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The Lighter Side: The ‘Sweet 16’ Popular Job Titles



The ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) analyzed the occupations of nearly 18 million workers in the U.S. to identify the 16 most popular job titles of 2023. To make it fun, ADPRI announced them using a “Business Card Bracket” format similar to the one used in the NCAA “March Madness” men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Based on the submissions by readers of ADPRI’s Today at Work report, the bracket pitted popular job titles against each other, sparking a friendly competition. The final rankings shed some light on current workforce trends and showcase a diverse range of roles crucial to the American economy.

The top popular job titles

Customer service representative emerged as the champion, followed by:

  • Driver (This might be influenced by gig work jobs, such as driving with Uber and Lyft.)
  • Salesperson
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Home aide
  • Project manager
  • Waiter/waitress
  • Nursing assistant
  • Maintenance technician
  • Administrative assistant
  • Assembler
  • Operations manager
  • Store manager
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Account manager, and
  • Receptionist.

Insights for the Modern HR Landscape

Knowing what the most popular job titles are can help HR focus recruitment efforts on attracting qualified candidates for specific roles. This could involve targeting specific job boards, crafting job descriptions and developing targeted outreach strategies.

For example, the prominence of customer service representatives highlights a growing emphasis on positive client experiences.

The strong showing in the popular job title playoff by RNs in the “Final Four,” nursing assistants in the “Elite Eight” and LPNs at No. 14 reflects a continuing demand in the healthcare field. However, it may be hard to hold on to them. A survey by BambooHR found that health care is the unhappiest industry overall. The quit rate is nearly 30% higher than it was before the pandemic.

The inclusion of roles like project manager (No. 6), operations manager (No. 12) and store manager (No. 13) indicates the need for strong leadership and organizational skills across various sectors.

Notably, blue-collar positions like driver (No. 2), maintenance technician (No. 9) and assembler (No. 11) remain important, showcasing a continued need for skilled trades. Some of these workers may be looking to upskill in a “new collar” role.

Beyond the Bracket: A Celebration of Expertise

The dedication these workers bring to their respective fields is worthy of a long, robust student section cheer.

HR pros should keep the Business Card Bracket Sweet 16 in mind when considering talent development strategy. Understanding the skills and knowledge associated with the top popular job titles can empower HR to identify potential skills gaps within their own workforce. This can be used to design training programs that equip employees with skills to excel in their current roles or prepare them for future opportunities within the company (e.g., training customer service reps on new technologies or leadership training for project managers).

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