The 10 Toughest Jobs to Fill in 2016 & What to Do about It

November 9, 2015 | Amy Hirsh Robinson | HCI
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2015 was a challenging year for hiring managers. Regardless of industry and geography, companies struggled to find and keep top talent. Unfortunately, 2016 is predicted to be tougher. According to new data from Career Cast the 10 most difficult jobs to fill in 2016 represent a diversity of industries, levels and functions.



  • Data scientists
  • Electrical engineers
  • General and operations managers
  • Home health aide workers
  • Information security analysts
  • Marketing managers
  • Medical services managers
  • Physical therapists
  • Registered nurses
  • Software engineers

Attracting and retaining talent will be the number one human capital challenge of 2016. It will force executives and HR leaders to reassess their needs and priorities and to work together to achieve key talent objectives. To achieve your recruitment and retention goals for 2016 and beyond, follow these three strategies.

#1. Rethink Your Talent Needs

The long-anticipated exodus of aging Baby Boomers from the workforce is gaining momentum. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the retirement-age population will grow by 38% over the next 10 years. Simply backfilling for these vacancies is shortsighted. Competition for top talent will remain high, and the positions most crucial to fill in the future will likely differ from those of the past. It is an important time to rethink talent needs and take a critical look at the roles, competencies and organizational structures necessary to drive the business strategy. Spend the time now translating your company’s strategic plan into specific talent needs so that you are confident of your recruiting priorities for 2016. You may also discover new efficiencies through the process so that your net headcount remains the same or even declines.

#2. Define and Communicate Your Employer Value Proposition

Once talent needs have been confirmed or redefined, it is important to communicate the company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP) to current employees, to reinforce their commitment and engagement to the company, and to prospective employees, to entice them to accept the job offer. An EVP is a simple yet compelling statement that articulates the value employees experience in exchange for committing their time and efforts to an employer. Defining an EVP involves an analysis of a company’s internal strengths, vision and values and what is most attractive to its target employees. Once established, the EVP can be integrated into recruitment, onboarding, career development, and even exit stage employee processes. To successfully recruit and keep top talent, establish your organization’s EVP and ensure that its message and intent is consistently delivered at each of these key junctures.

#3. Onboard New Employees With Intention

Employers are often so driven to find talent and make a good first impression through the recruitment process that they forget to think about what will happen once the employee shows up ready for work. As a result, new employee onboarding procedures often feel arbitrary and uncoordinated to new hires and detract from the good feelings gained during the recruiting phase. Creating a consistent and thoughtful onboarding experience for new hires accomplishes three crucial goals. It accelerates new hires’ time to productivity, increases their engagement and retention, and sends a powerful message to prospective employees that the EVP promised during the recruitment phase is genuine. Evaluate your organization’s onboarding procedures to determine the affect (positive or negative) on your ability to attract, engage and retain talent, and make the appropriate adjustments prior to next year’s recruiting cycle.

Optimize Your Bottom Line

Finding and losing talent is costly in any given year, but the stakes will be higher in 2016 as predicted talent shortages across industries and for specific jobs increase. To optimize your bottom line and meet your recruitment and retention targets, evaluate your talent needs and practices before you begin recruiting for the coming year. The results will be worth it.



Amy Hirsh Robinson, MBA, ( is a leading expert on the changing workforce and the impact of generational shifts on organizations. She consults to Fortune 500 companies, privately held businesses and not-for-profits to prepare and retool leaders and their workforces to excel and compete in the New Economy. Her strategies and programs focus on onboarding new employees to ensure the retention and engagement of top talent, managing and motivating a multigenerational workforce, and building competitive talent pipelines through effective succession planning practices. Amy speaks and publishes widely on workforce strategies for the New Economy and has been cited and quoted in publications such as Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post.