12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (2023)

We’re all used to hearing about the fact that the UK has a shortage of science teachers, and the general shortage of graduates with science degrees is well-publicised. But there are some less obvious areas of work currently suffering from skills shortages, and being aware of them could help you find a quick way into a job after you graduate. The occupations (and minimum salary estimates) on the UK part of this list all come from a Government-approved list of shortages, and should give you some food for thought as you ponder which direction you’d like your career to take. Towards the end, we’ve also covered some areas in which there are skills shortages overseas, for those of you who would like to experience living abroad.

In the UK

1. Musicians

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (1)

Given the prevalence of aspiring pop stars, it may sound surprising that the UK has an official shortage of musicians – but those in short supply are of a rather different (and, some might say, somewhat more skilful) variety. Orchestral musicians are officially in short supply – and specifically, those who are of a sufficient standard to grace the stage in the company of the country’s best orchestras, such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. In particular, it’s the stringed instruments that are in demand, especially those who are good enough to take the role of leader, principal or sub-principal. We suspect, however, that it’s not so much that there aren’t enough high-quality musicians out there, but that as far as UK immigration is concerned, the more the merrier! The pay may be poor (a minimum of around £16,700), but if you’re passionate about music, you’ll have the satisfaction of earning money from doing what you love. And, of course, orchestral playing could be supplemented with teaching your instrument and giving solo recitals. If you’re planning to head to university to study music (rather than attending a music college such as the Royal Academy of Music), pick a course that has a focus on performance if you think this might be the career for you – and work your way up the ranks of the university orchestra.

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2. 2D and 3D animators

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (2)

If you’ve ever contemplated a career in video games or animation, you’re in luck: this is another area in which there is a shortage of suitably qualified individuals. Within the television, film and video games sectors, there is demand for software developers, games designers and shader writers in visual effects and 2D and 3D animation. In case you’re wondering what a “shader writer” is, these are the people who are responsible for characterising textures, colours and so on, turning virtual shapes into realistic objects and surfaces. As a new entrant to this career you can expect to earn around £22,800, while experienced animators earn a minimum of around £29,600 or more. If you’re imaginative and want to turn ideas into (virtual) reality, this could be the perfect career for you – especially if you’re already a big “gamer” or film fanatic yourself.

3. Certain medical specialisations

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (3)

When you hear scary statistics about there being eleven or more applicants for every single place to study medicine at university, it may come as a surprise to learn that there is a shortage of certain kinds of medical specialists. The main areas with skills shortages are emergency medicine (including accident and emergency specialists), haematology (the study of blood and blood-forming tissues) and old age psychiatry. These areas need more consultants, while anaesthetics, rehabilitation and psychiatry also need non-consultants. In nursing, there’s a shortage of nurses specialising in neo-natal care – that is, the specialised nurses who care for babies who have been born prematurely or with some kind of illness. Salaries vary according to whether you’re a consultant or not; doctors who specialise in a certain area will earn a minimum of around £37,000, while for consultants that minimum rises to around £75,000. Entry-level specialised neo-natal nurses start by earning around £16,200, while experienced nurses can even earn as much as consultants.

4. Aircraft maintenance

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (4)

You don’t have to be a plane spotter to get into the world of aviation, but a love of aeroplanes definitely helps. And if you’re searching for a career that involves planes, but you don’t quite fancy the lifestyle of a pilot or cabin crew, a role in aircraft maintenance might suit you down to the ground (so to speak). There’s a shortage of licensed aircraft engineers and inspectors – the people responsible for fixing aircraft faults, performing regular checks and services, and making sure that every last nut and bolt is fastened and secure, ready for a safe flight. You can expect a minimum salary ranging between around £15,500 when you start and £27,000 once you get a bit more experienced (much more than this if you move to a more senior level), and you’ll probably need a degree in aeronautical engineering to get you started. Though it’s usually a 9 to 5 job, engineers working for airlines could find themselves on call around the clock, as it’s vital for airlines to keep aircraft serviceable in order to operate to tight schedules.

