Looking for a solid job is rarely easy. The search takes persistence, whether you want to upgrade your current position or were recently laid off.
Good timing helps, too. Anyone looking currently benefits from near record-low unemployment and droves of Baby Boomers retiring, which frees up positions for younger workers.
Most employers — nearly 7 out of 10 — reported a talent shortage last year, the highest level ever, according to a recent report from job placement firm Manpower Group.
Sure, job openings fell in December, reaching a two-year low. But there were 670,000 more vacancies than people looking for work, according to the most recent Labor Department data. Employers were trying to fill 6.4 million positions.
Nearly 3.5 million workers quit their jobs in December, or 2.3 percent of the workforce, just below recent highs. Such a high quit rate indicates confidence in the job market.
A good chunk of the vacant jobs don’t pay very well — cashiers and home health aides to name two. But there were nearly 600,000 jobs listed in construction and manufacturing and another 236,000 in insurance and finance, which often pay solidly middle-class wages or better.
Amazon alone had more than 37,000 job openings a few days ago, including nearly 11,500 at the company’s Seattle headquarters. Most don’t require long hours inside a warehouse. The retail and technology company had more than 10,600 jobs listed in software development, the Seattle Times reported, another 7,400 in IT engineering and data science, and 4,500 in project and program management roles.
Another positive for job seekers: Some of the nation’s top workplaces are hiring. Fortune magazine released its 100 best workplaces this week. The winning companies had nearly 92,000 open jobs as of the beginning of February, including more than 7,000 at Marriott International, nearly 4,900 at professional services firm Ernst & Young and 3,400 at Edward Jones, the financial advisers.
Closer to home, Clearwater-based BayCare Health System had 2,100 openings, Fortune reported. The nonprofit health care provider with 15 hospitals and hundreds of other locations ranked 37th.
Fortune based its list on 650,000 employee interviews from companies around the country with at least 1,000 workers. BayCare, for instance, scored well in trust in managers, compensation, fairness, camaraderie and innovation. Ninety-one percent of its employees said it was a great place to work, compared to 59 percent for a typical U.S. company.
The companies on Fortune’s list also offer enviable perks. Twelve cover all health care costs for full-time employees. Fifteen help employees pay student debt. Most have onsite fitness centers or cover gym memberships.
Twenty of the companies grant unlimited sick days, including Ultimate Software based in Weston near Fort Lauderdale. The technology company, best known for its UltiPro software, also has subsidized child care, compressed work weeks and telecommuting. It ranked No. 2 overall, behind Hilton, the global hotel provider.
Based in Deerfield Beach, automotive services company JM Family Enterprises ponies up $10,000 in adoption assistance and workers with at least 10 years of service receive an all-inclusive weekend vacation at a Florida resort every five years until they retire.
Two other Florida-based companies made the list — Publix Super Markets, which offers company stock to employees, and Baptist Health South Florida.
Leaving a job can be difficult. Starting anew isn’t for everyone. But there are opportunities, at least for now. And there’s evidence that one of the best ways to earn more money is to change employers, especially during an era of mediocre wage growth.
Ready to take the plunge?
Fortune’s Top 5 best places to work
Plus the five Florida companies that made the list in bold.
1. Hilton (McLean, Va.)
2. Ultimate Software (Weston)
3. Wegmans Food Markets (Rochester, N.Y.)
4. Cisco (San Jose, Calif.)
5. Workday (Pleasanton, Calif.)
26. JM Family Enterprises (Deerfield Beach)
37. BayCare Health Systems (Clearwater)
39. Publix Super Markets (Lakeland)
54. Baptist Health South Florida (Coral Gables)
— 37 companies on the Fortune list had a workforce that was at least half female. At Bright Horizons Family Solutions, which operates 1,100 childcare centers around the world, 94 percent of employees were women.
— Millennials accounted for 49 percent of the combined workforce at the 100 companies.
— 96 percent of employees at top-ranked Hilton said their company was a great place to work, compared to 59 percent for a typical U.S. workplace.
— 75 percent of Baptist Health South Florida’s employees were minorities, the most of any company on the list.
Source: Fortune and Great Place to Work