by Jackie Valley, The Nevada Independent, April 6, 2022
Calling all software developers, civil engineers, operations managers, environmental scientists, veterinarians and information security analysts.
Those are among the top 10 in-demand jobs in Southern Nevada, according to a regional “2022 Workforce Blueprint” released Tuesday. The report — the product of a partnership led by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance — is the third of its kind, with previous editions released in 2017 and 2019.
Software developers who specialize in apps remained the most in-demand job, followed by software developers who focus on systems. The report noted that the high-need nature of those jobs “highlights the expanding role of the information and communication technologies target industry.”
Despite the emergence of the pandemic since the last report, the demand for two health care job categories declined. Registered nurses, previously ranked as the fourth most in-demand job, fell to the No. 22 spot. Respiratory therapists also saw a backward slide, going from the No. 9 to the No. 16 ranking. But demand for nurse practitioners and physician assistants grew, with them moving up to the No. 11 and No. 20 spots, respectively.
“That was a bit of a surprise,” said Mary Beth Sewald, president and CEO of the Vegas Chamber. But she noted the existence of UNLV’s medical school — and the greater focus on shoring up health care shortages — may be behind some of those declines.
Teachers also didn’t crack the top 50 most in-demand jobs, even though the Clark County School District grapples with shortages every year and is facing more resignations than normal right now. The rankings for secondary school teachers (No. 56), elementary school teachers (No. 59) and middle school teachers (No. 67) all fell by double digits since the last report.
It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the decline in education-related job demand, though Sewald said it’s one of the areas that needs closer examination.
Tina Quigley, president and CEO of the LVGEA, said the report provides insight about how the state can align talent needs with its education system. She pointed to operations managers (who play a behind-the-scenes role overseeing processes, purchasing, accounting, inventory, human resources and information technology) as an example: There are 1,635 annual openings but only a pipeline of 321 candidates, leaving a sizable gap.
The findings catalyze conversations, some of which are already happening, about how to bridge those workforce needs through training, certificate and higher education programs. Quigley said industry leaders need to be asked questions such as, “What were your challenges in terms of finding talent to fill your needs? And, specifically, what are those jobs and what type of training do you need to fill those jobs?”
The report suggests regional leaders should expand existing efforts and adapt training programs that provide displaced workers with new skills needed for in-demand jobs; better communicate the “in-demand jobs with high economic mobility” that exist; and define a diversity, equity and inclusion policy for the regional economy.
Sewald said the report also highlights a number of jobs that do not require four-year degrees — such as transportation, storage and distribution managers — but may provide upward mobility through promotions, resulting in higher wages over time.
The report lists the following as target industries within Southern Nevada: general and advanced manufacturing, creative industries, information and communication technologies, transportation and logistics technologies, business and financial services, health care services and clean technologies.
As the region eyes economic development opportunities, Quigley said it should be focusing on attracting businesses that export goods or services beyond the state line, thus “importing money,” and ones that continue increasing wages.
“That determines the level of prosperity of your economy and your community,” she said.