If the laws of supply and demand work, there's extra opportunity for job hunters who have skills and interests in what hirers say are the 10 toughest positions to fill.
A word of warning, though: Some of these jobs are hard to fill because they require specific or advanced professional skills. Others are hard to fill because they're low-paying, don't appeal to everyone or are just plain hard work.
Precisely because these jobs are hard to fill, human resource experts say employers need to look beyond the usual "qualified" candidates and not demand a "perfect fit" to walk through the door.
According to a CareerCast report shared by the Society for Human Resource Management, some hirers are stepping up innovative recruiting. Others are relaxing their strict screening requirements.
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Here's the hardest-to-hire list, with comments from the experts:
n Data scientist: This job analyzes big data, a field that's difficult to define. The job varies by company and industry. CareerCast thinks 4.4 million such information technology jobs will be open next year.
n Electrical engineer: Randstad US estimates there are 17 openings for every electrical engineering candidate. Experts see a geographical imbalance between job hunters and job locations, with too many qualified engineers in Los Angeles and New York and too many openings in Chicago, Houston and San Diego.
n General operations manager: The demand for people who can run a business from day to day is expected to grow 12.4 percent over the next seven years.
n Home health aide: A whopping 48 percent increase in demand is expected over the next seven years, largely because of aging baby boomers. But the low median salary of just $20,820 a year limits interest in the job.
n Information security analyst: The growth of cloud-based data storage is fueling immediate demand for 2.7 million cloud computing workers, especially those skilled in the fine points of data security.
n Marketing manager: The National Association of Colleges and Employers says marketing, especially digital or social media marketing, means fertile hiring ground for new college graduates (or anyone else with the skills).
n Medical services manager: Health care is big business. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 23 percent employment growth for such professional office management work.
n Physical therapist: The American Physical Therapy Association thinks there will be 33,000 unfilled jobs next year, partly because more people have health insurance coverage for physical therapy.
n Registered nurse: More than half a million registered nurses are expected to retire by 2022, and more than a million are needed to replace them and fill the growing need.
n Software engineer: The Conference Board estimates there will be three jobs available for every 2016 college graduate with a compute
Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star workplace reporter, can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and on Twitter @kcstarstafford.