New Research Reveals Job Seeker Activity Continues at a Solid Pace

The U.S. workforce remains on the move with one-fourth of the labor market actively pursuing a career change, according to a new report published by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the technology industry and workforce.

Despite growing economic uncertainty job seekers and employers continue to pursue opportunities. During Q2 U.S. employers deployed more than 15 million job postings, with 1.5 million in tech job roles alone.¹ A net 41% of job seekers view the current employment market as strong or very strong, with 27% rating it about average, according to data from CompTIA’s “Job Seeker Trends” research.

“Redeploying talent in the U.S. labor market continues to fall short for job seekers and employers alike,” said Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA president and CEO. “Confidence gaps, career transition gaps and reskilling gaps are not insurmountable barriers but rather opportunities to chart a new course for individuals and the companies that employ them.”

Among individuals currently looking for new employment 63% have searched for jobs within their current or most recent career field and 61% have looked at new opportunities in a different career field. The top ten career fields under consideration are:

  1. Sales, Marketing, Retail, Real Estate or Related
  2. Hospitality, Food, Travel and Tourism
  3. Healthcare or Medical
  4. Business, Financial, Accounting, Analyst or Operations
  5. Information Technology (IT), Data, Software or Cybersecurity
  6. Manufacturing or Production
  7. Education, Teaching, or Instruction
  8. Personal and Professional Care, Service, or Child Care
  9. Transportation, Drivers, or Material Moving
  10. Construction, Skilled Trades, Operators, or Architects

Though a majority of job seekers expect to need additional training when transitioning into a new career, a relatively small subset of job seekers reported taking a training class or other instruction (15%). About one in five said they’ve used career planning tools, skills assessments and related resources to gauge their readiness for a new job.

Regarding technology jobs, a net 55% of current job seekers said that the confidence gap is a factor in their career plans, potentially discouraging them from looking at options in the tech field. These concerns are more prevalent among the 18-34 and 35-44 age segments, and interestingly, slightly higher among those with advanced degrees versus those without a four-year degree.

Gen Z workers have a relatively higher rate of concern around fear of failure in pursuing a tech job (37% vs. 27% for Gen X) and around negative stereotypes of the “tech work culture.” Gen X workers express a higher-level confidence gap around pursuing a tech job without a four-year degree (31% vs. 22% for Gen Z), which likely reflects changing practical and philosophical attitudes toward 4-yr degrees among younger cohorts.

The confidence gap is a significant barrier at a time when employers of all sizes and in all industries are looking to hire technology workers. U.S. tech companies have added workers for 19 consecutive months and employers throughout the economy added 160,000 core technology workers in June., according to CompTIA.²

Other barriers that deter job seekers from accepting new opportunities regardless of industry include the location of the job and travel or commute time (46% of respondents), “red flags” with the hiring manager or potential co-workers (43%) and a lack of transparency about pay and benefits during the hiring process (43%).

CompTIA’s “Job Seeker Trends” is based on a survey of adults in the U.S. labor force encompassing individuals who are currently employed or actively looking for work. Data was weighted to approximate the makeup of the U.S. workforce based on gender, educational attainment, age race and region. The survey was conducted by Morning Consult in mid-June. The full report is available here.