There just aren't a lot of jobs out there doing core operating system or compiler design work. I'd say most software jobs fall into the vague category of business applications--programs for performing HR/sales/inventory tasks, either completely custom or extending some sort of existing product. There's a lot of web oriented stuff out there today too--ASP.NET, PHP, J2EE, AJAX, etc.
Not that most slashdotters are interested in hearing it, but Microsoft is one of the few places that still hires people to develop complex platforms. Windows (kernel, APIs like DirectX), compilers (VB, C#, C++, IronPython, Powershell), SQL Server come to mind.