The hottest jobs of 2019 and what's next for 2020

Move over, Silicon Valley. The hottest jobs of 2019 largely fell outside of tech — a reversal from last year. Instead, the new roster reflects a more diverse economy and robust spending by the American consumer.

Only 2 of the 10 fastest-growing jobs this year were in the tech sector, according to data from jobs software company PayScale, down from 6 in 10 in 2018. PayScale surveyed 12,620 respondents for its 2019 study.

Some of the top jobs, like foreman and personal shopper, underscore how much Americans are spending, while other roles such as director of marketing and email marketing specialist highlight the desire by companies to capitalize on the consumer’s propensity to shop.

Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance
Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance

“We always talk about tech and finance being the big drivers of the economy, but I think what we found this year... is that you are part of the community whether you like it or not,” Sudarshan Sampath, director of research at PayScale, told Yahoo Money. “Your spending habits have a huge impact on the rest of the economy and have an impact on other people, and this is showing the broader web of the U.S. economy.”


The top 10 hottest jobs of 2019 break down like this:

  1. Foreman

  2. Full-stack software engineer

  3. Director of marketing

  4. Machine operator

  5. Personal shopper

  6. Lead UX designer

  7. Director of community engagement

  8. Maternity nurse (RN)

  9. Wealth advisor

  10. Email marketing specialist

What’s propping up these jobs?

The top job of 2019 was foreman, a person who supervises a construction crew. This makes sense, Sampath said, and shows how more people with disposable income can prop up other industries.

“The economy hasn’t changed that quickly from 2018 to 2019,” Sampath said. “So what we are seeing is a proliferation of other kinds of jobs that are a byproduct of people in those occupations who are purchasing more.”

Professional engineer architect worker with protective helmet and blueprints paper at house building construction site background
The hottest job in 2019 was a foreman, reflecting a strong housing market and more spending power from the consumer. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Take an engineer or any tech employee as an example. If that engineer or tech worker earns more, they buy more, such as purchasing a home, Sampath said. If the house is new construction, then a foreman is needed to build those new homes.

Tech workers are also transforming non-tech industries by taking jobs in fields such as construction, energy and utilities, finance and insurance, health care, real estate, and retail. That’s helping to boost the pay in those non-tech industries for certain roles, according to Sampath.

Overhead view of design team having project meeting in office
The hottest jobs in 2019 reflected a robust and diverse economy, according to a new ranking from PayScale. (Photo: Getty Creative)

What’s on the horizon for 2020?

Some of the same jobs and skills that were in demand this year will continue to see growth into 2020, PayScale research showed.

Those job areas are overwhelmingly in tech, such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data, cybersecurity, virtual/augmented reality, and digital marketing. Jobs in the cannabis industry also will be in demand.

PayScale research also found that jobs in the finance, energy, health care, retail, construction, and real estate industries will also be hot in 2020.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

Read more:

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, and reddit.