July 19, 2023

18-Month Labor Outlook: What Hiring Managers Should Expect

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At AccruePartners, we’re always keeping an eye on the pulse of labor markets in industries we specialize in for our clients. These include accounting, finance, information technology, marketing, digital, creative, human resources, corporate support and financial services. 

Going forward through 2024, this report presents our predictions and outlook for the U.S. labor market in these areas.

Hiring Holds Steady

After strong and fast hiring momentum post-COVID-19 from 2021 to 2022, Hiring Lab’s economic research showed a 9.9% year-over-year decline in job openings and job postings in January 2023. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts overall employment will grow by 8.3 million jobs from 2021 to 2031, hiring may slow down in the next 18 months due to looming recession speculations.

However, as Slate reports, the U.S. economy has remained strong through the first half of 2023, despite economist predictions of a recession. The BLS reports a steady increase in total nonfarm employment from March 2023 through May 2023, increasing by 339,000 jobs in May 2023 alone. The U.S. unemployment rate has stayed steady since January 2022, hovering at around 3.7% as of May 2023.

Low unemployment and job gains in professional and business services point to continuously competitive talent landscapes for companies with open positions. Top talent will continue to be in demand, so many companies will look to recruit passive talent to fill open roles successfully.

Which Industries Will Have Talent Shortages?

Among the industries AccruePartners works with, some business sectors and positions are more likely to face talent shortages. Using BLS data and projections, we anticipate the next 18 months will see continued competitiveness for sourcing and hiring talent in the following areas.

Information Technology (IT)

Information technology (IT) jobs are in high demand across all roles. According to the BLS, employment in computer and IT jobs is projected to grow 15% overall between 2021 and 2031, which is much faster than average compared to all positions. 

According to TechTarget, IT professional shortage causes include the fast growth of technology-focused companies and increased frequency of mobility for in-demand IT pros. The BLS reports that retiring workers are also increasing demand for IT talent, especially in roles like the following.

Accounting, Finance & Financial Services

Retirement and fewer people entering financial fields will likely lead to increased competition for talent in accounting and related fields. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the number of accountants and auditors in the U.S. declined by 17% from 2019 to 2023, driven by the retirement of Baby Boomers in these positions. 

Over recent years, there has also been a decline in the number of professionals sitting for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, leading to talent shortages in accounting and increased competition for roles like the following.

  • Logistician and financial examiner jobs are the fastest-growing positions in the accounting, finance and financial services industries. The BLS projects logistician jobs will increase by 28% and financial examiner jobs will increase by 21% between 2021 and 2031. There’s a projected annual 24,800 logistician openings and 6,800 financial examiner openings.
  • Other growing positions in finance, accounting and financial services include:

Digital, Marketing & Creative

A recent study by the World Federation of Advertisers and global media advisors MediaSense found 74% of U.S. advertisers, media companies, ad tech companies and agencies believe there’s currently a talent crisis for digital marketing professionals. More than half (54%) of global agencies think the talent shortage has reached “worst-ever crisis” levels. 

The top factors attributed to the talent shortages include poor training and talent management, a lack of purpose and poor employer behavior. Marketers with digital skills are also being heavily recruited by tech companies, which may contribute to shortages in areas like the following. 

  • Digital designer and market research analyst jobs are two of the fastest-growing positions in marketing, digital and creative industries. The BLS projects digital designer jobs will increase by 23% and market research analyst jobs will increase by 19% between 2021 and 2031. There’s a projected annual 21,800 digital designer openings and 99,800 market research analyst openings.
  • Other growing positions in digital, marketing and creative services include:

Human Resources

With talent competition increasing among diverse industries, so does the need for HR professionals who can source and successfully hire said talent. The SHRM recently reported the number of HR job openings has increased by 89%, but the number of job applications has decreased by 13%. 

Companies can successfully recruit HR talent by looking at HR pros who work outside of their industries, but who have the skills needed to succeed. The following HR positions are expected to be in especially high demand over the next 18 months.

  • Both human resources specialist and human resources manager jobs are increasing at high rates. The BLS projects human resources specialist jobs will increase by 8%, and human resources managers jobs will increase by 7% between 2021 and 2031. There’s a projected annual 81,900 human resources specialist openings and 16,300 human resources manager openings.
  • Training and development specialist job openings are also increasing each year. The BLS projects training and development specialist jobs will increase by 8% between 2021 and 2031. There’s a projected annual 36,500 training and development specialist openings.

Positions That May Decline in the Next 18 Months

We’re seeing job loss in a few areas, which means the candidate pool is likely to increase in these areas over the next 18 months. Companies that are eliminating positions can work on upskilling or retraining employees who currently work in lower-demand positions, many of which are being transformed by automation and technology. These include:

  • Commercial banking: The BLS reported a job loss of 6,000 commercial banking positions in May 2023.
  • Secretary and administrative assistant: The BLS projects secretary and administrative jobs will decrease by 8% between 2021 and 2031. There’s still a projected annual 354,000 secretary and administrative assistant openings.

Labor Markets Currently Steady, But Could Become More Volatile

U.S. recession concerns began to emerge in April 2022, but more than one year later, economic and unemployment numbers are still holding steady. Going forward through the end of 2024, even if a recession does occur, we still project tight and competitive labor markets in IT, finance, accounting, human resources, marketing, digital and creative industries.

You can protect your workforce now by making better hires, securing top talent who are passionate about your company and who want to bring you results long-term. For effective recruitment and hiring services in in-demand industries like the ones mentioned in this report, contact AccruePartners for a free consultation.

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