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The 20 Most In-Demand Jobs for 2021

Worried about job security? These are the jobs that companies desperately need to fill this year and beyond.

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Jobs with a bright future

The pandemic has changed so much about our daily lives, from the way we travel (or don’t) to how we engage with the world around us. It has altered the job market in big ways, too. That’s something the folks at LinkedIn are keenly aware of. Because the world has changed so dramatically in such a short period of time, the career-networking site shifted the focus of its annual emerging jobs report, emphasizing where the opportunities are right now. This is different from the usual methodology, as previous reports have focused on job trends over the past five years. But the past five years have little bearing on today’s job market since certain jobs vanished or were put on hold in 2020, as LinkedIn and other career sites have aptly noted. Instead, it’s all about the past year and the in-demand jobs that have emerged for 2021 and beyond.

So, what are the best careers to pursue now with the most possibilities for growth and longevity? From tech jobs to health care opportunities to eco-friendly careers, the list is diverse in terms of interests, skills, and education requirements. While some call for advanced degrees, others require only a high school diploma. But according to the experts, they’re recession-proof careers, and some of them are even jobs that might make you a millionaire.

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Frontline e-commerce worker

Unsurprisingly, hiring for frontline e-commerce workers positions grew by 73 percent year-over-year, with more than 400,000 jobs available, per LinkedIn, as of March 2021. There are a number of job titles under this large employment umbrella, including delivery driver, supply chain associate, package handler, and personal shopper. As the world of shopping pivoted during the pandemic even more from in-store and in-person to online and on-the-sofa, shopping for anything and everything from the comfort of our own homes won’t be going away anytime soon.

Education: Varies, but 75 percent of hires have a bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $42,000–$56,000

Woman talking to finance advisor at homeFG Trade/Getty Images

Loan and mortgage experts

Whether you’re in the market for a debt-consolidation loan, a refinance, or a mortgage for a new home, the experts capable of putting those wheels in motion for you are poised to be stars of the job market, according to LinkedIn. In 2020, hiring for loan underwriters, mortgage loan officers, loan closers, and escrow officers rose by 59 percent from the previous year, and there’s no sign of a slowdown.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $43,700–$60,000

RELATED: Jobs That Might Disappear in the Next 25 Years

Caregiver with senior woman looking through windowMorsa Images/Getty Images

In-home caregiver

As the elderly population continues to grow, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that a person celebrating their 65th birthday in 2021 now has an approximately 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services in their lifetime. “As long-term care services and support shift from nursing homes and care facilities to private homes, the supply-and-demand gap for at-home care workers will increase,” says Mike Flair, VP of Franchise Business Solutions at Right at Home, a company of in-home senior-care providers. “By 2026, the fast-expanding home care population will need 4.2 million more home care workers. A direct-care occupation is a highly regarded career opportunity.”

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $65,300–$106,000

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Workplace diversity expert

As a workplace diversity expert, your ultimate goal will be to understand what diversity means to an organization and what the company’s legal obligations are for recruiting, hiring, and engaging in everyday business practices. You will work to build a diverse, inclusive professional environment that makes people of all ethnicities, religions, ages, genders, and abilities feel valued, seen, and appreciated for who they are. You will also have to deal with any related problems that arise, such as these microaggressions at work that many people don’t realize are a problem. LinkedIn reports that hiring for these roles has increased by more than 90 percent since 2019.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $72,900–$97,000

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Digital and video marketer

The pandemic pushed so much online, and companies that didn’t have a strong Web presence before suddenly needed one to survive. As a result, the digital marketing world started buzzing with job opportunities for candidates with digital strategy and brand management skills. Job titles in this field include digital marketing specialist, social media manager, marketing representative, and SEO specialist. “In 2020, over two million new digital jobs were expected to rise in the U.K. alone,” according to the educational resource site College Basics. “Even people who live overseas can benefit from this growth, as freelancers or English-speaking foreigners fill most of these jobs.”

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $48,000–$96,000

You need to have a healthy balance of diet and exerciseFatCamera/Getty Images

Nurse practitioner

Of course, the demand for qualified medical professionals has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and there’s a particular need for nurse practitioners at this time. CareerFitter projects a 52 percent increase in hiring these health care heroes in the coming year. To be a nurse, you need a master’s degree, but the job can pay nearly $110,000 annually, along with benefits, so it’s well worth the investment. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being a person who saves lives. Kiplinger reports that there are currently about 2.9 million RNs in the United States, and that number could increase by 17 percent by 2026.

