The Top 5 Industries for Small Business Jobs

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often thought of with a certain degree of sentimentality. The phrase “mom-and-pop” conjures Rockwellian images of the local hardware store and shadetree mechanic.

While these businesses remain relevant contributors in the modern economic landscape, this characterization can miss just how powerful a force SMBs truly are. To get a clear picture of the industries in which SMBs are creating the most jobs, we looked at thousands of SMBs with open positions and ranked them by industry and the top job category within each.

The results show SMBs are creating high-quality jobs in many of today’s fastest growing industries. Retail and food service are notably not well represented, with fewer than 3% of firms ranking in each of these categories.

1. Business — 25% of SMBs

Top Job Category: Sales

One in four SMB employers is in the business industry and they are primarily hiring in sales. This bodes well for entry-level and experienced SMB job seekers alike.

It’s not necessary to have an MBA to break into the business world at an SMB, especially within sales. We recently looked at changes in education requirements from 2016 to 2017 among jobs prioritizing formal education requirements. Sales jobs showed the largest declines. Jobs requiring formal education among sales managers and sales specialists declined nearly 40%.

In terms of wages, entry-level pay for sales positions can be modest. But more senior roles, such as sales managers, can easily fetch six figures.

2. Construction — 10% of SMBs

Top Job Category: General

Thanks to a thriving economy and booming real estate market, construction is an industry on the rise. ZipRecruiter’s opportunity index — the ratio of jobs to job seekers — has doubled for the construction industry over the past two years.

Many construction jobs require specialized skills. But the fact that most SMBs in construction are hiring general workers is a good sign for those looking to get started in their career.

3. Healthcare — 10% of SMBs

Top Job Category: Hospital worker

At the close of 2017, healthcare became the U.S.’s largest employer, surpassing both manufacturing and retail in the number of workers employed, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data. Due to our aging population, demand for healthcare workers is on the rise and SMBs are hiring.

According to BLS projections, healthcare support and technical jobs will be among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade.

4. Finance and Insurance — 8% of SMBs

Top Job Category: Accounting

With 8% of SMB employers hiring for jobs in the finance and insurance industries, it’s clear these professions can be found on Main St. as well as Wall St. Just as with sales jobs, there are myriad opportunities within accounting roles that run the gamut of education requirements and pay.

With a median salary of nearly $70,000 a year, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) earn the highest wages. However, roles such as bookkeeper and auditing clerk present opportunities for those who are good with numbers but do not have a college degree.

5. Technology — 8% of SMBs

Top Job Category: Software

While mega-employers have become increasingly dominant in the tech space, well-paying, new collar jobs in technology are still well-represented among SMBs. This is also where some of the best-paying new collar jobs can be found.

ZipRecruiter research shows that small tech firms are increasingly open to hiring qualified applicants without a four-year degree. Given the high representation of tech firms among SMBs, skilled tech workers ought not limit their job search to the giants of Silicon Valley.


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Author: Jeffery Marino

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