.
In response to supply chain issues and the need for truck drivers, companies have increased their wages. The average earnings for drivers have increased by 21% by 2019.
There were about 2 million truck drivers in the U.S. in 2020. Truck transportation and logistics companies are the largest employers of these workers at 43%. The next largest employers include wholesale trade, self-employed workers, and manufacturing companies.
Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Driver Salary:
As of May 2020, the BLS reports truck drivers’ median annual salaries to be $47,130. The top earners in these roles make more than $69,480 per year.
Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Driver Career Outlook:
The BLS reports about a 6% increase in available positions for truck drivers between 2020-2030. With labor shortages today, however, there’s a strong possibility that the growth in open jobs for truck drivers will increase at a much faster rate, per the New York Times report.
How to Become a Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Driver:
These workers need a high school diploma or GED certificate, along with a commercial driver’s license. They’ll also need to attend a professional truck driving school.
9. Lodging, Food Service, and Hospitality Managers
One of the industries with the largest number of workers quitting is leisure and hospitality. Business Insider reported in January 2022 that a record-high number of restaurant and hotel workers quit their jobs in November 2021. That means about 3% of the total leisure and hospitality workforce quit. Needless to say, there’s a severe shortage here of workers in both entry-level and managerial roles.
As members of the American public start to move back to more “normal” daily life, that should include taking advantage of more leisure activities than in 2020-2021. Provided the ongoing pandemic does not drastically worsen, it’s likely that the demand for lodging, food service, and hospitality managers will increase steadily.
Lodging Manager Salary:
Lodging managers make an annual median salary of $56,670. Depending on the business and location, these workers can earn much more. The highest earners make more than $108,060 per year.
Lodging Manager Career Outlook:
The BLS projects a 9% growth in open positions for lodging managers, which is slightly higher than the national average.
How to Become a Lodging Manager:
Depending on the position, these workers usually need a bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management. There are also associate and certificate programs that prepare learners for these positions. Additionally, some people obtain roles in lodging and hospitality management with a high school diploma and relevant work experience.
10. Construction Managers
As we enter 2022, there’s a drastic shortage of workers in construction. Some states have had to bring in workers from other states just to keep up with the work. Aside from the slow-down in the supply chain for construction materials and many other products, the shortage in manpower may be the biggest hurdle in the construction business in 2022.
Construction managers help supervise and plan construction projects from start to finish. They often make cost estimates and figure out budgets, select subcontractors, handle work delays and other project challenges, and ensure that projects follow state and federal requirements.
Over the next several years, construction workers should see significant positive growth as the U.S. and other countries around the globe recover from the pandemic.
Construction Manager Salary:
The BLS reports an annual median wage for construction managers to be $97,180, as of May 2020. It can be an even more lucrative position, as the top 10% of earners make more than $169,070 per year.
Construction Manager Career Outlook:
While in short supply today, the job outlook looks bright. The BLS expects an 11% growth in available positions for construction managers between 2020-2030.
How to Become a Construction Manager:
These workers typically need a bachelor’s degree. They often learn construction-specific management skills on-the-job. With some work experience under your belt, you can pursue higher-paying positions with large construction firms. The path to these positions can vary greatly, however, and many workers have success in construction with only a high school diploma and skills they acquire through good work experience.