The labor market is driven by the needs of employers. Yet all too often, workers, training providhrzgal.truckers, and policymakers are left guessing as to what exactly employers demand at a given point in time. The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is now compiling  reports that provide monthly, county-level data about online job postings. The ESD has just released its latest report, of June 2014 data.

The ESD intel is based on The Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) real-time data collected from over 16,000 online job sources including traditional job boards, corporate boards, and social media sites. The reports capture labor market statistics for Washington State overall and for each of its 37 counties, including the top 25 hard skills, certifications, occupations, and employers. This data represents only one dimension of employer demand (online job postings) and should be considered alongside other metrics surrounding skill gaps and persistent job vacancies in Washington.

Hard skills 

The hard skills Washington employers demand are highly concentrated in computer science related occupations. The top 25 most in-demand hard skills in Washington were almost entirely related to IT and software design with a few exceptions (“bilingual” and “quality control” skills were also sought).

Top 10 hard skills sought by employers statewide: 
  1. Software development
  2. Structured query language
  3. Quality assurance
  4. C-sharp
  5. JavaScript
  6. Web services
  7. Linux
  8. User Experience design
  9. Systems Development Lifecycle


Many Washington employers are seeking workers certified in the healthcare field. Healthcare certifications dominated the top 25. Some of the top health-related certifications can be obtained fairly quickly and easily such as Basic Life Support, CPR, and First Aid.

Top 10 certifications sought by employers, statewide: 
  1. Commercial Driver’s License
  2. Certified Registered Nurse
  3. Basic Life Support
  4. Certification in CPR
  5. Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  6. First Aid
  7. Licensed Practical Nurse
  8. Occupational Safety & Health Admin.
  9. Certified in Nursing Administration
  10. Top Secret Security Clearance
Computer-related jobs and skills dominated the sample


Statewide, employer demand was highest in computer occupations, followed by such fields as nursing, marketing, retail, and trucking.

Top 10 occupations in employer demand, statewide: 
  1. Software Developers, Applications
  2. Registered Nurses
  3. Computer Occupations, All Others
  4. Marketing Managers
  5. Retail Salespersons
  6. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
  7. Customer Service Representatives
  8. Web Developers
  9. First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers
  10. Computer Systems Analysts

The computer occupations that dominated the listings were highly concentrated in King County. Of the listings for the top-ranked occupation – software developers – over 80 percent were in King County. In Spokane County, registered nurses were the most in-demand employees sought. In Whatcom County that distinction went to truck drivers.


Amazon and Microsoft were the two big kahunas among Washington employers who listed positions online. Together, they had over 30,000 combined job listings during the period of the sample. Almost all those jobs were in King County. Additionally, a large majority of the Boeing jobs were in King County.

Outside King County there is quite a different profile to the employers ranked highest in number of open positions advertised. Higher education and healthcare-related employers tended to dominate outside the Puget Sound region. Providence Health & Serviceswas the top employer in many counties, including Snohomish, Spokane, and Walla Walla.

Top 10 employers in number of positions advertised, statewide: 
  1. (16,271 jobs)
  2. Microsoft (13,384)
  3. Sammons Trucking (6,997)
  4. Providence Health & Services (5,706)
  5. University of Washington (4,283)
  6. C.R. England, Inc. (3,768)
  7. The Boeing Company (3,335)
  8. Safeway Companies (3,165)
  9. CRST (3,024)
  10. U.S. Air Force (2,964)

ESD will release the next update in July of 2014.