Top 15 fastest growing job categories: Digital sector dominates new hires

Top 15 fastest growing job categories: Digital sector dominates new hires

Digital Marketing, Social Media, Digital Content freelancing and Creative freelancing are among the fastest growing jobs in 2021, according to new data.

The study, from LinkedIn, analysed 29 million members in the UK to find the top 15 fastest growing job categories. As companies continue to adapt to a COVID-19 world, changing consumer behaviour and business needs are creating new job opportunities.

Tom Pepper, Head of Marketing Solutions UK, Ireland & Israel at LinkedIn, said: “Despite the challenges the industry experienced last year, it’s positive to see the rise in demand for digital marketing and social media talent, as well as creative and digital content freelancers, as companies invest in their brand to support a return to growth. Digital skills are going to continue to grow in importance this year as brands increasingly shift spending to digital channels to drive greater reach and business impact.”

The UK’s top 15 fastest growing job categories:

  1. E-commerce personnel – As online shopping accelerated as a result of the pandemic, companies onboarded thousands of E-commerce workers to help get products into the hands of customers quickly. Hiring for E-commerce roles, including Driver, Supply Chain Associate, Supply Chain Assistant, Warehouse Team Lead and Online Specialist, grew by 143% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
  • Top skills: Order Fulfillment, Retail, Order Picking, Warehouse Operations, Professional Driving
  • Hiring hotspots: Birmingham, Northampton, Manchester, Leicester


  1. Healthcare supporting staff – The sudden and sustained need for doctors and nurses created huge demand for people who support healthcare professionals. LinkedIn saw a 104% increase in Healthcare supporting staff roles, such as Home Health Aides who provide care to the elderly, as well as Healthcare Assistant, Health Advisor, Health Coach and Medical Writer.
  • Top skills: Home Care, Healthcare, Wellness Coaching, Medical Writing
  • Hiring hotspots: Manchester, Oxford


  1. Digital content freelancers – With the pandemic creating job uncertainty and unemployment, an increasing number of people turned to freelancing. Digital content freelancers, with job titles including Content Coordinator, YouTuber, Blogger and Podcaster, grew by 118% last year.
  • Top skills: Podcasting, YouTube, Blogging, Video Editing
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Birmingham, Manchester


  1. Construction – While construction on commercial building projects initially came to a halt at the start of the pandemic, the introduction of the tiered system combined with the UK government’s cut in stamp duty gave UK home builders the incentive to push ahead with projects. This resulted in a 132% growth in Construction roles in 2020, including Mason, Site Specialist, Construction Specialist, Construction Worker and Construction Site Manager.
  • Top skills: Construction Site Management, Brickwork, Construction
  • Hiring hotspots: Manchester, Birmingham, London


  1. Creative freelancers – With companies looking to create or enhance their digital presence, many sought the expertise of creative freelancers. Writer, Illustrator, Voice Over Artist, Script Writer and Editor job titles grew by 69% last year.
  • Top skills: Editing, Illustration, Screenwriting, Voice Acting, Writing
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Manchester, Birmingham


  1. Finance – Roles including Investment Banking Specialist, Finance Specialist, Treasurer, Equity Trader and Financial Services Professional grew by 82% in 2020. Furthermore, the Finance sector had the most remote job openings out of all 15 job categories.
  • Top skills: Economics, Trading, Finance, Financial Services, Investment Banking
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Manchester, Liverpool


  1. Specialised medical professionals – The past year saw a huge strain on NHS staff as they worked to keep up with surging COVID-19 cases. While we clapped for our heroes, such as Intensive Care Nurses (155% growth) and Certified Nursing Assistants (133% growth) working on the frontline, there were also heroes working behind-the-scenes on vaccines, such as Laboratory Scientists (68% growth) and Medical Laboratory Assistants (156% growth). Overall, Specialised medical professional roles grew by 58% in 2020.
  • Top skills: Healthcare, Clinical Research, Clinical Pharmacy, Medicine
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow