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5. Nuclear waste management

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (5)

The disposal of nuclear waste probably isn’t something you’ve given much thought to before, but it’s someone’s job to sort out a safe way of getting rid of radioactive material so that it can’t harm humans, animals or the environment. It may not sound like the most glamorous of jobs, but working in nuclear waste management has its advantages. There’s a shortage in director-level staff, which means that if you choose to enter this industry, you may find that you can quickly move up the ranks to a more senior (and therefore more well-paid) position, such as managing director, programme director or site director. Though starting salaries in this sector may be low (a minimum of around £15,000), more senior employees can expect to earn a minimum of £37,000.

6. Physical scientists for oil and gas

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (6)

The oil and gas industry is in need of various kinds of geoscientists, who help them identify areas in which oil and gas may be present and interpret seismic data during the exploration process (among other things). Geologists, geophysicists and geochemists are all in demand in this sector, and it’s a good career if you’re keen to jet off to some exotic locations, such as the Middle East or North Africa, where your knowledge will help support the exploration and development activities of companies such as Shell. Expect a minimum starting salary of around £21,000, and much higher than this once you’re more experienced. At time of writing, on the Oil Careers geologist jobs board there’s a senior geophysicist post going for £85,000.

7. Social workers

Another area in the UK job market with a shortage of skills is social work, primarily within the children’s and family services as opposed to adult services. You’ll need to be a ‘people person’ and community-oriented to undertake this kind of work, as it involves supporting vulnerable families and protecting adults and children from domestic abuse and other such threats. Dealing with difficult people will likely be part of your day-to-day activities. It’s a challenging area of work, and depending on the exact nature of your position, you may be required to work some nights on a rota. Starting salaries are usually around £19,000, but this can rise to £26,000 and then as much as £40,000 with experience.

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Beyond the UK

Britain isn’t the only country with a shortage of skills in certain areas; in fact, there are even more professions with skills shortages in other countries. If living abroad is one of the items on your bucket list, there are plenty of occupations that will give you the skills needed to gain a visa more easily.

8. Australia – just about everything

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (7)

Judging by its official skilled occupation shortages list, there seems to be a shortage of just about every occupation in Australia. Jobs on the list of skills shortages include architects, accountants, vets, engineers, teachers of children with special educational needs, dentists, numerous other medical positions, midwives, barristers and solicitors, and many, many more. If you have skills in any of the areas on this list, but you’re finding it difficult to get work in the UK, you never know – you might have more luck if you head down under.

9. New Zealand – medical professionals, lecturers and more

According to New Zealand Immigration’s Long Term Skill Shortage List, occupations for which there is likely to be a long-term demand include engineering, university lecturers, external auditors, anaesthetists, cardiac technicians, clinical psychologists, GPs and a great many other medical professionals, social workers, vets, and numerous other occupations. New Zealand is a country of immense natural beauty, so it would certainly be a pleasant place to live and work if you’re at the start of your career in one of these professions and want to build up experience in a country in which there’s less competition for jobs.

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10. The USA – computer programmers

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (8)

The USA operates the H1-B visa scheme for those wishing to work in the USA who hold certain technical qualifications and expertise. The list includes numerous professions, including various medical professionals (including surgeons, dentists and nurses), architects, journalists, lawyers, accountants and scientists. While this list doesn’t necessarily imply a shortage of skills in these areas, the fact that US immigration takes into account certain occupations at all shows that holders of these occupations are seen as assets to the country. One area in which there is a known skills shortage in the US is IT, with computer programmers particularly sought-after. If you hold a degree involving computing and/or you’re a knowledgeable coder, you stand a better chance than many of securing a much sought-after US work permit – and a job.

11. France – web developers

In common with many countries, France hasn’t quite caught up with the Internet boom, and it’s left the country with a shortage of IT professionals. Web developers with skills in programming languages including Oracle, PHP, SAP, Java and Linux are in hot demand, but there are also analyst jobs that need filling, such as data and systems analysts. If you have web development skills and a computer science degree, and you’re also an aficionado of fine food and wine, you could do a lot worse than seeking work in France. We should add that, as with most other places (it would seem), France is in need of engineers and nurses as well.