Education: Master’s degree, a state license, and national APRN certification

Salary range: $109,000+

Two Electric engineer wearing Personal protective equipment working in wind turbine farm.Tunvarat Pruksachat/Getty Images

Wind turbine technician

Despite some outdated opinions on the matter, renewable energy is the future, and as such, jobs within this field are predicted to be in demand in 2021 and beyond. In fact, two of CareerFitter’s top projected hiring increases are in the clean energy industry, and wind turbine techs could see a 60 percent increase in hiring as more governments and businesses take the threat of climate change seriously. If you like working outdoors and aren’t troubled by small spaces or heights, being a wind tech could be for you! Check out more of the highest-paying jobs that require no experience.

Education: High school diploma and technical school certificate or associate’s degree

Salary range: $52,000+

Asian technicians using an electric drill installing solar cells to produce and distribute electricity. Solar energy technology conceptPramote Polyamate/Getty Images

Solar installer

Residential solar panels are going up all over America, and that makes the installers of this renewable, clean energy very desirable. What makes this job even better is that it’s relatively high-paying (nearly $45,000 per year to start) and you don’t need a college degree. As long as you can handle heights, most companies will train you. Since you’ll be on your own a lot while you work, this may be one of the best jobs for introverts.

Education: High school diploma, on-the-job training, and a license depending on the state

Salary range: $44,000+

Caucasian professor examining equations on whiteboardHill Street Studios/Getty Images

Statistician and mathematician

The modern world runs on data, and behind all those numbers are math equations and statistics that need to be understood. According to Career Fitter, you can expect to be paid more than $91,000 a year to help corporations interpret the 1.7 MB of new data that’s created every second for every person on the planet.

Education: Master’s degree or bachelor’s degree, depending on the position

Salary range: $91,000+

Businessman sitting at desk working on computerThomas Barwick/Getty Images

Artificial intelligence practitioner

According to Zippia, this high-tech career is expected to grow 9 percent and produce 28,900 job opportunities across the United States by 2028. A.I. is becoming a part of everyday life, and the salary for this in-demand job is an average of $78.96 an hour, which equates to $164,231 a year. There are a number of certificate programs available to help those who want to start a high-paying career in artificial intelligence integration and help companies avoid mishaps like these hilarious artificial intelligence mistakes.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree

Salary range: $124,000–$150,000

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Blockchain developer

You may not fully understand what cryptocurrency is or what NFTs are, but if you want a good job in 2021, you may want to learn! Jordan Bishop, VP of Human Resources at Yore Oyster, believes that blockchain developers will be among the biggest in-demand jobs this year. He says this is because major developments in cryptocurrency infrastructure will require a huge investment in developing talent and oversight. Blockchain didn’t even exist until a few years ago, and that’s the case with many of the new jobs in this expanding field. The same goes for these cool jobs you could have in the future.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, certificate programs, and/or knowledge of coding and IT

Salary range: $103,000+

Cybersecurity project managerCecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images

Cybersecurity project manager

According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ Jobs Report 2018–2021, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings throughout 2021. Additionally, in a survey of cybersecurity professionals by Enterprise Strategy Group, 74 percent of respondents said the cybersecurity-skills shortage has impacted their organizations significantly or somewhat. It’s clear that cybersecurity jobs will continue to be in demand as we move into an even more cyber-focused future. Security project managers who have some security or project-management experience can start at $66,000 a year with the potential to rise up to a healthy six-figure wage.

Education: Bachelor’s degree

Salary range: $66,000–$100,000+

Smiling woman sitting at desk in tattoo studio looking at cell phoneWestend61/Getty Images

Social media marketer

“Marketing automation, growth marketing, and social-marketing influencer are just a few of the jobs that didn’t exist even five years ago,” says Debora Rowland, VP of Human Resources at CareerArc. “And yet, they are now primary roles to any thriving business!” Because people who have been in the marketing game for many years are having to retool their skill sets to stay relevant, Rowland believes that it is a great time for college students to embrace these types of professions and punch their ticket to a sustainable, in-demand career. If you’re looking for a job for the next stage of your life, check out this list of the best jobs for retirees.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $50,000–$145,000

UX UI and Programming development technology.Cavan Images/Getty Images

UX designer

Every second of every day, millions of people use websites, apps, and assorted smart devices to shop, research, bank, apply for loans, play games, stream entertainment, book trips, and so much more. UX design hones in on the interactions between human users and everyday products and services. Designing a comfortable, quality user experience involves equal parts business acumen, design sensibilities, technology knowledge, marketing savvy, and psychology.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $80,000–$103,000

