Agency releases list of 100 ‘hot jobs’ in West Michigan


The majority of the high-demand jobs are in the health sciences sector with 34 occupations and more than 9,000 projected annual openings, according to West Michigan Works!. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

West Michigan Works! is reporting the majority of the top 100 jobs in the region’s high-growth industries this year are in the health sciences and agribusiness sectors.

The workforce development agency last week released its 2020 “Hot Jobs” list, an annual analysis of the job market in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

The majority of the high-demand jobs are in the health sciences sector with 34 occupations and more than 9,000 projected annual openings.

This year’s list also reflects the growth of agribusiness in West Michigan with 28 of occupations on the list in farming and food production. According to economic developer The Right Place, the industry accounts for more than 26,000 jobs and $300 million in labor income in the region. Among the industry’s high-demand occupations are machine operators, electricians, accountants and managerial positions.

“Because West Michigan employers vet the Hot Jobs list, it provides an accurate representation of the regional employment landscape,” said Jacob Maas, CEO of West Michigan Works!. “We’re grateful to the many regional industry councils and employers who provide input into the list.”

The Hot Jobs list serves as a guide for many institutions and organizations across the region, including Northview High School.

“The annual Hot Jobs list is a valuable resource in developing the career awareness and career preparation of our students,” said Mark Thomas, principal of Northview High School. “The list is exactly the type of resource (that) helps bring meaning and context to each student’s educational experience. It also helps answer the often-asked question, ‘Why do I have to learn this stuff?’”

West Michigan Works! staff uses the Hot Jobs list as an internal tool to begin discussions around career exploration, to identify existing skills that would transfer into high-demand occupations and to inform decisions regarding funding for occupational training.

The full Hot Jobs list is available on the West Michigan Works! website and includes sortable fields, videos and information about the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for each occupation.

The list also identifies careers that are eligible for training scholarships.


High-demand occupations are defined as those that have a significant number of open positions in today’s job market, are expected to see considerable growth in the next five years and can lead to self-sufficiency through living wages and opportunities for advancement.

To create the list, West Michigan Works! gathers state labor market information and data from job analytic programs.

The data is then presented to employers who provide feedback and insights into hiring needs that may not be represented or overrepresented by job posting data.

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