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  • Where the (good) jobs are

    Recruiting, tech, data analysis, cannabis compliance, health care and social media are some of the most sought-after categories for job seekers looking for a nice paycheck.

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    With unemployment at a 50-year low—the rate in Illinois was 3.9 percent late last year—it's an excellent time to be in the job market and not a bad time to be a corporate employee.

    Labor shortages have put the spotlight on once-sleepy corporate human resources departments. HR has gained stature as companies seek to recruit and retain talent through coaching and leadership-development programs. Recruiters who can spot and court talent are in demand, as are HR specialists, generalists and compensation consultants. "The HR function has been elevated as the labor market has gotten tighter," says Daniel Zhao, senior economist at employment website Glassdoor. "There's a focus on workplace culture and wellness that is not going away."

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    79彩票注册网址As corporate functions are digitized, there's demand for specialists in the software systems that drive efficiency in sales, operations, finance, HR and legal. Also needed: analysts to gather and interpret the vast datasets that inform bigger strategies. Technology, meanwhile, has evolved into ever more specialized niches: cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics and solutions architecture.

    Health care is responding to pressures to reduce costs and mitigate risk. Digitalization of protocols makes it easier for physician assistants and nurse practitioners to pick up more clinical practice, leaving the more complex decisions for physicians, says Raheela Gill Anwar, head of sales and client service at talent consultancy BPI Group. "This reduces costs as well as the risk of human error."

    79彩票注册网址Jobs in the fledgling cannabis supply chain don't promise wealth, but getting in on the ground floor can spark a career. As the industry grows, demand is expected to grow for high-paying legal, tax and consulting roles, experts say.

    79彩票注册网址Here are the most in-demand jobs that have median incomes of at least $65,000.

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    HUMAN RESOURCES

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    RECRUITER:79彩票注册网址 As companies struggle to fill jobs, recruiters have emerged as a hot commodity. These are not the human resources managers of yesteryear who pored over job applications but go-getters who identify and woo talent. "You need the sales gene," says Ana Anastasio, CEO of Geneva-based Wellington Group, which specializes in placing human resources professionals. "You are selling an opportunity." Successful recruiters work at developing wide networks and are skilled in using technology, including social media.

    Pay: Whether in-house or at outside staffing agencies, recruiters can start at $55,000 and reach $80,000 or more in three to five years.

    HR INFORMATION SYSTEMS ANALYST:79彩票注册网址 As traditional human resources departments embrace technology, there's rising demand for the specialists who install and maintain benefits management systems such as Workday and PeopleSoft. These systems enable employees to track pay and benefits as well as goals and performance reviews, and to log hours and time off. "HR is bleeding into the IT space, and departments make more use of data analytics," says Matt Wessels, a talent management partner specializing in HR at Advanced Resources. Analysts can be employed at a software vendor such as Workday, a consultancy or the end-user company.

    Pay: Specialists with some experience can start at $65,000, Wessels says, and quickly raise their salary to $80,000 or higher.

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    CANNABIS

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    COMPLIANCE MANAGER: With marijuana and cannabis products now a legal Illinois industry, this position is essential for any organization that touches the plant, including cultivation, extraction, manufacturing and retail. "Compliance professionals help companies navigate the legal and regulatory landscape," says Zhao at Glassdoor. These managers must be up to speed on local, state and national regulations, tax laws, contractual considerations and best practices. They require attention to detail and the flexibility to work in a changing regulatory environment.

    Pay: Since cannabis products have only recently become legal and the industry is young, there isn't much pay data, but Glassdoor pegs the average salary for this position at a small company to be around $66,000.

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    TECHNOLOGY

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    CYBERSECURITY OR INFORMATION SECURITY ANALYST: With hacks and data breaches reported with disturbing frequency, cybersecurity experts have become critical to IT departments. "How do you protect data and keep someone from hacking you?" says Karyn McCoy, assistant vice president at the DePaul University Career Center. "It's a science, but there's art to it as well." It's a perfect job for geeks who have been hacking computers since middle school. McCoy notes that most analysts and consultants have degrees in computer science or cybersecurity.

