The market demand for test automation is higher than ever but the number of automation jobs is lower.
How can this be?
One reason is the "test automation" name.
Test automation is not a good name for this type of testing. Automated checking or tool-assisted testing (James Bach) are describing better what actually happens.
Automation does not automate or replace creative testing but just checks that simple test cases work.
Because test precedes automation in the name, companies and testers thought that test automation is a part of testing and it should be done by testers.
Testers started believing that test automation is the silver bullet for their careers and went ahead with the "learning phase".
After going as fast as possible through the minimum of Selenium WebDriver and a programming language, many claimed being automation engineers instead of manual testers.
And some companies, especially the ones without rigorous interviewing processes, hired the manual-testers-converted-overnight-to-automation-engineers.