Ask the Indeed Economist: What Are the Jobs That People Don’t Leave?

For some job seekers, this might sound like a dream come true: you find a job you love so much that you never leave it. But for recruiters, this mindset poses both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, jobs that people stay at can be more attractive and marketable to candidates. But on the other hand, in a tough labor market it may be hard to draw candidates away from these “sticky” fields to fill other roles.

With fewer candidates to fill openings, recruiters are getting creative about looking for qualified candidates, regardless of their previous job title. They are smart to think outside the box when looking for talent — Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showed that 4% of the workforce changed careers between 2015 and 2016.

So what are the roles that people are reluctant to leave? And why? In order to learn more, we sat down with Indeed Economist Andrew Flowers, of the Indeed Hiring Lab to talk about his research on this subject.

What are the key findings?

Andrew used information from job seekers’ resumes to see the field they currently work in, compiling a list of the top 300 jobs held by people with a college degree. Then, he looked at what types of jobs they were clicking on. The career-switch search rate measures how likely someone in a certain field is to click on a job in a different field. So the closer a job is to the top of the list, the less interested these people are in switching careers.

The list is dominated by tech and healthcare roles, with five of the top 20 roles in nursing alone. Tech and healthcare are both hot fields right now — on the employer side, there is huge demand for these roles. And as the use of technology continues to spread into every aspect of our lives and an aging population requires more care, it’s unlikely that demand for this type of work will slow any time soon. Tech and healthcare jobs are also “future proof,” meaning they are highly unlikely to be replaced by automation

Aside from choosing a high-growth, future-proof job, salary is a factor that plays into many job seekers’ decisions about careers. In many cases, the higher your salary is, the less likely workers are to contemplate a change. Our list is no exception — every job except one has a salary above $50,000, and six earn more than double that.

Another factor that may hold people in jobs is the amount a worker has invested to get the job they have. According to the sunk-cost fallacy, people have a tendency to continue an option or behavior if they’ve invested significant resources in it. Many of the jobs on our list require special training, and some, like nurse practitioners (#2), even require a master’s degree.

Andrew sums it up: “Job seekers in healthcare and tech roles are notably reluctant to switch careers, and for good reason — job security and compensation is high, and they’ve probably spent years accruing the skills to do these jobs in the first place.”

But there are many things that go into choosing a career, and less tangible things certainly play a part as well. Many of these “sticky” jobs require…

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