Looking for a job? New report details Anchorage’s most in-demand skills, local openings

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 8:50 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A newly-released jobs report centered on first quarter job opportunities and fulfillment in Alaska’s largest city details the skills that appear to be most in-demand following devastating downturns across many industries in 2020.

Released in partnership with the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Jobs EQ’s Real-Time Jobs Intelligence Report breaks down some of the most sought-after labor market data down to the zip code, providing a snapshot of the Anchorage job market for the first several months of the year.

The full report is available on AEDC’s website.

According to the report, there were 14,647 online job listings posted during the first quarter, with 2,747 employers posting those opportunities. More than 500 different occupations were represented and 293 different certifications sought.

“The lifting of restrictions has put practically every employer that was sitting on the sidelines back out in the hunt for workforce,” said AEDC President Bill Popp. “And I think that’s being reflected in the number of jobs that we’re seeing posted.”

Along with data regarding job openings and listings, and numbers of jobs that have been left unfilled, the report also gives readers a glimpse of the types of certificates, hard skills and soft skills that are most desired by Anchorage employers.

At the top of the list of most common job openings were listings for registered nurses. Retail salespersons, backstockers and order fillers, social and human services assistants, and secretaries and administrative assistants rounded out the top five. Customer service reps, food service industry workers and computer service specialists were also in the top 10 most common listings.

Some jobs are also more prevalent in Anchorage compared to anywhere else in the country, according to the report.

Currently, various businesses are still working on hiring for different positions. For example, Fat Ptarmigan, a popular destination for pizza and drinks in downtown Anchorage, is still looking for another cook to round out its 10-chef team.

“People were coming looking for jobs, we just didn’t have them,” said owner Billy Anderson of what he saw last year. “As business picked up, say, come late March (2021), we had to start going on a hiring craze to get people.”

Anderson, who’s searching for several new staffers, said new, untrained cooks would normally start at around $13 an hour, but he’s since upped that to $14. More experienced cooks are seeing offers of up to $16 or $17 per hour, depending on work history.

“And that really hasn’t brought anybody out,” Anderson said. “The people I am getting are younger people who are jumping on the opportunity to start out at a higher starting pay than they normally would. And since they’re the ones that are showing up every day, they’re the ones getting that money.”

Fat Ptarmigan isn’t alone in seeing challenges with hiring. The Arc of Anchorage, which specializes in serving residents with physical and mental disabilities, has more than a dozen jobs open right now.

“The pandemic has been a struggle for all of us, but especially the people we serve,” said Arc of Anchorage Advocacy and Outreach Specialist Ric Nelson. “But we also think the future looks great at our organization. And we hope to keep making a bigger impact to our community over the next few years.”

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