According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (at this writing) a total of 15.1 million people are out of work, bringing unemployment to an astounding rate of 10.2%. Of all ethnic groups, African Americans suffered the worst with a jobless rate that skyrocketed to 15.7%.
Although experts say that our economy is in recovery, the effects of such will not be felt in the job market for up to 24 months. Despite the loss in jobs, there are industries that show promise and offer prospects. Our year long series Where the Jobs Are will direct you to those opportunities and growth areas with details about trend projections and potential earnings.
To kick off our series, we talked to Joe Watson, CEO of consulting and executive search firm Without Excuses and Strategic Hire in Reston, Virginia. Watson, a proponent of proactive career strategies, is also author of Where the Jobs Are Now (McGraw-Hill; $18.95), in which he stresses the importance of rethinking the approach to today’s job market. “The economic downturn that we just went through is not just a temporary thing. It has fundamentally changed the very core of our economy and the way our economy works,” he explains. “The reader needs to understand that the workforce and their careers are part of the economy and therefore, the way they manage their career must change to be reflective of the new reality.”
John Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., explains that an industry is classified as growing when “there is a strong demand for the goods and services of that industry from businesses and consumers,” which, for job seekers also creates attractive prospects. “In a growth industry, you have many opportunities and room for advancement as your career progresses.” Challenger further explains that as the industry and companies within the industry grow, they will need more leaders. Understanding where the growth will occur helps professionals better enhance their experience or transition into a new area.
Watson’s book fully outlines a variety of growth areas and offers advice at the end of each chapter on how to make the transition into a selected industry. The following are among those featured:
Biotechnology: 248,000 projected jobs available in 2016
An aging population and its demands for drugs related to preventive or routine healthcare, and for ongoing research and manufacturing of new products to combat diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, will drive the biotech industry, writes Watson. “Biotech is the newer version of pharmaceutical,” comments Christopher Raymond, senior research analyst of biotechnology for Robert W. Baird & Co., a wealth management, capital markets, asset management, and private equity firm. “Most of the companies in biotech are small and are at the beginning stages of their growth in sales with products that are disease altering.”
Watson concurs: “Most of the activity in biotech is about developing methods to keep you healthier longer.” He writes that there will be a double-digit percentage growth in just about every role in the industry. For instance, marketing and sales managers are expected to grow by 26%, industrial machinery mechanics by 44.9%, and industrial engineers by 53.1%. The industry employs more than 200,000 and this number is projected to increase by 24% by 2016. Raymond notes there are various job opportunities in the industry, ranging from sales to research scientists to business. Other nonscientific skills are useful such as recordkeeping, management ability, and a willingness to travel.