Some occupations prove recession proof, are others poised for a rebound in 2014?

Engineering, IT continue to climb though hiring challenges remain.

At the 2013 midyear point, 53 percent of job seekers surveyed by Monster reported higher confidence that they would land a new job within the next 10 to 12 months, marking an improvement over those surveyed at the beginning of the year.

Those working in engineering, health care, finance and information technology (IT) — typically thought to be recession-proof — reported a positive outlook, and they had reason to do so.

Online job demand remained strong within health care for registered nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Industrial, mechanical and electrical engineers were also in demand. IT continued hiring for a variety of occupations such as software applications developers, web developers and computer system analysts.

Meanwhile, demand for sales professionals also saw somewhat of a comeback. Retail in particular saw notable growth with demand both for retail salespersons as well as their supervisors.

Manufacturing’s return to form

There is a unique situation developing in American manufacturing.

Workers in manufacturing reported being unhappy and interested in seeking more fulfilling jobs. Only 34 percent reported that they would be confident in finding a new job if they looked for one. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they had difficulty finding a job in this industry in 2013 as compared to 2012.

But this industry appears to be poised for a turnaround, according to government data:

  • According to the November 2013 jobs report, manufacturing added 27,000 jobs with gains occurring in food manufacturing and motor vehicle parts. This marks the most number of jobs added in this sector since March 2012.
  • Online job demand in this occupational category grew nearly 8 percent from September to November of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, and over 35 percent compared to 2011, according to data supplied by Wanted Technologies.
  • Manufacturing is poised to capitalize on existing trends in 2014: Growing domestic demand, including car and home sales, will continue to have a positive effect on factory and manufacturing jobs.

“Manufacturing was hit hard and has yet to fully recover the jobs it shed during the recession,” said Joanie Ruge, senior vice president of market development at Monster Worldwide. “However, the economic climate now seems conducive for improving domestic demand and reshoring of manufacturing jobs.”

IT, engineering employers pessimistic, but not for lack of trying

Employers and employees agree there is a dearth of job opportunities in engineering and IT, according to Monster survey data. But these occupational categories do have a staffing issue: There’s a skills gap.

The employers in these sectors have found it difficult to find candidates that possess the unique skill sets to fill the very-particular job descriptions.

Though 60 percent of employers in engineering firms reported a higher demand for their jobs in 2013, only 39 percent of those surveyed were confident they would be able to staff all of their jobs. Seventy-four percent of employers said there is a lack of qualified candidates.

The numbers are similar in IT: 60 percent of employers in this sector report a need for more staff. Though there’s more confidence here, just less than half of the employers surveyed (49 percent) were confident in their ability to find talent they need to fill all the roles. More than half of the IT employers reported there are more jobs than qualified candidates.

Job seekers were optimistic in 2013, but what does that mean for 2014?

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