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Help Wanted In Filling These Hot Jobs

It’s a job hunter’s dream come true: A shortage of talent and a wealth of needy employers has made for a hot job market for some.

David Zalubowski

Among the jobs in most demand are engineers, machinists, skilled trades, technicians, accountants, mechanics, IT staff and production operators, according to a survey conducted by staffing and employment services company Manpower.

(See slideshow for complete list of jobs.)

"Millions of Baby Boomers are either retiring or thinking seriously about retiring,” explains Manpower VP Melanie Homes. “As people are leaving the workforce, not enough of the younger generations are choosing these careers" making it hard for employers to fill certain jobs.

The most in-demand this year are engineers. Larry Jacobson, the executive director of the National Society of Professional Engineers, says he's been fielding calls from employers saying "they can't find enough engineers to hire."

"The impending retirement of engineers" in their 60's, explains Jacobson, is one of the main causes of the supply and demand problem. With "the most talented and experienced engineers retiring," he says, it leaves employers scrambling for young talent to train before the Baby Boomers are long gone.

The lack of engineers in the workforce has forced employers to settle and "hire marginally talented people who can be coached to learn a particular discipline," says Jacobson. For example, desperate employers will hire someone who majored in civil engineering for an open mechanical engineering position, as long as the employer feels the person can be trained.

Those that are graduating from college with engineering degrees, or already are have engineering skills, are seeing "salaries going up quickly," says Jacobson. He adds that any engineer major graduating from college today has "multiple job offers."

Another hot field may be a bit surprising-- manufacturing, negating the perception that most manufacturing jobs are being shipped overseas, the survey notes. Among the manufacturing jobs in most demand are machinists, mechanics and production operators.

"Americans stopped going into blue collar jobs for sexier careers," says Mitch Free, CEO and founder of mfg.com , a manufacturing marketplace. Free, a former machinist himself, says Americans just "aren't following this career path."

"Manufacturing has a more negative reputation with students," says Lynn Sarikas, director of the MBA career center at Northeastern University, "not only are they aware of significant layoffs and outsourcing in the industry, there is also a perception that manufacturing is a bit behind the times."

She says that hardly true in that manufacturing jobs increasingly require tech skills as these jobs become less hands-on.  

Other hot jobs are in the financial and accounting fields. Jody Queen-Hubert the executive director at Pace University's career services center, says that "its accounting that has the serious demand issues."

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 signed into law following corporate corruption scandals at Enron, Tyco, Worldcomand others, called for stricter accounting standards and created  jobs in the field requiring a new set of skills. "Compliance became the focus," says Queen-Hubert, but no one was trained for the new jobs - and at the same time - students shunned accounting as a career because it seemed less glamorous.

With accounting jobs unfilled, employers are battling for young talent still in college. Firms target students in their sophomore year  by "wining and dining them" during three-day trips, says Queen-Hubert. The trips, if all goes well, can lead to a summer internship and then a job offer before graduation.

With demand so high, accounting majors have “more choices and opportunities,” according to Barry Melancon CEO of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

It’s a “pretty good situation to be in,” he adds. 

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