Immigrants represent a huge part of the American work force. Jobs for immigrants are in various industries, ranging from business to agriculture and everything in between.
Economists agree that immigrants have a positive effect on the economy. Immigrants are hard workers and take their work ethic seriously. They are likely to foster a bit of healthy competition in the job market.
It’s long been a known fact that the major reason immigrants come to the U.S. for work is because of the American dream. However, there can be challenges for immigrants here.
Language barriers can make it more difficult to find work in certain industries and the recent crackdown on legal documents may present more issues.
It should be noted that immigrants who come to the U.S. with better documentation, proper education, and who speak English fluently have the best job opportunities.
Because there are so few immigrants who speak fluent English, it would seem there is a slightly uneven distribution of jobs helps by immigrants versus those who are native Americans. Things are improving, however, and today’s immigrants are coming to the U.S. more educated than they once were.
The key to more equal opportunity employment for immigrants is for immigrants to learn to speak fluent English. There has been a recent increase of immigrants securing science and tech jobs, so things are improving for immigrants.
STATS AT A GLANCE
- There are 84.3 million immigrants in the U.S., making up 27% of the total population.
- The majority of immigrants come to the U.S. from Mexico, India, and China.
- Immigrants represent 17% of the civilian work force.
- Today’s immigrants are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree.
- Nearly 50% of immigrants who come to the US have relevant degrees for the fields they wish to work in.
- Surprisingly, today’s immigrants are more likely to work business and science sectors, whereas in the past it was agriculture. Service workers also make up a large part of the immigrant labor force.
- Immigrants are less likely to work in military careers, protective service or police and fire, law, and social service.
If you are an immigrant and have come to the U.S. for the America dream, the best thing you can do to land the best opportunities is to learn to speak fluent English. Getting appropriate education and degrees for higher-level jobs is another huge plus, especially for the tech and scientific fields.
Jobs in the technical and scientific industries continue to grow, and you can secure a job in these fields if you speak English well and have the skills for the job.
Let’s look at some of the top jobs for immigrants today:
Jobs in the business sector have become more popular choices for immigrants in recent years. One thing that cannot be overemphasized is that in order to break into this industry, not only must an immigrant have the relevant degrees, but they also must speak English fluently.
Information Technology Specialists or IT Specialists work with the upkeep and repair of technological products. They provide services as the company they work for needs regarding software, hardware, and databases. They may have other services or skills they offer as well.
They must be able to adapt and keep current with the ever-changing field of technology. Required schooling and degrees vary from company to company. Their primary interest is that someone is highly skilled at what they do.
IT specialists earn an average of $53,500 a year.
Market Researchers or Analysts study market conditions to predict and analyze the sales of a product or service. You have to have strong math skills to be a market researcher.
There is a growing trend for immigrants to work in the business sector and market research is one of the more popular job choices for immigrants.
Market researchers work in all sectors and industries throughout the workforce. They often work with deadlines. In order to become a market researcher, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Market researchers earn approximately $62,000 a year.
Computer Hardware Engineers are becoming an increasingly popular position for immigrants. Computer engineers ensure that changes to improve computer-related equipment are made.
They identify issues, research, design, develop, and test computers and hardware. They write the documentation needed and provide technical support to other team members. A bachelor’s degree in engineering is usually required for this job.
The median annual salary for computer hardware engineers is $75,000.
The service industry has long been a popular industry for immigrants to work in. It maintained a number one spot at the top of the list for a long time but has recently been slightly edged out by immigrants working in business.
Hairstylists and Cosmetologists work in salons. They cut and style hair and sometimes offer other skills such as skin care, makeup application, and others. Many employers or states require certification or licenses. A good number of immigrants who work as hairstylists and cosmetologists in the U.S. are self-employed.
The average salary is $25,000 a year.
Manicurists and pedicurists are a popular job among immigrants. They clean, shape, and improve the look of fingernails and toenails. Manicurists and pedicurists usually work in a spa, nail salon, or hair salon. Occasionally, they own a mobile grooming company and will travel to their individual clients.
Nearly 30% of manicurists and pedicurists are self-employed. Each manicurist and pedicurist must attend a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program. After that, they must pass the state exam in order to get their license.
The average pay for manicurists and pedicurists is approximately $21,000 a year.
The Hospitality Industry draws a high number of immigrants to work in the U.S. According to the Immigrant Learning Center, 29.5% of workers in the hospitality industry related to travel accommodations are immigrants.
This sector is comprised of dishwashers, cooks, amusement parks, and others. The average pay in this industry is about $19,000 a year.
The agricultural and trade industries have long been one of the more popular industries for immigrants to work. The truth is that fewer and fewer Americans want to do agricultural work, while immigrants are will gladly take jobs in the agricultural industry.
Farm and agricultural workers are an integral part of the U.S. food system. Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 farm workers are undocumented. Aside from the legalities, it is better for an immigrant to have documentation to work in this industry. They are less likely to be exploited and are paid better wages than those who are undocumented.
Agricultural workers maintain farms, crops, and livestock. They operate machinery and do lots of physical labor under the supervision of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers. They will even pick crops by hand when required.
Agricultural workers usually work outdoors, regardless of weather situations. The agricultural industry attracts a lot of immigrants because no schooling is required, not even a high school diploma. This appeals to immigrants because 29% of immigrants lack a high school diploma.
The average yearly income of documented agricultural workers is $21,000. Undocumented workers earn much less.
Construction workers are also popular with immigrants. According to Judy Gan, the director of the Immigration Program of the University of Arizona, immigrants represent 20 percent of the workforce in this industry.
The construction field has highly benefited from immigrants. They offer unique skills and better output than their American counterparts. This field represents cement masonry, carpet installation, carpentry, and painting.
Workers in construction make an average salary of $31,000 a year.
Looking ahead, it is expected that more and more immigrants coming into the United States will be better educated and better prepared. Both should offer better opportunities for immigrants. One field where growth is expected to be quite high is the healthcare industry.
The healthcare industry has a labor shortage. While healthcare occupations are continued to grow in demand, the amount of workers needed to fill them is expected to dwindle. With the uncertainty of healthcare sweeping our country, it is not expected that native-born Americans will fill these jobs any more than they already have.
Meanwhile, the numbers of immigrants working those jobs continue to grow. Immigrants represent 25% of physicians, whereas other healthcare workers such as health aide and nurses represent 20% or more of workers. It’s obvious then, that the healthcare field is another one that is highly dependent and benefits from the work of immigrants.
Doctors make an annual salary of $181,000 a year and nurses make an average of $45,000 to $65,000 a year from specialty to specialty.
It’s easy to see that immigrants are an integral part of the American workforce. They make up large sectors of people who get our food from farm to table as well as many other fields. The numbers continue to expand and the future for documented immigrants looks bright.
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