As any jobseeker knows, it takes energy to find work. But the odds and long-term prospects are better when skill development and search tactics target fields with worker shortages and more secure positions.
The U.S. economy has ups and downs, and in a downturn, experienced workers lose their jobs and graduates have difficulty finding work. But some jobs remain relatively stable despite fluctuations in the economy.
In the latest Jobs Rated Report from CareerCast.com, the job with the most promising outlook in terms of hiring and income growth potential is an event coordinator. “Despite the economy, Baby Boomers are celebrating,” says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com. “More money is being spent on events in this country than ever before.”
Next in order of rank are market research analyst, medical secretary and physical therapist.
Fifth in the lineup is bricklayer. “It’s a skill that’s disappearing,” Lee says, so those who possess it are in demand.
But when other factors besides security are taken into account, such as salary and physical demands, bricklayer ranks significantly lower overall, Lee adds.
Taking a broader view, author Laurence Shatkin identifies six career fields that offer more job security than most. “During economic downturns, these fields tend not to shed workers as much as other fields do, and the overall outlook for employment in these fields is good to excellent,” he writes in “150 Best Jobs for a Secure Future” (JIST Publishing, 2012).
Inclusion “does not necessarily mean these jobs are easiest to get,” Shatkin says, “but they’re the ones you’re most likely to keep because they’re not as sensitive to the ups and downs of the economy.”
The Top Six career fields are computer systems design, including software developers and computer network architects; educational services, including teachers, administrators and counselors; federal government, including social scientists, compliance officers and air traffic controllers; repair and maintenance, including industrial machinery mechanics and medical equipment repairers; utilities, including electrical engineers and electronics repairers; and health care.
“The fact that the population is getting older and needing care is adding to the security of the health care industry,” says Shatkin, who considered the effects of long-term trends like automation, demographics, global competition and offshoring as well as economic criteria including annual earnings, projected growth and the number of job openings.
The Top Five “Best Secure Health Care Jobs Overall” include physicians and surgeons, physical therapists, physician assistants, dental hygienists and optometrists.
While federal government positions are relatively secure, “I was surprised by how insecure local and state government jobs have become, but the political climate has pushed governments into austerity mode,” Shatkin says.
The security offered by repair and maintenance jobs came as no surprise, however: “Even is a recession things break down and need to be fixed; in fact, in a recession, people aren’t buying new cars and things but want to keep what they have in good repair.”
Job security is more important than ever now that American workers have witnessed two “jobless recoveries” since the turn of the century, Shatkin says. Previously, whenever America pulled out of a recession, the job market rebounded quickly. But after the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, employment recovery was slower, and in the aftermath of the Great Recession, even more time will pass before the American workforce regains lost ground, Shatkin says.
Of course, a position is only secure if the jobholder excels at it, so job security alone should not drive career decisions.
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