Workers Hop Industries to Labor-Deprived Sectors

April 26, 2002 ( - More workers are industry hopping these days to take advantage of sectors where the job market is glowing red hot, a new survey from Challenger, Gray & Christmas shows.

According to the Challenger survey, hiring managers in fields like health care, accounting, education, security, and construction are increasingly going outside to find qualified workers because of staffing shortages.

Some 53% of job seekers hopped to a new industry over the last two quarters – up sharply from the previous six months that saw 40% of those job hunting going to a new field.

During the 12-quarter period from January 1990, through December 1992, an average of 52% of job-seeking managers and executives changed industries for new positions.

Pa. County Desperate for Nurses

As an example, Challenger cited efforts by officials in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, who have decided to use a $600,000 state grant to train workers outside the health-care industry to take nursing jobs.

Challenger said the shortage is so severe that Lancaster County hospitals and medical groups are offering signing bonuses of up to $10,000 for critical care nurses.

The teaching profession is suffering similar shortages, Challenger said, forcing officials in many US school districts to do things like relax certification requirements so those with college degrees can more easily move into education.

The data come from the Challenger Job Market Index, a quarterly survey of 3,000 discharged managers and executives from a range of industries across the US.