Unemployment rates and layoffs skyrocketed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, but businesses in Pittsburgh have slowly reopened in the last few months and have started hiring employees as vaccinations have become available.
Yet as businesses reopen and search for employees, the mindsets of some workers have changed due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, with many preferring remote work and wanting better pay, leaving current employment rates below pre-pandemic levels.
For those seeking new employment, Pittsburgh City Paper has compiled a list of organizations, schools, and training facilities good for a career change, and highlighted some fields that are currently in high demand.
The construction industry has a higher employment rate as of June 2021 compared to its pre-pandemic rate in March 2020. The industry’s employment has jumped 10.3% since before the pandemic, with a total of almost 66,000 workers in the Pittsburgh region.
Most construction labor jobs only require a high school diploma or GED. However, most higher wage jobs in construction require a certification at a trade school, which is typically a two-year program and much less expensive than college. The average hourly wage of construction and extraction workers in Pittsburgh in May 2020 was $25.93, and the average yearly salary was $53,940, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nursing jobs dominate the Pittsburgh region and the state, and their growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down. According to the Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, the Pittsburgh region expects to add more than 1,000 new nursing positions by 2026. Nursing is a tough field and it requires a degree, but there are several well-ranked nursing programs in Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh (pitt.edu), Carlow University (carlow.edu), and Chatham University (chatham.edu) all offer well-ranked nursing degrees. The Community College of Allegheny College (ccac.edu) offers an Associate Degree Nursing Program, available at five college sites including the California University of Pennsylvania. Allegheny Health Network (ahn.org) also runs its own nursing school.
The average salaries for Registered Nurses are around $70,180, well above the average annual Pittsburgh-area salary of $57,000.
Technology is one of Pittsburgh’s fastest growing industries. Tech jobs require education and experience, but according to the Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, the Pittsburgh region expects to add more than 500 Software Developers and Database Administrators by 2026. Tech companies have been expanding in many neighborhoods in the city, like East Liberty, Oakland, and the Strip District.
Those looking for work in the tech field should look for job listings on the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s website at pghtech.org.
This organization serves as the workplace development board for the Pittsburgh area and is a good place to start when looking for a new job. Partner4Work even has a Transitional Job program that “helps job seekers who may have multiple barriers to gaining employment build the work history needed to take the first step to a solid career,” according to its website, partner4work.org. This program is useful to those with chronic unemployment or those with a criminal record looking for work.
Partner4Work uses the Service Corps Reignite program to specifically help businesses, job seekers, and nonprofit organizations as they emerge from the economic disruption of COVID-19. The organization also offers resources for GED and TABE completion, as well as a new program to help people find work at bank branches and in the banking industry.