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High pay, low competition

These fields need workers immediately
High pay, low competition

People who switch jobs get paid more. As the labor market continues to tighten, workers develop more leverage when it comes to negotiating a higher wage. Especially when they take a new job.

In fact, leveraging power might be one of the main factors driving a higher national quit rate. It’s not reported in the media as often as the unemployment rate, but it’s actually a much better way to gauge the balance of power in the job market. The quit rate represents the number of employed workers who voluntarily leave their job for a role at a different firm. Right now the quit rate sits at 2.3, which is the highest it’s been since 2005.

Worker mobility is a beautiful thing. Not only does it mean people get paid more, but it means people have more choices to take a job they actually enjoy. Since more people are on the hunt for that rare combination, we put together a quick guide to help you find the best six-figure jobs with the least amount of competition.

Nurse manager

  • Jobs per applicant: 4.9
  • Average salary: $111,680
  • Top salary: $176,130

Due to America’s aging population, the health care industry is now the largest employer in the U.S., and it offers a range of well-paying jobs that require varying degrees of education and experience. Nurse managers are in particularly high demand right now, which is great news for those who work in nursing and want to level up. If you’ve got even a few years of nursing experience and haven’t hit the six-figure salary mark yet, there’s a good chance you can get there quickly by moving into a management role.

Soccer coach

  • Jobs per applicant: 9.7
  • Average salary: $41,760
  • Top salary: $105,000

Perhaps one explanation for America’s World Cup qualifying miss this year is the extreme shortage of soccer coaches. In order to have competitive major league teams, we need strong youth organizations to cultivate tomorrow’s soccer superstars, which means there’s job opportunity within the sport. If you’re really well-qualified you can make more than $100,000 annually. If soccer isn’t your sport, baseball, basketball and softball coaches are also in high demand.

School psychologist

  • Jobs per applicant: 3.0
  • Average salary: $81,330
  • Top salary: $123,920

Schools are beginning to respond to the need for more mental health services on campus, but there just aren’t enough qualified professionals to meet the demand. Becoming a school psychologist is a great choice if you want a career that makes a difference in people’s lives. It may seem like the barrier to entry is too high to make a complete career switch, but there are many part-time and online programs available that can set you on the path to becoming a school psychologist in a few years if you already hold a bachelor’s degree.

Physical therapist

  • Jobs per applicant: 2.5
  • Average salary: $86,850
  • Top salary: $122,650

As both health care and the sports industries continue to grow, the need for physical therapists has surged. While the highest-paid in the field will be doctors of physical therapy, you can get started as a physical therapist assistant with a two-year degree. PTAs are in very high demand, with more than two jobs available for every applicant.

Technical writer

  • Jobs per applicant: 2.0
  • Average salary: $74,440
  • Top salary: $113,810

Yes, even English majors are reaping the benefits of a tight labor market. While technical writing is a specialized field, anyone with a strong command of the written word and a knack for analytical thinking can earn a fantastic living as a technical writer. There’s particularly high demand for writers to document products and services within the health care and tech industries.


The level of competition was gauged using the ZipRecruiter Opportunity Index, which compares the number of job openings to the number of applicants for those jobs. We looked at the Opportunity Index for every job title in the ZipRecruiter database for the second quarter of 2018. Salary data was pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the exception of the soccer coach salary, which was determined using ZipRecruiter data. The top salary represents the average annual salary within the 90th percentile of earnings.

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