    Pay: The job of information security analyst is projected to grow 32 percent through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a median salary of $98,350.

    UX UI DESIGNERS: UX (user experience) designers function as website architects, structuring the platform so it's user-friendly and elements are in the right place. UI (user interface) designers work as the interior designers, focusing on the look and feel of the site. They hand off their work to UI developers, who make the site function on a browser. There's a scarcity of midlevel talent in Chicago, notes Megan Streich, talent engagement director at talent agency Wunderland, and "more jobs than people available to fill them." Six-month boot camps are a popular option for career switchers such as graphic designers and marketing analysts.

    Pay: 79彩票注册网址Designers can start at $60,000 to $70,000, with a median pay of $90,000 in Chicago, Streich says.

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    GENERAL BUSINESS

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    DATABASE ANALYST: How do you take a dataset and turn it into something that makes sense? That's the job of the data analyst, who looks for patterns and trends in complex groups of data, whether sales trends or workforce demographics. "You have to be able to ask questions to make sense of the numbers to better position the company and solve strategic issues," says Mark Presnell, executive director of Northwestern Career Advancement at Northwestern University.

    Pay: Experts say data analysts usually fall into the Bureau of Labor Statistics category for statisticians, which is projected to grow 31 percent through 2028, with median pay of $87,780.

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    MARKETING AND MEDIA

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    SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: 79彩票注册网址, 79彩票注册网址 and Instagram savants are in demand by companies, nonprofits and media to push out content. Organizations use social media to generate sales leads, build brand awareness, provide customer service and recruit employees, according to staffing firm Robert Half. These managers track data on leads generated, impressions, followers or other benchmarks. "Every company has a social profile; it's a primary way to interact with customers," says Zhao at Glassdoor. "But there's a lot of risk if a mistake goes viral." Zhao notes that managers who post with wit and pizazz quickly distinguish themselves from their more mechanical peers. The position can be a springboard to higher-level jobs in strategy and business development.

    Pay: 79彩票注册网址The midpoint starting salary is more than $57,000 and can quickly grow to $80,000 or more, experts say.

    CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGER:79彩票注册网址 These specialists use CRM software systems and tools such as Salesforce and Hubspot to manage interaction with customers and prospects. CRMs work with sales teams and account managers to track and analyze data on customer buying histories and identify new business opportunities. They also use data to assess satisfaction and weak spots. And they distill the numbers to report on long-term trends to sales managers and higher-ups. These jobs require attention to detail and strong writing, communication and problem-solving skills, says Gill Anwar at BPI Group.

    Pay: 79彩票注册网址Customer relationship manager jobs can start in the range of $50,000 to $75,000 and reach $100,000 or more after five years, experts say.

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    79彩票注册网址 CARE

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    PHYSICAL THERAPIST: Baby boomers coping with creaky knees, aching backs and replaced hips ensure longtime job security for these health care professionals. Therapists, of course, help people of all ages suffering from injuries or illness. PT requires a fair amount of education—a doctor of physical therapy degree takes three to four years, but it's less onerous than the years of medical school and residency for a physician, Zhao says. Another big plus: The hours are regular. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects demand for therapists to grow 22 percent through 2028.

    Pay: 79彩票注册网址It's a top in-demand job in Chicago, with an average base pay of $79,007, according to Glassdoor.

    NURSE PRACTITIONER:79彩票注册网址 These supernurses fill a gap in primary care as the population ages. Nurse practitioners enjoy far greater autonomy than RNs—they diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medications. With the help of treatment protocols, they cover ground once the domain of primary care physicians and preserve the doctor's time for more complex situations, thereby reducing costs, says Gill Anwar at BPI. Education demands are far less than for a physician—master's degree programs for nurse practitioners require a commitment of two to four years.

    Pay: 79彩票注册网址The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of 28 percent through 2028, with median salary of $107,030.

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