The Most Searched For Jobs Are the Hardest to Fill

Electrical Engineer is the most popular job on ZipRecruiter right now. In fact, among millions of daily job searches, the top five searches in June were all for different positions within the electrical engineering field.

The top jobs ranged from Electrical Service Technicians to roles that require PE licensure (which is the highest standard of competence that can be achieved in the field). On one end of the spectrum there is an abundance of job seekers looking for new opportunities in the highly-specialized field of electrical engineering, and on the other, there are droves of skilled laborers seeking construction-related jobs as Electricians.

Lots of Job Seekers, Even More Jobs

It’s important to note that this high volume of searches does not necessarily mean that more workers are entering the labor force. Our data shows a labor shortage still persists, especially in mid-sized metro areas. Given the high demand for and low supply of these workers, it’s likely that most of these job hunters are already employed and looking to level-up into higher-paying positions.

Using the ZipRecruiter Opportunity Index—which compares the number of available jobs to job candidates—we found that demand for Electrical Engineering and Electrician skills still far outpaces supply.

In June, there were four Electrical Engineer jobs available for every job seeker and five Electrician jobs available for every job seeker. For comparison, the overall Opportunity Index in June for every job in the U.S. was 1.9—less than half of what it is for each of these jobs.

So we know Electrical Engineers and Electricians are looking for the next best gig. We also know employers need their skills in a bad way. But where are the workers and where are the jobs?

The Jobs Are Where the Talent Is Not

A lack of worker mobility is hurting many industries. People just aren’t moving as much as they used to. And within engineering, we’re seeing a stark divide between where job seekers and available jobs are located. Using the Opportunity Index, we found that most of the talent is looking for a new gig in places with the least demand.

The New York metro area had the highest number of available Electrical Engineer jobs this June, but it also had the most candidates. With about one opening for every applicant, New York is still a job seekers market, but not compared to some other metros.

Detroit, MI was the metro with the greatest labor shortage of Electrical Engineers. The recovering city is adding thousands of jobs in the burgeoning field of autonomous driving. It recently ranked second on our list of the top metros for autonomous driving jobs, meaning it’s a city that depends heavily on electrical engineering and robotics skills.

In nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, there were nine Electrical Engineer jobs for every applicant on the market, as of June 2018.

The job market for Electricians showed an even greater disconnect between talent and location. Again, the New York metro area had the most available Electrician jobs, but it was one of the cities with the lowest opportunity for these jobs. In June, there was one Electrician job for every five applicants.

In Lancaster and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, however, there were a staggering 20 openings for every Electrician looking for a job in June. Cities throughout Pennsylvania are undergoing a building boom and they need skilled Electricians to get the lights turned on.

This data sends a clear message to employers who need Electrical Engineers and Electricians: companies need to step up their game when it comes to enticing talent to move. It’s also a signal to skilled workers that advancing their career may depend on their willingness to move.

Written by

Jeffery Marino is a Los Angeles-based writer who previously covered emerging job market trends using proprietary ZipRecruiter data.

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