Every year, West Michigan Works! releases a list of the top 100 job opportunities in the region’s high-demand industries—construction/energy, health sciences, information technology, manufacturing and professional/administrative services. They work closely with regional employers and talent councils to understand their talent needs and make the best recommendations to job seekers.

What makes a job “hot”?

A hot job is an occupation that can provide a great career opportunity. These jobs are “hot” because there are a significant number of current openings AND they are expected to have even more openings in the future. Many of the jobs also meet the criteria for West Michigan Works! training scholarships.

To be on the hot jobs list, occupations must meet the following criteria:

  • Pay at least $13.75 per hour
  • Show a growth rate of at least 9% over 10 years
  • Have annual openings above industry averages

What’s new on the hot jobs list in 2020?

The list has seen some shifts in median pay and expected growth in 2020 due to the availability of more up-to-date data. This means the information is a more accurate reflection of West Michigan’s job outlook.

Many jobs, like medical assistants, carpenters and web developers, remain on the list year-over-year due to continued demand in West Michigan. This year’s list also reflects the growing demand for talent in the agribusiness industry.

Why agribusiness?

The agribusiness industry includes farming and food production. West Michigan is home to over 200 companies that provide over 23,500 jobs in food processing alone. Some local agribusiness employers include Kellogg’s, Tyson, Nestle/Gerber and GFS.

The greater need for agribusiness talent is a result of two trends: 1) an aging and retiring workforce and 2) recruitment challenges. There is a false perception that the industry does not offer well-paying, skilled job opportunities. In reality, the average yearly earnings in the food processing industry is over $60,000. Additionally, local employers offer training and advancement opportunities for motivated employees.

Check out the online list. It is sortable, provides information on training scholarship eligibility and includes links to informational videos to learn more about the occupations.