Hot jobs coupled with occupational mobility are important factors in identifying a career path or administering education and training programs.
Registered nurses rank highest on the hot jobs list — those that, on average, rank high in the abundance of jobs in the economy, the fastest rate of growth and the highest pay. Registered nurses continue to be one of the most in-demand occupations in Idaho. The top five hot jobs through 2020 are in the health care industry.
The number of registered nurses in Idaho is expected to grow faster than the nation.
According to Economic Modeling Specialists International, by the year 2020 Idaho would expect to add 1,800 registered nurses to the workforce. But at the projected rate of growth, the state should add 4,660 registered nurses – an advantage of 2,860 over the national growth rate.
This competitive effect is greater than for any other occupation because of the expected number of replacements due to retirements, accelerated aging population in Idaho and increasing access to health insurance. Furthermore, the pressure is rising on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible, resulting in more people admitted to long-term care facilities or outpatient care centers and greater demand for home health care, generating the need for more registered nurses.
Computer and software occupations are also on Idaho’s hot jobs list but are expected to grow more slowly than the nation. However, computer and software occupations provide more mobility within and across industries from manufacturing to professional services and government. Because computers are used in most industries, workers in computer-related occupations have many employment options. Such jobs make workers more versatile, allowing them to adjust to the market and regular business cycles. It also allows more choices about the type of employer for which they work.
The more widely an occupation has jobs in a variety of industries, the more mobile it may be.
Over 60 percent of registered nurses work in Idaho hospitals, 13 percent for home health care services, nearly 8 percent in physician offices and another 7 percent in nursing care facilities. The composition may change over time due to trends in health care and as Idaho’s population evolves. Although paid significantly less and requiring fewer credentials, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, or LPNs, are spread across more industries, giving them more mobility.
Occupational mobility also relates to transferrable skills with equal pay. Using EMSI’s compatibility index, which is based on education level, wages and competency requirements, the top five hot jobs had lower compatibility with other occupations of similar pay and aptitude than occupations with more cross-industry employment. For example, a critical care nurse was the only occupation with pay and aptitude similar to a registered nurse.
A market research analyst and marketing specialist had nine in-demand occupations of similar aptitude and wages including business intelligence analyst, marketing manager, management analyst and financial analyst. Training and development specialists had seven compatible in-demand occupations. LPNs, computer systems analysts and information security analysts all had six compatible in-demand occupations with similar or higher wages.
The abundance and demand of an occupation can determine the wage and competitiveness of its share in the job market. However, the transferability of skills determines marketability. The more flexible and versatile workers are in their careers, the more marketable and valuable they can be to an employer.
Alivia.Metts@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 457-8789, ext. 3486