Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota e-Labor Bulletin

November 2018

South Dakota Hot Careers

Over the last three months, our Labor Bulletin articles have covered industry employment projections, occupational employment projections and occupational demand projections—each for the period 2016 to 2026. A look at expected employment trends is a helpful indicator for planners of all types. A deeper look at occupational demand (the number of workers estimated to be needed) is even more helpful in planning to meet workforce needs.

When education and training program providers consider projected demand for workers in determining which programs to fund, there is another important factor to consider. There may be overwhelming demand for workers in occupations for which a proposed training program prepares employees. But will the worker earn a wage justifying the cost of the program? In other words, what is the return on investment—for both the training or education provider AND for the individual pursuing that education?

To that end, LMIC analyzes occupational demand projections AND occupational wage data to identify those occupations most likely to provide a positive return on investment. In other words, demand for workers is projected to be high in the occupation, AND workers currently in the occupation earn relatively high wages. DLR calls these high demand/high wage occupations “Hot Careers.”

To be a “Hot Career,” an occupation must meet the following criteria:

  1. be projected to show employment growth to 2026.
  2. be among the 30 occupations with the highest projected average annual demand for workers to 2026 (or having an average annual demand for workers 155 or greater).
  3. have an average wage more than $32,338 using 2017 wage data. (In 2017, half of the workers in South Dakota earned $32,338 or less, and half earned more, making it the median wage.)
  4. The table below shows South Dakota's Hot Careers, including the data for each of these factors that put them on the list of the state's high demand/high wage occupations.


    South Dakota Hot Careers
    SOC Code Occupational Title Annual Average Demand 2016 Workers 2026 Workers Percent Change in Workers Annual Average Wage 2017
    13-2011 Accountants and Auditors 513 5,073 5,570 9.8 $65,456
    49-3023 Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 238 2,364 2,506 6.0 $39,581
    47-2031 Carpenters 639 6,343 6,810 7.4 $35,774
    47-2051 Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers 229 1,904 2,080 9.2 $37,028
    21-1021 Child, Family, and School Social Workers 187 1,701 1,817 6.8 $39,767
    21-2011 Clergy 209 1,790 1,901 6.2 $47,036
    27-2022 Coaches and Scouts 185 1,245 1,377 10.6 $33,978
    47-2111 Electricians 265 2,288 2,383 4.2 $45,951
    25-2021 Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 324 4,156 4,407 6.0 $41,575
    47-1011 First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers 157 1,461 1,585 8.5 $63,210
    35-1012 First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers 301 1,929 2,109 9.3 $33,470
    43-1011 First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers 190 1,871 1,934 3.4 $49,263
    41-1011 First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers 435 3,813 4,061 6.5 $47,039
    11-1021 General and Operations Managers 380 4,094 4,459 8.9 $123,306
    53-3032 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 1,005 8,604 9,257 7.6 $40,853
    47-4051 Highway Maintenance Workers 173 1,665 1,711 2.8 $33,685
    41-3021 Insurance Sales Agents 315 2,884 3,171 10.0 $64,762
    43-4131 Loan Interviewers and Clerks 236 2,105 2,371 12.6 $33,425
    13-2072 Loan Officers 155 1,620 1,808 11.6 $63,988
    49-9071 Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 313 2,873 3,118 8.5 $36,597
    13-1111 Management Analysts 299 2,935 3,310 12.8 $79,099
    25-2022 Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 166 2,126 2,257 6.2 $42,518
    47-2073 Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators 229 1,976 2,075 5.0 $43,753
    41-2022 Parts Salespersons 226 1,627 1,793 10.2 $34,537
    47-2152 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 170 1,436 1,579 10.0 $43,195
    29-1141 Registered Nurses 837 12,334 14,052 13.9 $57,014
    41-4012 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products 640 5,650 6,151 8.9 $62,175
    41-4011 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products 187 1,601 1,776 10.9 $84,582
    25-2031 Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 268 3,509 3,724 6.1 $41,985
    51-4121 Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers 391 3,150 3,555 12.9 $37,614

    SOC - Standard Occupational Classification System
    Click here for descriptions of SOC occupations by code (2010 version).
    Data is preliminary and subject to revision.
    Data for occupations with fewer than 20 workers in 2016 is not included.
    Data presented for occupations will not sum to totals due to rounding and non-publishable data for additional occupations included in totals. Total openings are the summation of openings due to employment change, openings to replace individuals exiting the labor force entirely AND openings to replace workers permanently transferring from one occupation to another occupation. Annualized results are calculated by dividing by 10, the number of years in the projection period. For more information, see Wage data are 2017 estimates. Annual Median Wage is the wage at which 50 percent of workers in the occupation earn less than or equal to the amount, and 50 percent earn more. The Annual Average Wage represents the arithmetic mean of the wage data collected, calculated by dividing the estimated total wages for an occupation by the number of workers in that occupation. The average wage is also referred to as the mean wage. For more information on wage data, see

    Source: Labor Market Information Center, South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, August 2018

    Money Makes the Difference

    If you look at last month’s article on occupations with the greatest projected demand for workers, you will find just one occupation appearing on the Hot Careers list: Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers. In all other cases, occupations making the Hot Careers list were not on the list of having the greatest projected demand for workers. Why the difference? Wages.

