Job openings have surged to nearly three times pre-pandemic levels

November 4, 2021

The number of job postings has skyrocketed to nearly three times pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest CareerBuilder data that reveals massive shifts in the economy and labor market.

Job demand is high in these key sectors

Since the start of the pandemic, job postings in transportation, healthcare and sales have gone from less than 40% of the market to now comprising of the majority of job postings. A quarter of growth has come from transportation and freight alone, reflecting changing consumer demands and a strained supply chain. 

Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media have seen a measurable decrease in job postings. However, 19 out of 23 major groups saw strong gains. Education-related roles have seen a 1423% increase, more than 10 times the increase of healthcare jobs, which saw the third-largest gains of major groups. 

Significant job gains in all 50 states 

Nearly all states saw 2-3 times pre-pandemic levels of job postings, with Mississippi, Connecticut and North Dakota seeing the strongest job posting growth during the pandemic at 4-5 times that of April 2020. 

Working from home has changed the DNA of work 

More than 30 times the number of employers now offer remote work compared to before the pandemic, while as recently as August less than half as many offered compared to now.

Wage and sign-on-bonus trends reveal hiring patterns 

While jobs are now being filled at the same rate as pre-pandemic levels, the dramatic increase in postings makes this progress less significant. Pay may be a factor: More than half of jobs listing salary information are in the $25,000-$50,000 salary range, a percentage that is largely unchanged since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, employers are offering sign-on bonuses at around 30 times the pre-pandemic rate — CareerBuilder has seen sign-on bonuses in healthcare as high at $50,000 — indicating that steady earnings may matter more to workers than sign-on bonuses. 

Childcare, quit rates, vaccines and the lingering spread of COVID 

Childcare costs and access continue to keep many workers on the sidelines, putting an enormous strain on the job market.  

Though the pandemic is still a concern for many, 75% of US workers are vaccinated and another 5% say they plan to be, according to Gallup. That still leaves millions of workers unable or unwilling to secure employment due to mandates or health concerns. 

Last month was dubbed “Quitober” as record numbers of workers continue to quit their jobs. The vacancies compound as existing team members are strained by taking on mounting company tasks — so they quit too. 

At the same time, the job postings in healthcare and education — which require a degree and a high level of mental and physical energy but typically don’t pay as much as other professional roles — are especially high. These are areas of work that have fundamentally changed in the COVID era, with increased demands of workers leading to burnout, and a particular focus on vaccine mandates dividing workers and driving some to quit or lose their jobs. 

The abundance of open jobs across booming industries, combined with high quite rates, a steady percentage of low-to-mid-paying jobs and a scarcity of workers, reveal areas employers should focus on as they revamp their strategies.

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