These Are The Industries With The Most Jobs

Tech rises to the top, but not in the cities you’d expect. And some jobs may take a long time to fill.

These Are The Industries With The Most Jobs
[Photo: Flickr user Phalinn Ooi]

Unemployment is at a historic low, and the number of job openings is up to 5.4 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘s most recent count.


Where are these jobs? SmartRecruiters, a software provider to the likes of Equinox Fitness, Atlassian, and Ubisoft, among others, analyzed data from 700 companies and over 100,000 jobs to find the positions most in demand and the cities that have the most openings. SmartRecruiters’s analysis also offers an eye-opening look into the timing for posting positions and the best time to apply for them.  

Most Popular Job Industries

SmartRecruiters found that the five most popular job industries in the U.S. were:

  1. Technology                               
  2. Health care                                
  3. Communications                     
  4. Retail                                       
  5. Manufacturing

The study found that 24% of all job openings listed across the country fell into the tech sector, and in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Austin, and Los Angeles, demand is as high as 43%.

An open position doesn’t automatically guarantee a flood of applicants, though. IT jobs, for example, were only getting an average of 4.3 applicants per posting, and across all jobs, only about five.


This could indicate that the requirements for the jobs were beyond candidates‘ experience or education levels. Another survey found that as many as 27% of employers are recruiting those who hold master’s degrees for positions that used to only require four-year degrees.

Another reason could be the need for advanced skills in relatively new areas such as security, storage, management, and analysis of big data or cloud expertise. Other new skills such as HANA (database) and Puppet (programming language) command some of the highest salaries in tech.

Why The Time To Hire Is Longer For Some Positions

Those who do apply need to be prepared to wait. SmartRecruiters’s CEO Jerome Ternynck tells Fast Company that for software developers, the time to hire–that is, when an offer is accepted–is about 43 days. The time it typically takes to start is as much as 67 days in the U.S., he says, and longer in Europe.

“What this data point speaks to is the fact that increasingly, we see companies continuously hire as many good developers as they can,” he explains. In recruiting jargon, Ternynck says this is known as “evergreen reqs,” which means the jobs are posted continuously to keep candidates in the pipeline. This number was adjusted from 247 days, which reflects the nature of keeping a job posting live all the time. Ternynck says this practice is increasing tension in the talent market for developers, but also for numerous other positions. 


Outside the tech industry, the longest lead time to hire is in the health care industry because they too, use evergreen reqs. Unadjusted figures for behavior therapists, for example, are close to a year, caregivers 256 days, and medical assistants 220 days.

Ternynck says one factor in the lengthening of the time it takes to hire across industries is the rise of companies using assessments and testing. He says as many as 73% of SmartRecruiters’s customers embed an assessment in their selection process. “These could be skills tests or behavioral assessments,” says Ternynck, and can be used for all candidates or just those on the shortlist. “The average time impact across all types of tests is six days,” he notes.

Where Are The Tech Jobs?

The answer is surprising. While technology jobs rose to the top of the data sets as being the most in demand, the most likely place to find one of those positions is Austin, which beat out hubs like San Francisco and New York City’s Silicon Alley in this survey.

Although Austin is better known as a hot spot for live music, SmartRecruiters found that only 2% of job postings in the area were in the entertainment industry. A recent Glassdoor survey also gave Austin high marks for its number of job openings, job satisfaction, and the cost of living. That’s in line with recent findings from Dice, a careers site for tech professionals, which revealed that Texas pays its tech workers competitive salaries.
Other surprises were found in Los Angeles. Undoubtedly a leader in the film and television industry, health care and education emerged as more popular job categories at 19% and 13%, respectively. That’s in comparison to 8% demand for entertainment/media jobs. The most communications openings are in New York (13%), while the hottest market for finance is in San Francisco at 5%.  

The Best Time Of Year To Post And Apply For Jobs

Analysis of SmartRecruiters’s data found that the months with the highest number of job candidates happens to be the most strategic time for companies to do their hiring. May, June, and July topped the list, due in part to the influx of new graduates entering the job market. The data indicates that the fewest candidates are in circulation in October and November.
While they won’t have a lot of competition in the lead-up to Thanksgiving as companies don’t tend to post many positions during this time, the best time for job seekers to start pounding the pavement is at the beginning of the new year. January, February, and March boast the highest number of jobs to be filled.  

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.