  1. Professional Coaching – After a year of significant job losses across multiple industries, many people transitioned into new careers, such as Professional Coaching, and used their skills to help others. Life Coach, Business Coach, and Leadership Coach job titles rose by 101%. The majority of people moving into Life Coach roles were female (62%), and worked in a self-employed or freelance capacity.
  • Top skills: Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, Life Coaching
  • Hiring hotspots: Sheffield, Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham


  1. Social Media and Digital Marketing – Social Media and Digital Marketing roles grew by 52% in 2020. With tightening marketing budgets, there was an increase in demand for roles such as Growth Hacker, Growth Specialist, Marketing Consultant, Social Media Manager and Social Media Coordinator, which focus on innovative alternatives to traditional marketing. This category attracted a younger demographic with an average age of 28, and 68% of total hires were female.
  • Top skills: Digital Marketing, Growth Hacking, Growth Strategies, Social Media Marketing
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Manchester, Belfast


  1. Customer Service – Businesses bolstered their efforts to support customers during the pandemic, adapting from in-person customer support to virtual methods. As a result, there was a 54% increase in Customer Service roles over the past year, including Customer Service Consultant, Customer Service Advisor, Customer Support Specialist and Customer Contact Representative.
  • Top skills: Time Management, Customer Support, Retail, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Experience
  • Hiring hotspots: Manchester, London, Newcastle


  1. Education – With schools and universities forced to close at points over the past year, many academic institutions turned to online learning to ensure a continuity in education services. Education roles, including English Tutor, Mathematics Tutor, Academic Tutor, and Instructional Design Specialist grew by 53% in 2020. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of total hires were women.
  • Top skills: Tutoring, Teaching, E-Learning, History, Language Teaching
  • Top locations hiring: London, Manchester, Birmingham


  1. Mental Health professionals – COVID-19 has affected the mental health of many. In 2020, there was a 44% growth in Mental Health professionals, including Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health Counselor, Mental Health Practitioner, Mental Health Specialist, Occupational Therapist, Psychiatric Nurse, Psychologist and Psychotherapist.
  • Top skills: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychotherapy, Mental Health Care, Rehabilitation, Nursing
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Manchester, Birmingham


  1. Real Estate – Residential Real Estate roles, including Real Estate Agent, Property Specialist and Real Estate Consultant, grew by 62% last year. Many people working in Sales roles transitioned into Real Estate roles.
  • Top skills: Property Management, Real Estate, Investment Properties, Residential Real Estate, Real Estate Development
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Oxford, Manchester, Chelmsford


  1. Specialised Engineering – Engineering roles have grown in demand in recent years and are proving to be a ‘pandemic-proof’ job category. Specialised Engineering roles, such as Back-End Developer, Game Designer, Game Developer, Reliability Engineer and Software Engineering Specialist grew by 45% last year.
  • Top skills: Go (Programming Language), Game Design, Game Development, Reliability Engineering, JavaScript
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Manchester, Liverpool


  1. Artificial Intelligence – As a job category in constant demand and featuring prominently in last year’s report, it is not surprising to see AI roles feature on the list again as companies accelerate the digital transformation of their businesses. Roles such as Machine Learning Engineer and Machine Learning Researcher grew by 40% last year.
  • Top skills: Deep Learning, Machine Learning
  • Hiring hotspots: London, Cambridge, Manchester


To help people who are looking for their next job opportunity, Microsoft and LinkedIn are offering nearly 1,000 hours of free learning courses at Marketers can hone their digital marketing skills by taking free courses on social media, content strategy, SEO, marketing channels and analytics, in addition to courses on leadership skills and soft skills.



LinkedIn’s ‘Jobs on the Rise’ are defined as the career categories that have seen the highest year-on-year growth rates in hiring between April to October 2020. LinkedIn’s Economic Graph data scientists looked across 15,000+ job titles to uncover the jobs that have grown the most compared to 2019 levels. Those titles were then grouped into overarching career trends that capture as many as 25 job titles within each category. Career trends are ranked using a combination of year-over-year growth rate combined with the size of job demand.