Despite the nation’s unemployment rate remaining at elevated levels, there are some industries straining to hire qualified workers.

The 2008 financial crisis changed the economic landscape and the way companies and employers staff their payrolls. A flagging economy and the declining demand for products and services are causing companies to really fight for relevancy and growth, says Gary Burnison, CEO of recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International.

Remaining relevant in this economy is every company’s challenge right now, says Jody Miller, Business Talent Group’s chairman and CEO—a battle they must win by developing innovative products, penetrating new markets and expanding core assets.

Job seekers need to recognize this shift in the labor market and use it to their advantage to secure employment. Companies are creating new positions and, in many instances, putting a heavier emphasis on cross-industry expertise and experience, and candidates need to prove they can meet the new requirements.

For example, Burnison says the chief performance officer (CPO) will become an important new corporate function and use results data to optimize workforce performance.

CEOs will demand leaders with high people skills, high learning agility, incredibly high self-awareness and an insatiable appetite to learn and grow, says Burnison.

Cross-pollination and collaborative, creative and unstructured environments will begin to permeate everything, says Cecily Sommers, global trend analyst and author of Think Like a Futurist.

Hot Jobs Within Growing Industries  

Technology

CIOs. From the fast-paced consumer goods and retail companies to hospitals, these experts can quickly assess the current environment and identify cost-cutting measures and process and performance improvement, according to Miller.

Data Ninja. Companies want people with “Big Data” know-how to manage and leverage data into new markets, more sales and increased revenue and the metrics to measure progress-to-goal, Miller says.

Mobile Specialist.  Experts on mobile sales and marketing are in hot demand, says Miller, as consumers increasingly use their mobile phones to shop, search and communicate.  

Data Scientist. Clients appreciate these applicants’ cross-industry experience in discovering insights and the discipline they apply to problem solving, says John D’Urso, managing partner at Knowledgent. Because these individuals didn’t exist in Fortune 100 companies, there is a perceived shortage, but they come from a cadre of statistical programmers who specialized in tools like Saas. Now R-enablement technology has enabled them to increasingly look at greater volumes and varieties of data types.

Health Care

Six Sigma. People with this credentialing are in demand since they are known to enhance, make more efficient and rein in costs in the often wasteful health care industry, says David Jones, president of Growth Ventures and author of Million-Dollar Hire.

Physician Executive. Doctors will no longer just be doctors; now they’re saddled with profit and loss, employee development and performance responsibilities.

Manufacturing

Global Supply Chain Leaders.  Complexity and the changing nature of the position is driving demand for the difficult responsibilities of this role, says Burnison. Low-cost and high-quality manufacturing facilities and a seamless supply chain are priorities for budget-strapped companies and these executives must understand the chain end-to-end: procurement, manufacturing, transportation, logistics and customer service. The leader must be aware of better and more cost effective vendors globally in addition to being able to anticipate demand changes and cost shifts based on global capital and labor markets.

Pricing Experts.  These professionals have the know-how to assess pricing strategy, says Miller, and  typically come out of major consulting firms where they learn the skill.

VP/Chief Marketing Officers for Industrial Businesses.  Industrial businesses have traditionally been good at producing and selling items, but lack marketing skills, says Burnison. To gain market share, they need to create demand and product/service differentiation in B2B and B2C markets. The good ones understand how to wrap services and solutions around a product to create a benefit for the buyer. 

The Global Local Executive.  The world is changing to one-to-one marketing and industrial/manufacturing executives that can infiltrate markets with precision are in big demand and must design, innovate, be micro-market focused and understand value-added products.

Skilled trade workers. Manufacturers are challenged by the dearth of employees trained in trade skills. Workers who can assess production line problems and fix them quickly are at a premium, according to Jones.

Retail/Consumer Industry

Big Data and Online Social Experts. The demand for these workers is high in a slowing consumer economy. Companies are looking to better understand consumer buying habits and patterns and deliver personalized information via devices, the intersection of the social enterprise and business.

Life Sciences

Head of Global R&D Operations. Research efforts will increase as companies work to discover new active ingredients for drugs in early-stage development. Development will focus on commercialization through medical affairs and clinical operations, says Burnison.

Ontologists. Ontologists help business constituencies and research scientists access data from multiple information repositories. Skilled at developing taxonomies, ontologists help develop the business vocabulary for development of efficient search applications for R&D scientists. In great demand, ontologists are people with library science degrees or people who have worked in an organizational research function, says D’Urso.

Data scientists. These individuals typically have a Ph.D in math or economics and can extract computation algorithms and apply it to business analytics: e.g., a demand for a company’s products, says D’Urso.

Social Media experts. They enable sentiment analysis to more effectively target marketing dollars and capture measurement of effective promotional spend by helping pharmaceutical companies effectively identify communities of interest-targeted audiences for specific drugs, D’Urso says.