10 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2017

Most in-demand jobs require specialized skills

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer February 14, 2017
  • 1. Data Scientist is the most difficult position for which to hire in 2017, according to CareerCast. Click through to see more jobs that recruiters and HR will be challenged to fill this year.

  • 2. Financial Advisor

  • 3. General and Operations Manager

  • 4. Home Health Aide

  • 5. Information Security Analyst

  • 6. Medical Services Manager

  • 7. Physical Therapist

  • 8. Registered Nurse

  • 9. Software Engineer

  • 10. Truck Driver

Need to fill positions in finance, health care and technology? Those industries are among the toughest for which to find workers in 2017, according to a new report.

Job search portal CareerCast tracked 200 jobs using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and industries to create its annual list of the 10 most in-demand professions.

More companies are hiring, leading to a shortage of qualified applicants in certain high-demand sectors.

The top 10 most in-demand positions in 2017 are:

  • Data scientist.
  • Financial advisor.
  • General and operations manager.
  • Home health aide.
  • Information security analyst.
  • Medical services manager.
  • Physical therapist.
  • Registered nurse.
  • Software engineer.
  • Truck driver.

There aren't enough workers with the qualifications needed for the more skilled professions, said Kyle Kensing, online content editor for CareerCast. Reasons for hiring gaps differ depending on industry and profession.

Data Science

Data scientist has gone "from being a highly specialized tech role a few years ago to a very common job title," said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor. "Data scientists are in demand in health care, government, finance and even among large retailers today. Every company with data is hiring for these roles, to help improve business decisions, forecasting, pricing, logistics and operations."

Data scientist was named by Glassdoor as the "Best Job in America" for 2017, based on median annual base salary, job satisfaction rating on the site and number of job openings.

Kensing added that because the data scientist role is a relatively new career, there isn't an established workforce of trained professionals and many universities do not yet offer degree programs specific to data science, which means workers are entering the field from other disciplines.

"You used to need a Ph.D. in statistics," Chamberlain said. "But today many data scientists have B.A. degrees or have transitioned over from fields like financial analysis."

IT and Health Care

Information security jobs, too, are becoming increasingly common as companies in all industries become more aware of the need to protect their data and IT systems from attempted phishing attacks and security breaches, Chamberlain said. "The growing use of data in nearly every industry is fueling this, including demographic and purchasing history data on customers, website user behavior, and other potentially sensitive data."

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CareerCast identified nursing as having the most job openings of all careers and expects the field to need an additional 440,000 workers by 2024.

"Health care is the 800-pound gorilla of the labor market today," Chamberlain said. "About one in every 5 job openings in America today is in health care, and we see that high demand for workers reflected in rising wage growth for many health care jobs. As Baby Boomers age and demand more health care than ever, we'll likely continue to see nursing roles remain in high demand." 


CareerCast forecasts that the trucking industry will need an additional 100,000 workers in the next seven years. Drivers left the industry for other types of work during the Great Recession, leaving a worker gap as the economy improved, Kensing said. As employment overall has grown, trucking has struggled to reach pre-recession labor levels.

Additional reasons for the labor shortage include an aging workforce and an industry that's "not a top-of-mind profession" with today's high school graduates, said Rodney Smoczyk, SHRM-CP, director of recruitment at McLane Co., a supply chain services provider operating 80 distribution centers across the U.S. and one of the nation's largest private fleets. "Although the earning potential for delivery drivers is well above the national average, driver jobs are not resonating with Millennials. The minimum required age for a [commercial driver's license] is 21. Many graduates will have established themselves in other professions by this age, creating an additional challenge."

To attract new driver candidates, McLane engages with high school students to introduce them to the driving profession, nondriver employees who may be interested in careers as drivers and military veterans with truck driving experience. The company also offers benefits on the first day of hire, including a 401(k) plan with company match.

"The driving profession has a stigma that the job will require being on the road for extended periods of time, which means less time spent with family and friends," Smoczyk said. "While this is true for long-haul or over-the-road driver positions, McLane is different in that we offer only short-haul and regional routes which allow our drivers more home time. And to appeal to drivers seeking a work/life balance, we adjust routes to ensure that driving for McLane is family-friendly."

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