Professional Education and Career Blog

The Top Employment Trends for 2014: What Would Be a Good Career Move?

trendsOne thing that is constant in the workforce is change. If you’re considering a career move, or perhaps trying to decide on an education path leading to good long-term stability and growth, it’s important to research trends and decide with confidence that a good job market will be waiting for you at the end.

One area that should be no surprise in its growth is healthcare. Recent reform laws have greatly increased demand for medical professionals around the country, and Nurses and Nurse Practitioners are particularly in demand. With the baby boomers reaching retirement age, the long term outlook is exceptionally high, and the unemployment rate is low. Many nurses enter the field motivated by helping people, but the high salaries don’t hurt, either. A registered nurse has a median salary of $65,000, and the top 10% can pull down $94,000.

Nurse practitioners are the higher level of nurse – they are qualified to take patient histories, perform physical exams, order labs, analyze lab results, prescribe medications, authorize treatments, and counsel patients and families. Some of the higher salaries reach over $100K, and in parts of Northern California (e.g., San Jose) the average salary is $125K.

Related to healthcare are Occupational Therapists. With the aging population, there is a clear trend toward needing workers to provide long-term care and therapies. Occupational therapists work in a number of diverse environments, such as schools, medical offices, hospitals and even client’s homes. While the job can vary tremendously, they typically care for patients suffering mental, physical, emotional or development issues. Therapists work with a wide range of ages from toddlers to the elderly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth of 29 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding 32,800 jobs to the current 105,540.

Technology careers continue to grow and will most likely keep growing far in the futures. These are commonly referred to as a STEM career (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math). As the U.S. continues its recovery, STEM occupations are likely to be driving force behind economic growth. New products that come from these occupations have been a major focus over the past decade, with more than 26% of employers planning to create jobs in the next 12 months. And it pays extremely well: the median software developer made over $47/hour, or nearly $100,000/year.

Accountants and auditors are showing growth as more companies are showing growth, as well as more small companies being formed. More than one million of these jobs are currently in the United States, and accountants account for one of the largest above-average paying jobs in the country. The median pay for an accountant is $30.55, and there are clear career paths for advancement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13.1 percent growth for accounts over the next decade.

Leadership and organizational skill is always in demand. Almost two million jobs fit this category and nearly every company needs people to keep projects on track. These people are typically charged with making tactical and strategic decisions, and duties can include hiring people, negotiating contracts, managing budgets and guiding work teams.

If you like getting your hands dirty, Construction jobs and Construction Managers are showing as a growth industry. While jobs had a clear downward trend in the mid-2000s, hiring is predicted to start ramping up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting 1.6 million new construction jobs by 2022, and 79,000 construct management jobs. It can also pay very well: The median annual salary is $82,790. The highest-paid in the profession made up to $144,520 and even the lowest still earned about $50,000.

doorsIf you like construction and other areas of building things, but prefer clean hands, one often overlooked job is being a Cost Estimator. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that this area will show a 26% growth between 2012 and 2022, much higher than the average for the overall job market. This means an increase of around 53,000 jobs. A nice aspect of cost estimating is that it has an upward path. Cost estimating is needed for just about every type of project, including aircraft, ships, bridges, manufacturing, satellites, etc. You also might do analysis after the fact to discover the reasons for cost overruns. The median salary for a cost estimator is around $58K, with the top workers pulling in $96K.

While many people are still recovering from the recession of the early 2010s, it pays to realize that economies run in cycles. The people that have prepared themselves will be ready to ride the recovery wave into the future.