5 job trends to watch for in 2018

While some industries and many individuals continue to struggle, 2017 saw the job market get even stronger. Unemployment reached record lows and despite two major hurricanes and an uncertain political landscape, the economy added 1.9 million new jobs as of November.

In some professions (though not all), this has led to what could be described as a war for talent. That's true in some technology jobs, healthcare, e-commerce, and key professional services, according to data from Glassdoor. In fact, as the year comes to a close, the jobs and recruiting site reported that there are a record 6.1 million open jobs in the United States today.

RELATED: 12 cities with the most job openings

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12 cities with the most job openings

12. Jobs in Phoenix

  • Population: 1,615,017
  • GDP: 219,968
  • Job openings: 13,409

Current growth in Phoenix is slower than it was during past booms, but the economy is still creating jobs. The Phoenix metro area is chock-full of small businesses — 96 percent of the region's 126,000 businesses have 50 or fewer employees.

The leisure and hospitality sector is booming, with growth of 7.1 percent from July 2016 to July 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next fastest-growing sector was construction, with 3.5 percent growth over the same time frame.

11. Jobs in Denver

  • Population: 693,060
  • GDP: 193,172
  • Job openings: 13,958

The chief economist for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Patty Silverstein, forecasts strong job growth continuing for Denver after a "stellar" 2016. The Denver job growth forecast is 2.4 percent in 2017, with four sectors posting strong employment growth:

  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Education and health services
  • Financial activities
  • Natural resources and construction

Strong economic activity and net migration are expected to push home prices higher, which could have positive, ancillary benefits on the economy.

10. Jobs in Boston

  • Population: 673,184
  • GDP: 396,549
  • Job openings: 14,631

Boston is a college town, home to prestigious institutions likes Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College. In fact, as of 2016, the city had the largest concentration of top-tier research universities in the country.

Boston also has a number of the country's best hospitals, including Massachusetts General. Thus, it is no surprise that the highest level of employment in the city is in education and health services.

9. Jobs in Dallas

  • Population: 1,317,929
  • GDP: 485,683
  • Job openings: 15,057

Dallas is a bright spot in the Texas economy. Economic growth over the next five years is expected to reach 4.2 percent per year, according to the city's economic forecast.

Dallas is a key driver of economic growth in the state, according to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The city is blessed with a diverse economy and its business concentrations are in logistics, technology and corporate headquarters.

8. Jobs in San Francisco

  • Population: 870,887
  • GDP: 431,704
  • Job openings: 15,972

San Francisco is the fourth most-populated state in California and it runs neck-and-neck with Los Angeles when it comes to having the most job openings.

With a well-known concentration of financial services companies, including Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab, it should be no surprise that the professional and business services industry is No. 1 when it comes to employment in San Francisco.

7. Jobs in Los Angeles

  • Population: 3,976,322
  • GDP: 930,817
  • Job openings: 17,061

Los Angeles is the capital of the world for show business — and it's the largest city in the state. As a result, the city's economy is naturally large and diversified.

Away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles is also the home to the nation's No. 1 container port, which makes trade its top industry.

Education and health services come in a close second.

6. Jobs in Seattle

  • Population: 704,352
  • GDP: 313,654
  • Job openings: 17,576

Seattle's economy is well-rounded, which results in many job opportunities. Seattle offers employment in a variety of industries, ranging from trade to transportation and utilities to professional and business services to government to education and health services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Seattle's economic development plan focuses on "business cluster development," or the effort to align companies in a geographic area that work in the same industry. The city believes that this type of coordinated, economic development activity is the key to Seattle's economic growth.

5. Jobs in Washington, D.C.

  • Population: 681,170
  • GDP: 491,042
  • Job openings: 18,541

As befitting the nation's capital, government jobs in DC make up the largest employment sector. The city also offers high levels of employment in the fields of professional and business services and education and health services.

The city has several organizations and agencies that focus on potential economic development opportunities, and it has initiatives designed to develop small business owners.

4. Jobs in Houston

  • Population: 2,303,482
  • GDP: 503,311
  • Job openings: 19,564

Although Houston's economic situation might change in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Harvey, it stands at No. 4 on this list of cities with the most job openings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries with the most workers in Houston are:

    • Trade
    • Transportation and utilities
    • Professional and business services
    • Government
    • Education services
    • Health services
    • Leisure and hospitality
    • Manufacturing

The city's economic development plan identifies the energy, manufacturing and medical sectors with the most robust growth.

