10 Tech Jobs That Employers Struggle to Hire For

It’s the start of a New Year, which means that a sizable percentage of technologists are hunting for new jobs—and companies are on the lookout for talent. With that in mind, which jobs are employers having the hardest time filling?

Based on an analysis of data from Burning Glass, which collects millions of job postings from across the country, it’s clear that companies are very interested in two things: Building out their infrastructure, and finding people to analyze the data produced by that infrastructure. That demand has resulted in lengthy times to fill particular positions, as you can see from the chart below.

For the purposes of this study, we’ve focused on a selection of major tech hubs, including:

  • San Francisco
  • Silicon Valley
  • New York/NJ
  • Washington/Arlington, VA
  • Los Angeles
  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • Boston/Cambridge
  • Denver

Within those tech hubs, product manager was the job with the longest time-to-fill (47 days), followed by business intelligence architect/developer (45 days), then network engineer/architect (41 days). As we said, it’s clear that, despite some rumblings from analysts that a recession might hit sometime in 2020, companies are very much in an expansionary mood, with projects to manage and infrastructure to build out, as well as business data to analyze for insight. Other in-demand jobs included:

For technologists, a list like this is pretty good news; it suggests employers aren’t just hungry for highly specialized jobs such as machine-learning experts, but really want a full range of skilled employees to handle fundamental tasks.

Another uplifting fact: As you might expect, many of these in-demand jobs offer six-figure paychecks (in fact, that SEO specialists earn an average of $41,581 seems a tad low). Specializations and certifications can increase that amount; for example, network and systems engineers who add a cybersecurity certification could see an uptick in salary.

The data in this chart is over the past 30 days; when compared data from the beginning of the fourth quarter 2019, you can see that many of these jobs (most notably network engineer/architect) have remained in-demand for quite some time. If you have the skills for any of these positions, employers clearly want to hear from you.

10 Responses to “10 Tech Jobs That Employers Struggle to Hire For”

  1. Johnny Hopkins


    I always enjoy your blog posts about technology, particularly career prospects. Companies struggle to fill those roles because of H.R. offices putting up obstacles to employment. For many of these jobs, a quick glance of job descriptions would show unreasonable skill sets. The answer to these issues is for more IT professionals to go into H.R. and change the hiring mindset of some of these companies. Plus, it is easy to outsource these positions unless employees develop skills in data science and automation of networks.

    • I agree Johnny, HR puts so many roadblocks in the hiring process not to mention job descriptions that at first glance would make a person with the skills for the position think I do not have the skills or I need to update what I have. These companies having such a hard time filling these certain positions should be looking at the HR hiring process and stop the nonsense they put potential employees through.

      • There has also been the problem of wanting the skill set of a god, with the pay rate of someone who for one reason or another doesn’t have a high-school diploma or GED. There was, at least at one time, if not ongoing, the practice of where the descriptions and qualifications of tech jobs were intentionally engineered to filter out any potential candidate so they could focus on things like H1b Visa holders. How much of that is still going on, is not known to me.

    • Most of today’s HR folks lack the senses and skills of HR Representatives from the past. Today HR Reps mostly rely on software that scans resumes looking for keywords. This form of filter tells you nothing about the more important things that employers should be looking for like will the person work well in a team? Will they put in extra hours when needed? How conscientious are they? Did they really do everything that is on their resume? Are they willing to learn new things? etc… But many applicants that have these qualities would be spit out of the process because one keyword was not on their resume. I was a tech manager at a startup and the folks in my group would give the technical interview and I would give more of an interview that told me if this was a person that had the qualities to work at a startup. Believe I have seen first hand how one mis-hire created so many problems for my team. I found the best way to build a team is by recommendations from other employees. mistakes can happen but its unlikely that someone will recommend someone that is not going to work out. I know a lot of folks that basically copy the job description shrink it down into tiny font and paste it into their resume using white lettering so its invisible to the HR Department. Meanwhile the HR scanning software will move the applicant to the top of the list. The only fix is to have skilled HR folks that take the time to really understand the position they need to fill and scan resumes for the right people.

  2. Nick Caron-Clement

    On top of what was already mentioned (the over-qualification of what the job actually is by HR), there is also the general issue of pay and incompetent co-workers/supervisors. There have been plenty of instances where someone hired in a support or service role have boss/director/supervisor that has no idea what they’re doing and only makes the job more difficult. A focus on management staff is needed in order to hire or retain the people that a company wants. Then there is the issue of retaining a co-worker/employee that is incompetent. They tend to cause issues along the way for everyone else that works with them and the clients that they work for. Once they cause an issue, It’s usually then up to management or another employee to clean up said mess. What I have come to notice is that those people tend to just get moved around in an environment where it is made difficult to fire someone who is a constant strain on everyone. Then there is the issue of pay. I am what you would consider a “Computer Support Specialist”. And while I consider my pay to be adequate, it is still well under market value. If I were to drive about an hour north from where I am now for the same job, with the same requirements, I would take a $3 to $5 an hour hit it pay. The companies that have these positions in high demand may need to pause and take a moment to “self-reflect” as to why these positions may be open for so long, it could be their fault.

    TL:DR – Incompetence makes it hard to hire/retain people, especially when they “fail upwards” and companies don’t fire them. And it you have that along with low pay, people aren’t going to want or stay in the job. Companies should “self reflect”.

  3. Michael Rogan

    So many resumes get pre-processed by “AI” software, or lower level members of HR that it becomes almost impossible for someone with an interesting resume to get so much as a rejection letter. Straight into the dustbin. I left a lucrative position to study advanced mathematics for two years, took another year to earn a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and then taught in the New York City School City system for two years. The response from HR – “Your skills are not current you have been away fro IT for almost six years.” Patently absurd, of course – my skills were highly enriched by the experience. My answer – build a network, leverage your contacts, and put yourself out there as an independent contractor. You will pound more pavement, but when you don’t have to present a traditional chronological resume, you will at least get interviews. Then it’s up to you to sell yourself. Which is better than being rejected by an entry level clerk in HR.

  4. Part of it is pay. Salaries are flat and companies and trying to keep that liability in check. Want people? Pay more. Moving positions for the same pay or maybe 5-10% more isn’t going to get people on board. It’s time to spread the wealth around instead of sending it up top.

  5. Doug Williams

    Another part is that most companies want new graduates from college anyone who is older, experienced and willing to work and learn is moved out of the running right a way as well. If you have experience and try for an entry level position they can’t figure out why and eliminate you even if the jobs you are qualified for won’t take you even with the experience. They don’t seem to think that the older generation still has to pay bills too.