What Job Seekers Want: An Economist’s Look at the Most Desirable Occupations

Report: What types of jobs are most desirable to employed candidates?

How do people begin their search for a new opportunity in today’s job market? What types of jobs are most desirable to employed candidates? What factors influence a person’s decision to change jobs? In short, what do job seekers want?

These are just some of the questions at the center of the latest report from the Indeed Hiring Lab. Using aggregate, anonymous data from 430,000 currently employed job seekers on Indeed, this first study examines how people consider a new occupation: which occupations they’re leaving, which ones they’re headed to, and what factors influence their decision.

In our analysis, we find that the vast majority of currently employed job seekers consider a variety of occupations, even when these occupations are defined quite broadly.

This research departs from previous studies by connecting people’s current employment to the alternative occupations they actively consider. Rather than examine people’s actual job movements or surveys about job seekers’ aspirations, as is commonly done, our data from job searches on Indeed analyzes what people search for before they make a job move. This original perspective provides insight into both the occupational interests and intents of job seekers today.

Key findings from the report:

  • Overall, 81.5% of people searched for jobs in an occupation other than their current occupation.
  • 56.5% of people searched within an alternative occupation category without searching in their own category at all.
  • The average job seeker considers at least two different broad categories.

These findings suggest that job seekers have an understanding of where the labor market is headed, and that their behavior online is a valuable input for market analysis. For an in-depth look at this behavior, read the full Indeed Hiring Lab Report on Occupation Satisfaction & Desirability, where we compare job search across 23 different occupation categories, tracking dimensions such as satisfaction, desirability, and mismatch.

The report is free to download and includes profiles of each individual occupation, including education attainment, experience and salary along with data on employment, job postings and searches in each category. We hope the insights from this data and analysis can help organizations make better decisions and attract the best talent.

Download the free report