Right now, Washington is winning. The Evergreen State is a great place to get an education, raise a family and earn a living. And as 2018 picks up steam, many experts expect that streak of success to continue.
According to a recent study published by US News and World Report and based on data from McKinsey and Company, Washington boasts one of the best higher ed systems in the nation. From Walla Walla to Whatcom County and Seattle to Spokane, the state’s family of two- and four-year institutions is among the most innovative and influential worldwide. Also, Washington was one of the first US states to formally partner with private, online Western Governors University to strengthen its portfolio of postsecondary offerings.
Earlier this month, 24/7 Wall St. ranked Washington the nation’s fifth best run state. With its commitment to healthcare, unemployment insurance, and the state pension system, Washington families can feel happy, healthy and secure.
And the Evergreen State is brimming with opportunity for those looking to climb the career ladder. Unemployment is the lowest it’s ever been, based on the latest data from the Employment Security Department (ESD). The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate sits at just 4.5 percent. In the Seattle area, it’s even lower at 3.8 percent.
Even though more people are working in Washington than any other time in history, there are still well-paying, in-demand occupations to be filled. For ambitious, hardworking professionals, the New Year is a great time to land a new job. The list of top jobs for 2018 includes:
The ESD says every county in the state is experiencing a shortage of nurses. In fact, it’s the most in-demand occupation across all industries. Nurses play important roles in hospitals, clinics and private medical practices. They provide care to patients, administer medicine and share health maintenance and disease prevention strategies. In Washington, the average annual salary for nurses is over $80,000 – with bachelor’s and master’s degrees commanding the higher end of the wage scale.
Software developers are vital to companies at the heart of Washington’s information and communication technology sector. Those women and men create the computer programs important to modern life, including mobile applications and the operating systems that run devices or control networks. Developers work for software publishers or businesses specializing in computer systems design. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is required. The median annual wage for software developers in Washington is well over $100,000.
Marketing is all about drumming up interest in a brand, and marketing managers are the minds and muscle ensuring businesses maximize sales and keep customers and shareholders happy. They survey the competitive landscape, identify potential customers, and develop promotional strategies. The ESD says the demand for marketing managers is among the highest in Washington. The average annual salary is more than $100,000 and a bachelor’s degree is typically required to enter the field.
Accountants and auditors also rank among the most in-demand occupations in Washington. That means, in 2018, there will be oodles of opportunity in those areas. Accountants and auditors analyze accounting records to prepare financial statements, give advice, or inspect statements prepared by others. The typical level of education most workers need to enter this occupation is a bachelor's degree. Across the state, the average salary is nearly $80,000 per year. Women and men who earn CPA licenses may earn significantly more.