Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota e-Labor Bulletin

May 2019

The Occupational Inverse: Surprises in the Mix of Industries and Occupations

When talking occupations, there are industries in which you can readily envision an occupation being employed. For example, it’s second nature to picture registered nurses working in hospitals, welders in manufacturing plants, and cooks in restaurants. While most occupations have typical industries where they are employed, some occupations hold some surprises—industries which seem, at first thought, out of the norm. We wanted to share some of the surprising types of workplaces.

The mix of occupations found in each industry is called its staffing pattern. On the occupation side, the industries where it is employed is called an inverse staffing pattern. We chose a few unique inverse staffing patterns to share. We will look at those occupations and the industry sectors where they are employed. To clarify, an industry sector is a group of industries producing goods or services in a similar manner.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) typically work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry sector: hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc. They assess patients, maintain records and implement care plans. A couple of other industry sectors in which you may commonly think of nurses working are Educational Services (school nurses) and Government (public health nurses). Government agencies also operate health care facilities which employ registered nurses. In all these cases, the registered nurses’ primary responsibilities are still assessing and caring for patients. However, there are several other industry sectors which employ RNs. And in some cases, some of their duties may be considered non-typical.

One sector where it may seem odd to find RNs employed is Administrative Services. Employers in these industries typically provide administrative business services to other employers. RNs in this industry typically work for employment agencies as temporary or fill-in nurses, placed in medical facilities to help cover staff shortages or for permanent employees on extended leave. The medical facilities contract with employment agencies to meet these staffing needs. These nurses also generally perform the typical job duties.

Finance and Insurance is another non-typical industry sector employing RNs. In this setting, RNs often have some additional duties. They assist customers with questions about treatment plans and medical questions through phone “help lines.” These nurses may also review medical billing information from health care facilities to ensure proper procedures and billing practices are being followed.

The Professional and Technical Services sector also employs RNs, likely somewhat of a surprise to most. This industry sector includes businesses which provide accounting, engineering and scientific research. RNs employed by these types of companies generally conduct research, either in a lab or out in the field conducting clinical trials. They still provide patient care and maintain records, but with a slightly expanded purpose.

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

The responsibilities of market research analysts and marketing specialists include researching market conditions, gathering information on potential sales, and developing marketing and advertising campaigns. One industry sector typically employing them is Professional and Technical Services, which includes advertising and public relations firms. No surprises there. The Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade sector is another non-surprising employer of this occupation; these marketing analysts and specialists develop marketing plans and strategies to directly market their employers’ products to customers.

Electronic marketing and social media continue to change the way consumers look for and purchase products in today’s digital world. This has meant additional career opportunities for market research analysts and marketing specialists. Some of the job growth has been in non-typical industries, with broader types of businesses finding they need designated marketing staff with the knowledge and skills needed for increasingly sophisticated electronic marketing.

One example is the Manufacturing sector. In today’s economy, manufacturing companies have found a digital presence is necessary to remain competitive and increase product sales. Electronic communication allows them to promote their products and provide detailed product specifications and vendor information to their customer base. Digital marketing also enables them to market their company to prospective employees, providing information on job openings and benefits. Some manufacturers have utilized digital marketing to convey their reputation and dependability to customers, publicly sharing such information as company histories, leader profiles, stock standings and customer reviews of products.

Another industry employing Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists which may be surprising is Other Services. This industry includes membership associations and professional organizations. The Finance and Insurance sector is also probably not typically thought of as employing these workers. Companies in these industries market their services and programs to current and potential customers and members. As we talked about above, today’s digital economy has made such marketing a necessity for growth and success. Market research analysts and marketing specialists fill that need for companies, creating marketing strategies, promoting current products and services, identifying interest in and demand for new product lines, and expanding customer or member numbers.

Network and Computer System Administrators

Network and computer system administrators install, configure and maintain a company’s local area network (LAN). This occupation can typically be found in the Professional and Technical Services industry sector. In these industries, computer networks are commonly utilized by other companies who contract for their LAN needs. These system administrators are also typically found in Finance and Insurance industries, where safekeeping customer financial and personal information is a primary function and paramount priority.

The Manufacturing, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Educational Services sectors may all be considered non-typical industries employing these workers. The digital age has brought about the need for companies in these sectors to develop and maintain their own LAN systems to maintain their company data and share information between locations. Increasing threats to the cyber security of customer and business information has also been a major reason why a broader range of industries have hired workers specializing in computer system administration.

Below are several additional occupations whose inverse staffing patterns are particularly interesting. For each, we’ve listed a few of the typical employing industry sectors, followed by examples which may be more of a surprise.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers

Typically employed in:

  • Manufacturing (product assembly)
  • Other Services (welding repair)
  • Construction (structural iron building)

Non-typically employed in:

  • Utilities (think maintenance of equipment used in providing electrical power or natural gas, for example)
  • Wholesale Trade (think equipment service and repair needed by wholesalers of motor vehicle supplies or building materials)
  • Administrative and Waste Services (think maintenance of structures and equipment used by those providing security services or waste collection)

Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists

Typically employed in:

  • Manufacturing (truck and construction equipment assembly)
  • Wholesale Trade (vehicle service repair)
  • Transportation (truck service and repair)

Non-typically employed in:

  • Other Services (think farm and equipment repair shops)
  • Government (think repair and maintenance of heavy equipment used for street construction or repair, or snow removal)

Civil Engineers

Typically employed in:

  • Professional and Technical Services (building and infrastructure design)
  • Government (building and infrastructure design)
  • Construction (building design)

Non-typically employed in:

  • Utilities (think infrastructure planning and design)
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (think design of housing or commercial buildings)

There are more than 500 occupations in South Dakota for which we collect employment and wage data. Many of those occupations, such as secretaries, accountants, cashiers, etc., can be found throughout nearly all industry sectors because of the type of work they perform. In other cases, such as veterinarians, carpenters and electrical power line installers, an occupation is found in just a few industry sectors.

For job seekers, information on all the industries employing a particular occupation can broaden employment prospects. For career decision-makers, the industries which employ an occupation of interest is another important factor to consider since it can potentially impact such things as work setting, the offering of employee benefits and even wages. An occupation’s tie to an industry can even be a way for an individual to combine interests and passions. Think of someone with an interest in computer network administration whose secondary career interests are in healthcare; perhaps a network administrator position for a health care facility would be the perfect fit.

For information on an industry’s staffing pattern or for industries which employ a particular occupation, use the virtual labor market data system available from LMIC’s website at, or contact us at 605.626.2314.