Where The Jobs Are

This economy is both the best andthe worst of times. But while corporate downsizing is making for a bleak future, there are still career opportunities to be found.

Can you handle the truth? In this economy, there are several truths. The truth is that we are in a recession. The truth is that you will have to work harder than ever to keep your current job — or get another if you are caught in the cross fire. Here’s another truth: More than 350,000 workers lost their jobs in mass layoffs last year. At least 55,000 of those losses were directly or indirectly related to the events of September 11. That figure helped push the number of unemployed Americans to 7.7 million — a 2.2 million increase in just one month. The current 5.7% unemployment rate is the highest it has been in five years.

“Things can always get worse,” warns Gwendolyn Catchings-Castello, president and founder of Guiding Talent To Greatness, an executive coaching firm in Los Angeles. But she does see “enormous growth potential” in several sectors, particularly technology, healthcare, and research.

Adds Ollie Stevenson, author of Career Success Is Color-Blind: Overcoming Prejudice and Eliminating Barriers in the Workplace (JIST Works, $16.95). “Any restructuring, whether it’s a reorganization, merger, or downsizing, will result in a wealth of new opportunities. In spite of the potential offered by such changes, the majority of people within an organization may focus on resistance and occupy themselves with pointless speculation, gossip, fear, and work-avoidance.” But with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicting the creation of more than 5.8 million new jobs by 2008, there is no place for the negativity. Some of the fastest-growing industries and occupations with the greatest job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), include the following:

Technology (analysts, engineers, database administrators); the demand for computer technologists and data-processing services is also expected to increase 117% by 2008, infusing 1.9 million jobs into the pool.

Health (residential caregivers, registered nurses, and researchers); residential care positions, for example, will leap 57% and provide another 424,000 jobs.

Office workers (administrative support); personnel services will expand 43% and place 1.4 million people in administrative positions.

Education (high school and college-level educators); the number is expected to increase by 36%, due, in part, to retiring educators and a growing student population.

Security (guards, private detectives, and investigators); airports, real estate firms, and hospitals will drive the more than 36% increase in security services.

Securities and commodities (financial services); the BLS projects a 41% increase, adding 255,000 new jobs to the financial industry.

Because of the United States war on terrorism, there will be an increase in the need for technology experts, particularly engineers, systems analysts, and scientists. In fact, a good portion of the Department of Defense’s budget, roughly 10% of the $25 billion allotted, is expected to be spent on counterterrorism efforts, which would also include security technology and software development.

Likewise, corporations will need to protect their records, information systems, and intellectual properties with advanced hardware and software applications. Tools such as antivirus programs and security software, such as firewalls, will be in high demand as the adoption of handheld hardware and home networking is expected to rise.

“Government

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