12. Hong Kong – construction industry

12 Great Career Areas You'll Be Astonished to Learn Have Skills Shortages (9)

With an increasing amount of investment pouring into mainland China and Macau, Hong Kong is now facing a skills shortage in the construction industry as it intensifies its own infrastructure development. Those with the relevant skills are being lured away from Hong Kong by higher salaries in China and Macau, but it’s thought that the resulting demand for adequately-qualified individuals in Hong Kong will push salaries up. Quantity surveyors and project managers with architectural backgrounds are two key occupations in which there is likely to be a shortfall, so if you’re about to finish a degree in architecture, there could be an opportunity awaiting you in Hong Kong if you think you can handle the culture shock.
As you can see, the job market isn’t quite as difficult to conquer as you may be imagining. While there are some professions that are over-subscribed and highly competitive, there are plenty of others in which the competition isn’t between candidates – it’s between employers. Choose your degree carefully, and you could be one of the lucky graduates over whom employers fight. If you’re interested in any of the professions on this list, select a degree accordingly and increase your chances of landing a job still further by undertaking relevant work experience and internships while you’re still at university. A combination of a sought-after degree and a strong CV should make you irresistible to employers in any profession, but to those on this list, you’ll be a dream come true.

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What career fields have shortages? ›

Below is a list of some of the careers that are good occupations and scarce skills that you can follow:
  • Aeronautical Engineer.
  • Agricultural Farm Manager.
  • Application Development Manager.
  • Architect.
  • General Medical Practitioner.
  • Actuary.
  • Chief Information Officer.
  • Civil Engineer.
27 May 2022

What are skill shortages? ›

A skills shortage refers to the lack of qualified people available in relation to a vacant job role. When employers or entire sectors struggle to find suitable applicants for vacancies, this can demonstrate a skills shortage in a particular area.

What skills or knowledge would make you better at your current role? ›

Career Guide
22 Jun 2013

What are your top 3 skills? ›

Top skills employers look for
  1. Communication skills. Communication skills are needed in virtually any job. ...
  2. Leadership skills. ...
  3. Teamwork skills. ...
  4. Interpersonal skills. ...
  5. Learning/adaptability skills. ...
  6. Self-management skills. ...
  7. Organizational skills. ...
  8. Computer skills.

What job has the biggest shortage? ›

Although employers across the economy say they're struggling to find and keep workers, labor shortages are most pronounced in retail (where roughly 70 percent of job openings remain unfilled), manufacturing (about 55 percent) and leisure and hospitality (45 percent), according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce analysis of ...

What are three scarce skills jobs? ›

Scarce skills jobs can be divided into four sectors, namely:
  • Management.
  • Finance.
  • Administration.
  • Educare.
21 Jun 2022

How do you fix a shortage of skills? ›

Upskilling and reskilling are incremental in building new competencies among employees and dealing with skills shortages. According to the same TalentLMS/SHRM survey, half of HR leaders will provide their employees with upskilling (59%) and reskilling (55%) training in 2022.

Why is there a shortage of skilled workers? ›

One significant reason for the skilled-labour shortage is the increase of technology in traditional industries. Machinery and equipment is far more technologically advanced today, and retraining an aging demographic of existing skilled trades employees has not kept pace.

How can we solve the shortage of staff? ›

How to Manage a Staffing Shortage
  1. Act on Employee Feedback. ...
  2. Implement Reskilling and Upskilling Initiatives. ...
  3. Promote Work-Life Balance. ...
  4. Improve Your Company Culture. ...
  5. Increase Company Perks and Benefits. ...
  6. Hire Short-Term Workers. ...
  7. Continue to Build a Strong Team.

How can I improve myself professionally? ›

Follow these steps to improve yourself professionally:
  1. Read often.
  2. Adopt a new hobby.
  3. Sign up for a training session.
  4. Identify in-demand skills.
  5. Try a new schedule.
  6. Commit to an exercise routine.
  7. Set big goals.
  8. Change your mindset.

How can I improve my knowledge and skills? ›

How to improve your personal development skills
  1. Overcome your fears. Fear can prevent you from growing and progressing. ...
  2. Read. Reading can expand your knowledge and vocabulary and keep you informed. ...
  3. Learn something new. ...
  4. Ask for feedback. ...
  5. Observe others. ...
  6. Network. ...
  7. Keep a journal. ...
  8. Meditate.

