This is a guest post by Brendan Cruickshank.
Pick up any newspaper or magazine today and start reading about the economy. What you will
see is not pretty.
Reports are grim and it’s easy to see why; the nation has been looking at unemployment rates percolating in and out of double digits for quite some time. Some of our larger states (e.g., California, Michigan, Florida) are seeing unemployment figures locked solidly in the teens.
As a whole, there are as many as 30 million people looking for work right now. Yet there are some encouraging signs out there. A recent Wall Street Journal article reported good news in the U.S. manufacturing sector, which in 2010 showed a work force growth for the first time in a decade. And believe it or not, there are a few other industries out there that seem to be oblivious to any thoughts of recession and are actually charging ahead quite nicely.
Let’s take a look at a few business sectors that have managed to buck the trend and show some degree of growth:
Clean Energy: The solar power industry has been creating jobs at a much faster rate than the overall U.S. economy. In the past year alone, the number of workers in the industry doubled and estimates for 2011 project an additional growth of about 26%. According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2010, more than half the nation’s solar firms expect to add jobs over the next twelve months and all 50 states can expect to see job growth in this area. Installers and electricians will be in especially high demand.
Also expecting to see growth in 2011 is the geothermal industry. According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), hundreds of new geothermal power projects are expected to enter the drilling construction phase, which should result in 3000 or more jobs added in the coming year. On a more long-term scale, the hydropower industry is projected to show steady growth over the course of the next two decades and could become major employers given the nation’s vast untapped potential in this area.
Computer Technology: A glance at the list of fastest growing occupations from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics
makes one thing immediately clear: the large bulk of the fastest growing jobs are in computers or health care (more about health care later).
The demand for computer-related skills is not hard to understand given the increase in computer power and the proliferation of computers in all industries. The hottest jobs in the field are network systems/data communications analysts and computer software engineers. Employment figures for computer support specialists are also showing an upward trend.
Health Care: There’s never really been a recession in the health care sector and it’s not hard to understand why. Unlike most other industries, health care is singularly immune to overseas outsourcing. Most work needs to be done hands-on with patients.
Another reason the industry continues to thrive is the aging of the baby-boom population, whose members continue to become increasingly reliant on health care professionals. Job opportunities are plentiful in many areas. Nurses of all types are in big demand. But so are physician assistants, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and residential care workers. And not all jobs are in doctor’s offices or hospitals. Workers are needed in laboratories, at pharmaceutical facilities, and with any type of company that provides support to medical facilities. Also in demand are workers in health care IT; for example, medical coders and keepers of electronic medical records. And two fields that are becoming particularly strong in terms of job growth are massage therapist and athletic trainer. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report in its article on The 50 Best Careers of 2011, athletic training “outranks nearly all other healthcare occupations for expected job growth.”
Consulting: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects management, scientific, and technical
consulting services to be one of the fastest growing industries over the next decade. Consultants provide businesses with expertise and advice in business planning and performance improvement. Businesses need this advice no matter what type of economy we are in.
During a recession, firms need to streamline and cut costs in order to stay competitive, and most of them depend on advice from consultants on how to do so. A slow economy will also cause many firms to outsource administrative and human resources functions to consultants who specialize in these services. Recessions often bring on corporate mergers, and consultants are needed to assist in the liquidation, acquisition, or restructuring processes. And regardless of the economy, management consultants are always needed to assist companies in drafting business plans and budgets, keeping compliant with government workplace safety and environmental laws, staying on top of
changes to tax laws, developing optimal business strategies, and determining appropriate salaries and benefits for employees.
Translation: It’s not too surprising that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of interpreters and translators to increase 22 percent over the next decade. Globalization is driving much of this demand, as is the large increase in the number of non-English speaking people in the U.S. Neither of these trends is dwindling; in fact, both are expected to continue and correspondingly, so is the rapid growth in the number of jobs in this field across all industries.
Highest demand is for translators of popular languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and German. There is an increasingly strong demand also for translators of Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages, as well as for Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean).
In looking at the industries that have remained strong or grown during these trying times, a quote from Warren Buffet comes to mind “Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.” The potential for success exists and many are taking advantage of it as proven by these solid sectors. Good news may not sell as readily as the gloom, however for those who are interested in accelerating their life, the information and possibilities are clearly there.
Official bio: Brendan Cruickshank (Vice President of Client Services) – Brendan is a veteran of the online job search and recruiting industry, having spent the past 8 years in senior client services roles with major sites like Juju.com and JobsInTheMoney.com. He is quoted regularly as an expert in employment and jobs trends in major media outlets like the Washington Post, US News & World Report, and Forbes and has spoken at recruiting industry events such as Onrec and Kennedy Information’s Corporate Recruiting Conference.