by Debra Wheatman
Despite the relatively high rate of unemployment that exists in today’s U.S. labor market, the demand grows for skilled talent in the workforce. In fact, according to ManpowerGroup’s 2011 Talent Shortage Survey, nearly 52 percent of employers surveyed report having trouble filling certain job openings. It is hard to believe!
The labor market is highly complex; while many jobs are difficult to fill, a large number of the jobs that have been lost over the past few years are likely gone forever. John Silvia, chief economist with Wells Fargo Securities, was quoted in a CNNMoney article stating, “We’ve got the wrong people in the wrong place with the wrong skills.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Many U.S. jobs that require manual labor have gone by the wayside. Manufacturing in particular has been hard hit. The overall trend has been away from a goods-based economy and towards a services-based economy. Still, many service-oriented jobs have been outsourced over past years. That’s the bad news, but there is some good news.
More than 15 Million New Jobs
Despite the challenges, according to a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in late 2009, total employment is projected to increase by 15.3 million jobs (10+ percent) by 2018. The big question for job-seekers is — where will the jobs be going forward?
Two primary areas are likely to experience growth over the coming years. The first is professional and business services, and the second is healthcare and social assistance. Within the professional and business-services sector, opportunities in management, scientific, and technical consulting are expected to flourish. Additionally computer-systems design will be in high demand. The employment-services industry is also expected to expand.
As the baby-boomer population ages, areas within the healthcare and social-service arena that will expand include positions within doctor’s offices, home health-care jobs, services for the elderly/disabled, and skilled nursing care. While working in the medical professions is not for everyone, doing so can be an excellent career path.
Best Jobs Require Degrees
Some of the highest paying jobs that will increase over the coming years include registered nurses, accountants and auditors, postsecondary educators, physicians and surgeons, and IT professionals. Below is a table depicting the percentage growth expected for various occupations, along with the college degree necessary. In addition to education, several of these roles also require residencies and continuing education.
In the information-technology space, computer-software engineers are in a separate category from network-systems and data-communication analysts. The percentage of growth anticipated in IT is higher than in any other job sector. Already jobs that require specialized expertise in new-media technology and other high-demand areas of IT frequently go unfilled for lengthy periods.
Another high-paying job on the rise is management analyst. Those management professionals who are able to provide advanced analytical expertise will thrive over the coming years. Candidates with advanced degrees and hands-on skills will be in great demand.
No College Required
Jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree, but are still expected to be in relatively high demand, and pay fairly well include truck drivers, heavy-equipment operators, maintenance and repair workers, carpenters, bookkeepers, auditing clerks, and executive secretaries.
At the lower end of the spectrum from a compensation perspective are positions such as home health aide, medical assistant, security guard, teaching assistant, and child-care worker. Of these lower-paying jobs, home health aides will experience the largest growth, with a 50 percent rise in available positions.
While a few of the jobs that do not require college need no specific training, many of these jobs do require a certificate program that will vary in length. Some certificates may be obtained within a matter of weeks or even days. Other training programs will take longer, as in the case of a carpenter, who will need to participate in an apprenticeship.
Which Job is For You?
If you among the millions who are not in a career that is anticipated to experience growth over the coming years, you may want to invest some time, effort, and money to reposition yourself for the future.
- Take a look at the full list of occupations expected to grow through 2018 occupations expected to grow through 2018 and identify several possible roles that might be a fit for you.
- Determine the cost of education in terms of both time and money. Before making a commitment to any training program, whether a short technical course or a lengthy degree program, be sure that you are prepared to commit for the full duration. Starting without finishing can be an expensive mistake. You want to get your money’s worth.
- Consider seeking the advice of a professional who can help you with your career transition. I often provide DISC assessments as a first step toward helping candidates determine where their strengths lie.
- Another good idea is to contact professional associations and discuss your career plans with those who are industry experts. These connections will help you determine the good, the bad, and the ugly of various potential occupations before you go down any one path.
Final Thoughts About the Job Market
Information is power. Arming yourself with information about the future of the job market will enable you to research and identify the route that makes the most sense for you. Once you know that your current profession won’t be in high demand down the road, it makes sense to be prepared and plan a wise transition. Play a proactive role in your career future by “skilling up” and obtaining the training you need now.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2011.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is president of Careers Done Write, a premier career-services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.
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