Mature woman visiting a senior counselorLucy Lambriex/Getty Images

Mental health specialist

It’s not just the stress of the pandemic that’s spurred the popularity of this career. There’s also racial unrest, wage inequality, obesity, discrimination, poverty, and heightened anxiety among young people in America, to name a few. And as problems have intensified, the stigma around treatment them has decreased. More people are looking for therapists, and the demand will likely only go up because of that. The three largest jobs under the umbrella of “mental health specialist” are behavior therapist, mental health technician, and psychotherapist, according to LinkedIn.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

Salary range: $41,600–$65,000

Digital content creator

If you use social media, you’ve probably already seen the content created by some people making a living in this thoroughly modern job. Whether on TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram, this job trend has been on the rise in recent years. Because so many people have been at home for the past year, there are more digital content creators than ever right now—but there is also more growth potential. Major brands recognize how valuable people with this skill are, and more of them are partnering with content creators to sell their products and services, making this a legitimate work-from-home business and one of the in-demand jobs in 2021. FYI, no matter which field you’re in, these are the soft skills all hiring managers are looking for.

Education: No specific degree required

Salary range: $46,000–$62,400

A man working in a bicycle repair shop.Mint Images/Getty Images

Bicycle repair specialist

While the salary for repairing bikes may not be as high as the others on this list, this job may be a steady one, as it’s predicted that more Americans will drive less, make physical fitness a priority, and adopt a greener lifestyle. For those looking for a job that doesn’t require an expensive degree and one that combines physical activity, practical skill, and avoids an abundance of meetings, a career in bicycle repair could be for you, according to The Best Schools.

Education: High school diploma

Salary range: $27,500+

Genetic counseling consultant advising couple during pregnancyNoSystem images/Getty Images

Genetic counselor

Like many of 2021’s most in-demand jobs, genetic counselors did not exist as recently as 15 or 20 years ago. But in 2021, they are critical to getting a better picture of your health and your growing family’s health. A genetic counselor takes a close look at the risks and inherited conditions relating to a patient’s genetic makeup and counsels them on predicted genetic complications, such as genetic disorders or birth defects, to help them make an informed decision about whether or not to have children, how to go about it to minimize potential risk, or simply to provide more information so there are fewer surprises down the line.

Education: Master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics

Salary range: $74,000+

Forest fire inspector and prevention specialist

Each year, wildfires claim thousands of acres of forest out west. Lives are lost, animal habitats are destroyed, and homes are burned to the ground. According to The Best Schools, forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists work to understand, prevent, predict, and quickly halt these wildfires. The role requires anticipation, data analysis, expert knowledge, and a passion for nature and public service. Because forest fires are a perennial issue, and one that seems to be getting worse due to climate change, this job should be in demand in 2021 and beyond. Would you want to do any of the most dangerous jobs in the world?

Education: High school diploma

Salary range: $36,000+

UX UI and Programming development technology.Cavan Images/Getty Images

Java developer

We live in a web-based world, and as such, someone who can design and manage web-based applications for businesses is going to be perpetually in-demand. A Java developer is responsible for the design, development, and management of those applications. And because Java is widely used by large companies, once you have the professional IT certification required to do this work, you could be an employee who’s in demand for many years to come. Ready to take the plunge and apply for a new job? Here’s how to write a resume that will get you hired.

Education: Professional IT certification

Salary range: $51,000–$136,000

Sources:

  • LinkedIn: “LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise: 15 opportunities that are in demand and hiring now”
  • Mike Flair, VP of Franchise Business Solutions at Right at Home
  • College Basics: “2020 Career Outlook for the Digital Marketing Industry”
  • CareerFitter: “These 12 careers are your best chance to get a job in 2021”
  • Kiplinger: “30 of the Best Jobs for the Future”
  • Zippia: “Artificial Intelligence Specialist Careers”
  • Codemotion: “Change to the most in-demand job of 2020: Blockchain Developer”
  • Jordan Bishop, VP of Human Resources at Yore Oyster
  • CybersecurityVentures.com: “Cybersecurity Talent Crunch To Create 3.5 Million Unfilled Jobs Globally By 2021”
  • Enterprise Strategy Group: “Is the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage Getting Worse?”
  • Debora Rowland, VP of Human Resources at CareerArc
  • The Best Schools: “The 25 Best Jobs for the Next Decade”

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.

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