The pandemic inspired millions of people to reevaluate how they live and work, spawning the Great Resignation and, later, the Great Reshuffling as Americans switched dwellings, their home state and sometimes even their career.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly measures the unemployment rate and hiring activity across professions, new data released Wednesday from Google Trends goes even further with occupational data, perhaps even signaling the future career paths of millions of Americans — or, at least, millions of underemployed internet users.
To be sure, between January 2021 and the first month of 2022, the most popular “how to become” search on Google was for “real estate agents,” followed by “flight attendants” and “notary,” strongly suggesting that a tidal wave of new agents may be encroaching on a housing market near you in the future, not to mention adding to the membership rolls of the National Association of Realtors, which hit an all-time high of nearly 1.6 million members in 2021.
The search for “how to become real estate agent” hit a peak in traffic last month, between Jan. 9-15, 2022, nearly doubling the number of similar searches at a lower point amid the pandemic at the beginning of February 2020. Looking at its trajectory over the pandemic, searches for “how to become a real estate agent” are on an upswing amid a heated market that has left agents busier than ever.
By state, Google searches for “How to become a real estate agent” surpassed all other similar job inquiries, with the exception of Montana and New Mexico, where “how to become a personal trainer” and “how to become a flight attendant” reigned supreme, respectively. Indeed, large swaths of browsers in the Northeast, northern Midwest and West all searched for “how to become a real estate agent” in droves, according to the data.
A recent search by Inman for “how to become real estate agent” on Google revealed that the top five related queries over the past 12 months in the U.S. included, in order, “real estate license,” “how long does it take to become a real estate agent,” “how to become a real estate agent in Texas,” “how to become a real estate agent in California,” and “how to become a real estate agent in nc,” presumably meaning in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, top “breakout” topics — or topics also searched by individuals who queried “how to become real estate agent” — include “appraiser,” “experience,” “Redfin,” “leasing coordinator” and “side job,” according to an analysis.
The google metrics come on the heels of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that in January, amid a jobs report that surpassed expectations, real estate and leasing services added 5,300 jobs, despite the overall unemployment rate increasing modestly to 4 percent.
Beside “how to become a real estate agent,” other popular aspirational job searches on Google last year included similar queries for how to become a therapist, pilot, physical therapist and electrician, among others professions that, unlike, say, doctor or lawyer, require a relatively low barrier for entry.
Google Trends’ most-searched “how to become” jobs from January 2021-January 2022
- Real estate agent
- Flight attendant
- Personal trainer
- Physical therapist
Top searches in 2021 for different professional certification programs also reflected many of the same job search trends, including real estate and health, but also categories related to hair and beauty and data analytics.
Google Trends’ most-searched certifications and training programs from January 2021-January 2022
- Google data analytics professional certificate
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification
- Child development associate certification
- Eyelash technician training program
- Electrician training program
- Real estate training program
- Barber training program