    As analyzed in last month’s article, occupational transfers (those who leave one occupation for another) are a huge component of the overall projected demand for workers in the occupation. And as we learned in the article, transfers between occupations tend to be more common in occupations often considered “entry level,” where working conditions such as work schedules and the offering of employee benefits are less desirable. Wages in those occupations also tend to be more “entry level.”

    Because of the criteria used, occupations on the Hot Careers list are also projected to have high demand for workers—but also have higher pay. You’ll notice on the Hot Careers list many occupations require postsecondary education or other vocational, technical or “on the job” training beyond high school. In other cases, the occupations often require extensive work experience in related fields, such as the four first-line supervisor occupations. For the most part, the Hot Careers require a unique knowledge and skill set achieved through education beyond high school, or through occupational-specific technical and/or on-the-job training. Demand for workers cannot be met with those who do not possess the knowledge, skills or experience. In the labor market where supply and demand converge, the filtered supply of workers means wages tend to be higher.

    Let’s dig a bit deeper into the demand factors helping to elevate these occupations to the Hot Careers list. Annual demand due to employment growth is projected to account for just six percent of total annual demand among all occupations (remember the first pie graph in last month’s article). But there are five of the Hot Careers for which employment growth is projected to account for a double-digit percentage of total annual demand for workers. Those occupations are registered nurses, loan interviewers and clerks, management analysts, loan officers and welders.

    Size Matters

    These are all large occupations and seem to be following the national trend with higher than average employment growth. In the case of registered nurses, management analysts and welders, the growth is likely due to the diverse industries in which these occupations are found. Not only are these occupations found in many industries, but the industries employing them (Ambulatory Health Care Services, Hospitals, Professional Scientific and Technical Services, Management Companies and Enterprises and Manufacturing) are all large, fast-growing industries. These occupations also account for a large portion of employment in those industries.

    Although the number of industries which employ loan interviewers and clerks and loan officers is more limited, both occupations are employed in large numbers in the Credit Intermediation and Related Activities industry. Though this industry is not growing faster than average, it is growing. Even in an industry which is growing slower than average, large occupations in the industry will continue to grow.

    Annual demand due to labor force exits is projected to be 41 percent of total annual demand. Just a few of the 30 Hot Careers have a greater proportion of projected annual demand due to labor force exits. Those occupations are Registered Nurses; Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education; Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education; and Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education. It could be said these nursing and teaching professions are quite physically and mentally demanding and workers in them therefore tend to leave the labor force at younger ages (such as due to retirement) than in some occupations.

    Career Changes Drive Demand

    The new projections methodology now accounts for demand created due to occupational transfers—the need to fill openings created when workers move from one occupation to another. In fact, the new component made for annual demand estimates nearly five times higher than with the prior methodology. The Hot Careers are no exception. Annual demand due to occupational transfers are expected to account for 56 percent of average annual demand among the Hot Careers, even greater than the 53 percent proportion among all occupations.

    Except for the five Hot Careers we already mentioned, employment growth is projected to account for a larger than average proportion of annual demand, the remaining Hot Careers fit the mold of having the greatest demand due to occupational transfers. We already discussed heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers last month, mentioning the work schedule and stress of hazardous driving conditions as causing burn-out of workers in this occupation.

    In some cases, the physical demands inherent in these occupations likely contribute to a higher than average occupational transfer rate. Examples are highway maintenance workers, general maintenance and repair workers, carpenters, operating engineers, cement masons and concrete finishers, parts salespersons, automotive service technicians and mechanics, plumbers, pipefitters and steamers, electricians, and welders, cutters, solderers and brazers. These are all physically demanding fields in which workers often spend hours on their feet and endure wear and tear on their bodies.

    In other cases, some of these Hot Careers are, by nature, “stepping stone” occupations involving a natural progression up a career ladder, into a different occupation. For example, experience in the first-line supervisor occupations can often lead workers to a higher management level position in the same basic field. Loan interviewers and clerks, and loan officers, may transfer to higher-level financial service occupations. These occupations also provide opportunities to become self-employed or start a spin-off business.

    In addition, many of the skills learned as a construction worker or mechanic are transferable to other occupations within the same industry (such as manufacturing). So, when the physical demands of these occupations cause too much wear and tear on the body, these workers take opportunities to transfer into other occupations less physically demanding or offering preferred working conditions.

    Other Hot Careers with high transfer rates are insurance sales agents, both sales representative occupations, management analysts and general managers. The skills and the networking required for success in these occupations often lead to opportunities in another occupation—with workers accepting job offers for reasons ranging from just being ready for a career change or a higher salary to more flexible hours or the ability to work from home.

    Stress and burn-out also play a role in some of these Hot Careers having a higher occupational transfer rate. For example, insurance sales agents and the two sales representative positions face burn-out from the constant challenge to perform well in sales, encouraging them to seek work in other occupations.

    Explore the Hot Careers

    LMIC has many resources available for individuals to learn more about opportunities right here in South Dakota within these Hot Careers. Learn more about these resources, including:

    • A Hot Careers flier
    • Occupational Profiles for each Hot Career (Covering what workers do on the job, relevant interest areas, work values, abilities and skills required, education and training needed, recommended levels for the National Career Readiness Certificate, the South Dakota industries where workers are employed, employment outlook and wage estimates and additional references.)
    • Links to current job openings advertised online in each Hot Career
    • Links to learn even more about each occupation in the virtual labor market data system