The 10 Hottest Jobs and Their Profiles

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Regardless of the reasons, the job market is hot, and some jobs are hotter than others. Here’s a little more information about each one of the jobs that made the top 10 hottest jobs list for 2021. These are the jobs that have grown fastest in Payscale’s database of salary profiles among people who have identified themselves as filling out a salary survey in order to evaluate a job offer. The median pay associated with these positions reflect organizations both large and small, in big cities and small towns, and across all experience levels, skillsets, and responsibilities.

To get a more complete understanding of the salary range for your position, fill out a salary profile with For a top ranked list of the hottest jobs holistically (not tied to job offers) as well as the hottest jobs by wage growth, scroll down to download our report for employers.

Beauty Consultant
Do you like doing other people’s makeup? Do you want to work the beauty counter in a retail store or give advice about how people can look their best? So do a lot of people!

Beauty consultants advise customers on the best cosmetic and skin care products and conduct product demonstrations. Salary profiles for this position among job seekers grew 79 percent in 2021 and wages grew by 7 percent, which is above average.

Perhaps demand for beauty has grown as people get back out into the world as social distancing restrictions are lifted due to vaccines, or perhaps this position is attractive because it earns more than other retail positions.







Senior Data Engineer
Demand for data engineers has outstripped supply for years, especially data engineers with knowledge of modern cloud architectures, serverless databases, and machine learning. Data engineers are critical for organizations looking to glean business insights from data as they must first efficiently govern and manage data and enable data pipelines.

Job seekers filling out salary profiles for this position have increased by 51 percent. Wages for this position have increased only three percent, but as this is a highly compensated position already, three percent is still an attractive boost to people with these skills.

This position also has the luxury to work remotely about 50 percent of the time. IT occupations have higher expectations for remote work generally compared to other occupations, which could be driving job seeking behavior in 2021 in organizations that haven’t yet caught up to this expectation.

Senior Recruiter
The Great Reshuffle has been hard on recruiting. When layoffs happened in 2020, many recruiters lost their positions along with many other occupations. Now organizations can’t hire fast enough.

With a global competition for talent taking place all at once, candidates have options and are being picky about the opportunity, work culture, and environment, even after they have accepted offers, which leads to cycles of hires and resignations. To meet demand, experienced recruiters who can source top talent, create winning interview experiences, and seal the deal are needed everywhere.

Profiles among job seekers checking out salaries have grown 38 percent for this position. Wages have only increased by two percent, but recruiting is heavily commissioned in a lot of organizations. Over half of people with this position also report working from home most of the time or all of the time, so workplace flexibility may be something you need to offer to retain your best recruiters

Recruiting Coordinator
The need for attracting top talent extends to less experienced recruiters as well. Recruiting coordinators are responsible for a lot of the administrative work that supports the recruiting function to provide a positive candidate experience throughout the application and interview process.

The responsibilities of recruiting coordinators can include posting job ads, sifting through resumes, entering data in the applicant tracking system (ATS), scheduling interviews, facilitating communications, creating offer letters, and conducting background checks.

Salary profiles created by job seekers have increased by 38 percent in 2021. However, wages have only increased by three percent. A little over a third of people with this position report that they work from home most of the time or all of the time. Workplace flexibility in this position may become increasingly desired.

Retail Sales Associate
Organizations everywhere are struggling to find people to fill all the positions they have open and that especially includes retail sales positions at brick-and-mortar stores during the holiday season.

Retail sales associates are typically tethered to stores and are responsible for greeting customers, assisting customers in finding merchandise, answering questions, stocking inventory, keeping the store tidy, operating cash registers to help customers check out, and providing other customer service functions.

Salary profiles for retail sales associates have increased by 37 percent in 2021. Wages have increased by five percent, which is higher than average, but not among the fastest growing jobs by wages.

Social Media Manager
Social media usage has grown throughout the pandemic, and for organizations, that means caring more about how the company brand is perceived in digital spaces and the need to actively manage the conversation.

This is especially true in relation to the employer brand and how the company is presenting its values and commitments to employees and candidates in order to attract top talent.

Wages for this position are broad with wage growth having only increased by three percent over the last year. What’s most important for this position is to make sure you are factoring in years of experience when slotting an employee’s position in the pay range. Social media isn’t an entry level position anymore; this is a professional job that makes a big impact. Forty percent of people with this job title also say they work from home most of the time or all of the time.








Hair stylists are among the hottest jobs in 2021. That’s especially good news considering that these positions were in dire jeopardy at the start of the pandemic when businesses shut down temporarily and people weren’t able to get haircuts.

Now the demand for hairdressers and hair stylists is booming. Although many hair stylists may have abandoned this career path last year when the market dried up, it looks like they may be making a comeback in 2021.

Profiles from job seekers filling out salary profiles increased by 35 percent. However wages have only increased by three percent.


Clinical Research Associate
In the wake of COVID-19, clinical trials have certainly been important. Clinical Research Associate (CRAs) monitor clinical trials for research hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, or contract agencies.

Profiles from job seekers looking up salary information for this position have increased by 34 percent. Wages for this position have increased by six percent, which is higher than average.

Hiring fresh graduates is a common tactic, but young people grow their value fast over a short time frame. If compensation doesn’t keep up, they’re more likely to jump ship than more experienced employees who are further up in their pay range.


Content Strategist
In today’s information-saturated world, great content is key to attracting customers. Internet usage has increased during the pandemic, requiring organizations to focus more on content.

Content strategists are experienced marketers that plan, design, write, and publish compelling content to raise awareness, engage audiences, build credibility, promote products and services, and generate leads.

Profiles among job seekers looking up how much a content strategist makes have grown by 34 percent. Wages have increased by eight percent, which is relatively high without being one of the fastest growing jobs by wages alone. This is also a position that 44 percent of people do from home most of the time or all of the time. Marketing occupations also have higher expectations for remote work than other occupations, which could be a factor driving job seeking behavior in 2021.

Compensation Analyst
As the industry leader of compensation data and software, Payscale is thrilled to see the compensation analyst position land on the top 10 of the hottest jobs in 2021.

A compensation analyst is critical for any organization needed to build and maintain a compensation strategy and structures and conduct pay analysis. Profiles for people in this position evaluating a new job offer increased by 34 percent, but wage growth is stagnated at three percent. Perhaps compensation analysts need to be valued higher in this job market when getting pay right is critical?

We hope that compensation analysts making this list is evidence that organizations are actively growing their compensation teams and investing in compensation strategy and maturity as pay increases, pay equity, pay analysis, pay communications, and other compensation related challenges obtain greater recognition and significance.








2021 Labor Market Trends
Employers everywhere agree: It’s harder to find workers right now. But what is fueling the difficulty of attracting and retaining talent in 2021?

Given that unemployment is still above 2019 levels (4.2 percent in November), the current labor market situation can’t technically be defined as a labor shortage. It’s also evidently not the extended unemployment benefits from COVID-19, as these ended in September and the perception of a labor shortage has not abated since then. However, unemployment is approaching rates pre-pandemic, so the job market is tightening.

Speculation as to why job openings remain unfulfilled include ongoing fears of contracting COVID-19, especially among essential workers who are more at risk of exposure, people leaving the workforce temporarily or permanently to pursue education, entrepreneurial endeavors, or passion projects, the early retirement of American workers over the age of 55, and the challenges associated with working while caring for school age children still at home.

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