What skills you need to develop? ›

Top personal development skills include:
  • Self-confidence.
  • Integrity.
  • Strong work ethic.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Commitment to growth.
  • Time management.
  • Compassion.
29 Jun 2021

What jobs are always needed? ›

Here are the most in-demand jobs, including average salaries and qualification requirements.
  1. Home health aide. ...
  2. Nursing assistant. ...
  3. Construction worker. ...
  4. Physical therapy aide. ...
  5. Medical technologist. ...
  6. Truck driver. ...
  7. Operations research analyst. ...
  8. Financial advisor.
20 Jul 2020

What is the most needed jobs right now? ›

Here are the top five most in-demand jobs right now, per Monster's findings — and how much they pay, according to Payscale:
  1. Registered nurse. ...
  2. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver. ...
  3. Sales representative, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products) ...
  4. Customer service representative.
8 Jun 2022

What does work shortage mean? ›

When a labor shortage occurs, there aren't enough candidates to fill the roles employers are hiring for and it's hard to find applicants for open positions. A major cause of a labor shortage is when employees quit at high rates while demand for workers remains high.

Why should you study for a scarce skill? ›

Last Updated : May 26, 2022

Scarce skill qualification positions allow you to earn a salary that is above minimum wage. You stand a greater chance of being employed because your skills are in demand. You can work nationally and internationally. Get into an industry that allows you to get into different positions.

Can I follow careers in the scarce skills explain? ›

Scarce skills are those skills that are in high demand with employees. This is because there are not enough qualified people in that profession. Developing your scarce skills will make it easier to find job opportunities or potentially get promoted in your current workplace.

What are the reasons people choose a job or career? ›

Growth (opportunities, learning - I want my career to be an evolution, feel that things are moving) Location (it's sad to say, but I'm no longer willing to spend 3 hours a day in transports) Salary (business is business, money is money) Working hours (I'm flexible, but my personal life comes first)

How can companies help to overcome skill shortages? ›

Use contingent workers. Naturally, one of the easiest ways to fill a skills shortage is by hiring contingent workers. With freelancers, consultants, contractors and more, you can fill massive gaps in your operation quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

How do you address a skill gap in the workplace? ›

How to address the workforce skills gap
  1. Looking Ahead. To keep up with the changes happening in the workforce, organizations must train employees for the future. ...
  2. Preparing for the Future. ...
  3. Identify Skills Gaps Early. ...
  4. Create a Learning Culture. ...
  5. Promote Continuous Learning. ...
  6. Assess Progress and Improve.

How do you become a skilled worker? ›

Skilled Workers
  1. You must be able to demonstrate at least two years of job experience or training, not of a temporary or seasonal nature. ...
  2. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States; and.
  3. A labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer are required.
1 Jun 2022

Why is the shortage of skilled Labour a problem for a developing economy? ›

If there is a shortage, there will be a considerable time lag in training new workers. Unattractive jobs. In the service sector or agriculture, there are some jobs which are hard to fill because of non-monetary costs and negative social perceptions about the job.

Why is there a global skills shortage? ›

With so many companies struggling with production and supply chain challenges during the pandemic, there's an increased push for automation in the workplace. This increased use of technology in the workplace also creates an increased need for companies to acquire the right tech-related skills.

How do you deal with a shortage of supply? ›

8 Ways to Fix Shortage Issues
  1. Dealing with a shortage is no small task. ...
  2. Expedite Parts. ...
  3. Improve Forecasting. ...
  4. Improve Lead Time Accuracy. ...
  5. Eliminate Single Point Failures. ...
  6. Develop a Shortage Attack Team (or better shortage management processes) ...
  7. Improve Supplier Collaboration. ...
  8. Ensure accurate inventory data.

How can you improve your performance at work? ›

13 ways to improve performance at work
  1. Limit distractions. This is a tip many people know but rarely follow: limit your potential distractions. ...
  2. Set milestones. ...
  3. Set clear and achievable goals. ...
  4. Avoid multitasking. ...
  5. Improve your time management. ...
  6. Do important tasks first. ...
  7. Delegate tasks whenever possible. ...
  8. Clear your workspace.
26 May 2022

What are your opportunities to develop and improve? ›

Areas of improvement are skills, qualities or abilities that an employee could develop or enhance. Areas of improvement could include time management, delegation, organization, communication and engagement. Many of these skills and abilities are those that employees use daily at work.

