See how well your own skill sets and experience match up against this list of in-demand positions, according to recruiters and the U.S. government.

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While you search for your dream job, it can be a comfort knowing that somewhere out there, human resources personnel are looking just as hard for a dream candidate to meet their needs. For many years, the number of dream candidates far exceeded the supply of dream jobs, but those times, they are a-changin’.

According to the latest CareerCast report on the toughest jobs to fill in 2016, the improving economy has made the search for qualified job candidates harder than it’s been since the Great Recession. This may end up being of special interest to younger job seekers — including those still in high school and college — who are looking to gain experience in a new field, considering that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the retirement-age population will grow by 38 percent over the next 10 years.

Here is a list of the top five in-demand jobs that recruiters expect to have difficulty filling next year, identified by report, released in conjunction with the Society for Human Resource Management. If one of these careers include skill sets that you possess, your prospects for finding work may look much brighter in the coming months.

Data scientists. This position is in demand mostly because it’s so new, and the skill sets and responsibilities are still only vaguely defined at many firms. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 6,000 companies across the United States expect to hire for 4.4 million jobs related to data analysis in the IT sector next year.

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IT security analysts. With the growth of cloud-based technology, Microsoft said that by the beginning of next year, North American companies will need to employ 2.7 million cloud-computing workers, including those who can provide security to the vast amount of data being stored.

Marketing managers. The BLS expects “explosive growth” in digital marketing and a high average annual salary in excess of $127,000, so marketing managers will likely be in very short supply in 2016 and beyond.

Home health aides. With the rise of health care needs, this occupation will increase in demand by 48 percent over the next seven years, BLS says, mainly due to the aging of the population. The median salary for these jobs is below $21,000 per year, but about 600,000 positions will need to be filled by 2022.

Physical therapists. The American Physical Therapy Association estimates that demand for full-time physical therapists will exceed 229,000 in 2016, with a pool of candidates of around 196,000, creating a gap of 33,000 unfilled jobs.

Other occupations on the SHRM/CareerCast short list for 2016 include electrical engineers, software engineers, general and operations managers, medical service managers, and — of course — the occupation that seems to always be in the middle of a shortage, yet still seems to have a lot of out-of-work candidates: registered nursing. See more details on the report here.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at