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Freelance Professions and Skilled Trades Among Most In-Demand Jobs

Payscale Inc., the leading provider of compensation data, software, and services, released its 2023 End-of-Year Report. The report examines the state of the labor market heading into 2024 and ranks the jobs with the highest wage growth over the past year as well as the positions with the highest quit rates, based on Payscale’s employee-reported data from more than 770,000 U.S. workers.  

“Today’s job market can be summed up in one word: maddening,” says Lexi Clarke, chief people officer at Payscale. “While the job market has cooled, the spirit of the Great Resignation is still very much alive. Job openings are receiving a flood of applications, but in an uncertain economy, hiring managers are not willing to take risks, which is slowing down hiring processes and creating anxiety in job seekers. Job coaches made our list of hot jobs for the first time this year, proving just how prevalent the frustration is as workers consult experts to navigate career transition challenges.” 

Wages for the top 10 jobs on Payscale’s hottest jobs list grew by double digits – between 18% and 24% – despite a sluggish economy. These highly sought-after jobs include professions well-suited for self-employment or freelance work, and positions in the skilled trades. Noticeably missing from the list are corporate “knowledge worker” roles, which is where competition has become most overwhelming for job seekers.  

The top 10 most in-demand jobs by fastest growing wages include assistant manager, customer service (24% wage growth), hairstylist (22% wage growth), master plumber (21% wage growth), automotive body repairer (21% wage growth), job coach (21% wage growth), audio/visual technician (20% wage growth), animator (19% wage growth), fitness coach (19% wage growth), roofer (19% wage growth), and general manager (18% wage growth).  

The report also analyzes the top 15 jobs workers are preparing to quit. Senior product managers top the list this year, as well as several other technology occupations, including cybersecurity analysts, IT program managers, software development engineers, and senior data analysts. Healthcare workers also dominated the list of jobs people are thinking about quitting the most. Phlebotomists, patient care technicians, ER and critical care nurses, patient service representatives, and patient care coordinators all make the top 15 jobs people are most looking to quit in 2023.  

“Employers need to pay attention to fast moving jobs so they can make recommendations for pay increases based on market adjustments,” says Clarke. “Although you may be aware of high turnover, if you aren’t doing a market analysis, you may not realize that compensation is a contributing factor. Remember, employees have insight into salary data too, and pay transparency is only going to increase that. Workers are unwilling to make concessions on fair pay and well-being, and I think we’ll see workers push even further for work-life fit in 2024.”  

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