What one quality you want to improve in yourself? ›

How to answer the "What would you most like to improve about yourself?" interview question
  • Determine your weaknesses. Before your interview, think about some of your abilities that could use improvement. ...
  • Choose an unrelated skill. ...
  • Turn it into something positive. ...
  • Show your willingness to improve. ...
  • Rehearse your response.
14 Dec 2021

Why should I develop my skills? ›

Skills can expand your professional competency and allow you to perform your job well. You can gain and improve skills with education and experience. The more advanced you are in performing certain skills, the more likely you are to get or progress in a job.

How and when will I gain the additional skills and experience I need? ›

If you are looking to develop skills and knowledge in a specific career or industry, an internship is one of the best ways to gain experience. You will also gain valuable insights into the industry and connect with people previously outside your social network, helping you form connections.

What is the most needed jobs right now? ›

Here are the top five most in-demand jobs right now, per Monster's findings — and how much they pay, according to Payscale:
  1. Registered nurse. ...
  2. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver. ...
  3. Sales representative, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products) ...
  4. Customer service representative.
8 Jun 2022

What is the job in high demand as of 2022? ›

1. Home Health and Personal Care Aide. This career shot up to #1 because it has the highest projected hiring volume out of all careers, hiring 1,129,900 new Home Health and Personal Care Aides in the next 8 years.

What trades are in short supply? ›

The top 10 trades that were most affected by materials shortages in 2021:
  • Plasterer / Renderer - 96% (experienced materials shortages)
  • Builder - 95%
  • Gardener / Landscape gardener - 87%
  • Carpenter / Joiner - 87%
  • Painter and decorator - 85%
  • Bathroom fitter - 85%
  • Handyperson - 81%
  • Electrician - 77%
31 Mar 2022

What is the most in-demand job? ›

12 high demand jobs
  1. Computer manager. Computer managers oversee a company's network and IT services, ensuring users can access required software and tools without interruption. ...
  2. Paralegal. ...
  3. Technical writer. ...
  4. Web developer. ...
  5. Financial manager. ...
  6. Medical assistant. ...
  7. Software developer. ...
  8. Market research analyst.
13 Jul 2022

What is the happiest career? ›

Take one step outside and chances are you'll see many buildings that construction workers finished. Construction workers are the #1 happiest job for a reason—they do what humans are built for! They plan, move and use their bodies, and get to see their creative works come to life.

What jobs make the most money without a college degree? ›

Here are the highest paying jobs without a college degree:
  • Patrol Officer.
  • Executive Assistant.
  • Sales Representative.
  • Flight Attendant.
  • Electrician.
  • Plumber.
  • Wind Turbine Technician.

Which career has highest salary? ›

List of Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in India
  • Medical Professionals (Doctors & Surgeons)
  • Data Scientist.
  • Machine Learning Experts.
  • Blockchain Developer.
  • Full Stack Software Developer.
  • Product Management.
  • Management Consultant.
  • Investment Banker.

What is the most skilled trade? ›

The Highest-Paid Trade Jobs
  • Radiation Therapists. ...
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists. ...
  • Dental Hygienists. ...
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians. ...
  • Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians. ...
  • Boilermakers. ...
  • Construction and Building Inspectors. ...
  • Electricians.

Why is there a shortage of workers? ›

This labor shortage isn't because there are more jobs than people available to work them. In fact, alongside the labor shortage businesses are experiencing, the workforce is also seeing the rise of what's been coined 'The Great Resignation. ' In 2021, over 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs.

Is there a shortage of skilled workers? ›

As baby boomers age and retire, there are not enough young people starting careers in the trades to fill the position that the previous generation has left vacant. This shortage of skilled labor in the United States itself is due to several factors: Priorities in education. Misunderstanding of positions in ...

What is the best career in the world? ›

Top 10 Careers in the World
  • Information Security Analyst. U.S. News & World Report ranked information security analyst in the number one spot for best jobs in 2022. ...
  • Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Chief Executive Officer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer. ...
  • Plastic Surgeon. ...
  • Neurosurgeon. ...
  • Registered Nurse. ...
  • Software Engineer.
15 Feb 2022

What jobs are always needed? ›

Here are the most in-demand jobs, including average salaries and qualification requirements.
  1. Home health aide. ...
  2. Nursing assistant. ...
  3. Construction worker. ...
  4. Physical therapy aide. ...
  5. Medical technologist. ...
  6. Truck driver. ...
  7. Operations research analyst. ...
  8. Financial advisor.
20 Jul 2020


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