In a downsizing economy, the best return on investment for your career may be to focus on your current job. Still, preparing for your next job or next career can be a wise move. In uncertain times, pursuing your dream job may take the back seat to pursuing a career that is in demand.
While there are no sure-things any more when it comes to employment, there still are some sound hedged bets. If you are thinking about your next career move, you may want to consider throwing these professional fields on your short list:
1. Health Care:
We’ve all heard the stories about how an aging baby boomer population is creating a demand for health care professionals, particularly nurses. The statistics back up this data. In October, 2008, while 240,000 jobs were lost in the U.S., the health care industry added 26,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 348,000 total jobs have been added in this field over the last 12 months.
Half of the 30 fastest growing jobs over the next 8 years will be in the medical field. The industry is still paying sign-on bonuses and schooling for those who commit to future employment. It’s also worth noting that a career in the medical field makes you extremely mobile to move around the country should your local or regional market ever shed jobs.
The closest thing to a guarantee in any field may be job of ‘personal and home care aide’. The BLS is projecting 773,000 to be added by 2016, more than any other profession.
2. Networking/System Administration:
The BLS predicts that this profession will have the highest growth rate (53%) of any major job by 2016. The median starting salary of $55K-$65K is a good reflection of the demand for the job.
Despite the dot com boom and bust, movement towards online systems integration has trended upwards over time. As legions of hackers continue to create new ways to compromise the integrity of the systems that they attack, it has become increasingly important for networks to be iron-clad-secure in order to maintain user trust and a positive public image.
3. Computer Software Engineers/Applications:
Demand for good computer engineering talent has not lacked over the last decade, and probably won’t over the next 10 either. The BLS predicts this field will add another 226,000 jobs by 2016. Although startups may be hard pressed to find venture capital over the next few years, the emergence of freeware dot coms and competition amongst the software giants should lead to further job increases in this field, and have pressed median starting salaries above $80K.
4. Green Energy/Global Warming
The next decade should produce a large number of jobs in all fields relating to green energy and the fight against global warming. The Obama administration plans to pump $150 billion into the field over the next 10 years and predicts that this will create 5 million new jobs. Jobfox lists mechanical engineering and electrical engineers amongst the 20 most recession-proof jobs, and much of this growth will be in the area of green engineering.
Specifically, think battery technicians, wind, solar, CO2 emissions technology, nanotechnology, materials sciences, natural gas exploration and infrastructure, and nuclear.
5. Customer/Client Facing
Jobfox.com lists sales representatives and account/customer support as the #1 and #2 most recession-proof professions. Why? Slow growth demands people that can get results and keep clients/customers happy.
Many companies are viewing the current economic slowdown as the perfect opportunity to steal market share as competitors cut back so that when the economy emerges they will come out stronger than ever. To do this, they realize they need the right talent to interact with the external world.
Your Next Move
While you shouldn’t abandon your life goals, focusing on a career that can result in almost certain present employment that allows you to build transferable skills can be the best solution for now and for your future.
For more of GE Miller’s writing, see the 20somethingfinance.com personal finance blog.