3. Jobs in Atlanta

  • Population: 472,522
  • GDP: 339,203
  • Job openings: 20,712

Atlanta's two main industries — in terms of the percentage of the population that is employed in those fields — are sales, administrative support, management, business and finance. The city, however, also employs those in the science, education, library, engineering and computer sectors at a rate above the national average.

The city's most recent Comprehensive Development Plan was adopted on Nov. 21, 2016, to further economic growth in the city. Invest Atlanta, the city's development authority, is focused on growing residential and commercial economic vitality in the city.

2. Jobs in Chicago

  • Population: 2,704,958
  • GDP: 640,656
  • Job openings: 25,104

Chicago, has the second-highest number of job openings on the list. Chicago's economy is guided by an economic development plan entitled, "A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs," created by World Business Chicago and the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago's diverse economy has 13 key industries:

    • Auto manufacturing
    • Biotech
    • Business services
    • Energy
    • Fabricated metals
    • Fintech
    • Food manufacturing
    • Freight
    • Health services
    • Information technology
    • Plastics and chemicals
    • Manufacturing
    • Medical technology

Technical jobs are particularly plentiful in Chicago — particularly for data scientists, JavaScript developers and network security engineers.

1. Jobs in New York

  • Population: 8,537,673
  • GDP: 1,602,705
  • Job openings: 37,428

New York City boasts a growing, diverse economy that has many growing industries, hence its No. 1 position in this list of cities with job openings.

New York's core businesses include technology, fashion, food manufacturing, food retail, healthcare, industrial and manufacturing, life sciences and urban innovation and sustainability.

New York is particularly booming when it comes to the startup sector, which accounts for more than 291,000 jobs and more than $124 billion in economic output.

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That does not mean the labor market is all good or in any way stagnant. The types of workers needed has begun to change. That's something Glassdoor's Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain addresses in the company's What's Ahead for Jobs? Five Disruptions to Watch in 2018 report.

"Although the nation's labor market is strong heading into 2018, average wages for many remain stubbornly flat and a stark divide remains in who benefits from continued job growth, with tech skills earning a premium and many other jobs facing significant changes with the rise of AI and automation," said Chamberlain.

A robot and a human shake hands.

Automation is already changing the job market. Image source: Getty Images.

What five trends are on tap?

If you are currently in the workforce or plan to enter it or change jobs in 2018, there are some things you need to know. Not all of these will have an immediate impact in the new year. Some will take time while others are already becoming evident.

  • AI is changing the future of work: In 2017 we began to see hints of this with fast food chains adding ordering kiosks and warehouses using automated order pickers. This trend will accelerate in the coming year.
  • Modernization of mobile job applications: In general, while it's possible to apply for some jobs from a mobile device, it's not practical. That's going to change as companies create tools to reflect how people use devices.
  • Job growth in healthcare, technology, and labor-intensive roles: As the U.S. population ages, demand for healthcare workers will increase. Technology job growth has already started and labor-intensive jobs -- specifically ones that don't make sense to automate -- will grow as well.
  • Increased transparency in the application and interview process: Under the current system in many cases, a person sends off a job application only to be kept completely in the dark. "In 2018, job seekers can expect more visibility into both the application process and the status of job applications in real time" according to Chamberlain.
  • Encouraging employee passions through role experimentation: Essentially companies are finding ways to create more-specific jobs outside the traditional structure in order to support and retain employees. These positions put workers in place that both suit their abilities and nurture their passions.

It's also worth noting that in 2018 Glassdoor expects the growth of technology jobs to move well beyond the technology sector. Expect this to specifically impact retail, finance, manufacturing, consulting, and even healthcare.

What can you do?

It's important to conduct an honest assessment of your current skills and the changing direction of the workforce. There's no profession where ongoing training is a bad idea, but in some it's essential. In other cases, workers need to understand where their current skills will leave them as the labor market changes.

For example, truck driver is an in-demand job right now, but it's also a profession that could be automated in a number of years. Other professions, like some retail and fast food workers, face potentially losing their jobs to automation even sooner.

No matter what you do these trends are likely to impact you. Because of that, it's always better to get ahead of the curve rather than trying to learn new skills after the job market has already moved on.

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