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March 7, 2014

The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) Research Department kicked off its first In-Demand Jobs Workshop on March 6 at the South Metro Career Center. The event was the first in a series of four workshops to present the findings of the Research Department’s In-Demand Jobs biannual report, which analyzes the top 50 growing occupations in San Diego. 

Before the In-Demand Jobs report findings were presented, keynote speaker Richard Holden—regional commissioner with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics—addressed a variety of topics, including unemployment rates, labor force participation rates, employment projections, fastest growing occupations, occupations with the largest job growth and occupations with the most job openings. 

Holden indicated that in 2010, BLS data on employment growth projected U.S. employment growth between 2010 and 2020 at 14.3 percent, while employment growth for California and San Diego County was projected at 16.3 percent and 19.1 percent, respectively. He noted, however, that the BLS updates its projections every two years, and due to a variety of factors, the U.S. projection for 2012 to 2022 was updated again to 10.8 percent.

When talking about the fastest growing occupations, Holden differentiated between job growth and employment opportunity. Specifically, data shows industrial-organizational psychologists as the fastest growing occupation (53 percent) over a 10-year period from 2012 to 2022; however, there are only 900 jobs expected in this field in the entire country during the same period. Jobs with the most openings include retail salespersons, and food preparation and serving workers, including fast food workers.

SDWP Research Analyst Kelley Fry then discussed the In-Demand Jobs report, which used BLS data and information gathered from a survey of approximately 500 employers in San Diego County last year. Unlike BLS projections, the In-Demand Jobs report only analyzed occupations that paid $13.04 or more an hour, the wage a single person needs to make to live self-sufficiently in San Diego. 

The report revealed the top in-demand jobs, divided into two categories: 1) long-term (from BLS data) and 2) short-term (employer responses). 

The top in-demand jobs, according to BLS data (long-term outlook):

  • Personal financial advisors
  • Securities, commodities and financial service sales agents
  • Management analysts
  • Registered nurses
  • Medical secretaries
  • Receptionists and information clerks
  • Market research analysts and marketing
  • Insurance sales agents

The top in-demand jobs, according to San Diego County employer responses (short-term outlook): 

  • Civil engineers
  • Computer system analysts
  • Construction laborers
  • Dental assistants
  • Dental hygienists
  • Electricians
  • Financial analysts
  • General and operations managers

Based on the report’s findings, Research Manager Tina Ngo outlined some general recommendations for job seekers:

  • A poor résumé is worse than none at all
  • Employers want concrete examples of abilities 
  • Be flexible in a dynamic work environment
  • Keep skills current
  • Attitude and non-technical (soft) skills matter
  • Develop non-technical skills assessment

The next two In-Demand Jobs events will be on March 17, 10-11 a.m., at the East County Career Center in El Cajon, and on March 27, 8:30-9:30 a.m., at the North County Career Center in Oceanside. In addition to the information presented by the SDWP Research Department, Joe Briceño, a labor market consultant with the California Employment Development Department (EDD), will be a guest speaker at both events, covering state and regional trends.

To read the full In-Demand Jobs report, visit

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