Last week, as we went through the Easter and Passover holidays, I realized another season is approaching. It’s graduation season. Also, it is the season when students are planning their move to college, professional school, or graduate school.
The world has changed since new graduates entered school. We’ve gone through a pandemic, and now the global economy is being shaken by the largest war in Europe since World War II.
As regular readers know, I’ve been working to help job seekers address the challenges of our post-pandemic world. But this week, I think it’s worthwhile to pull out some ideas from my research to help those that are graduating college in the next two months, as well as those students that want to decide what field to study when they start their next educational program next fall.
It’s important, as you plan your next move, to consider both the career fields that show promise, and those that could be declining. Of course, as the infomercials remind us, “your results may vary.”
Our research has suggested the following:
- Some tech job categories will continue to expand,
- Important kinds of entry-level jobs are declining,
- Demographic changes in America are impacting the job market, and
- Technology skills alone will not assure you of a job in an evolving economy.
Technical fields will continue offering great opportunities.
We expected, at the start of our research, that we would be telling the story of high demand for skilled workers as a result of developments in fields such as software development, aerospace, and medicine. For example, according to US Department of Labor statistics released last year, software development, testing, and quality assurance jobs are 4th on their list of jobs with the most anticipated growth by 2030. Jobs in medical fields including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, healthcare managers, and a variety of other specialists are in the top 20 jobs with the highest anticipated demand, too.
According to our research, aerospace jobs do not appear high on the list, but we think the potential for unprecedented growth exists. That’s because at least two companies—SpaceX and Boom Aerospace—are developing revolutionary technologies which would change the world if successful. SpaceX is reportedly hiring thousands of technical experts to build spacecraft for extremely rapid transportation around the world, as well as for trips to the Moon and Mars. Boom Aerospace is developing a fleet or next-generation supersonic airliners for United Airlines.
Important entry-level jobs may not be available in the coming years.
Many of us remember—fondly or not so fondly—the entry-level jobs we accepted after graduating from high school or college. Often, they were administrative and customer service roles—I sat in a local college personnel office for several months categorizing resumes, for example. I also answered the phone and took messages for the personnel director.
Neither of these function would be performed by an entry-level employee today in most organizations. Voicemail and chat-bots answer the phone and provide customer service. An overseas call center may handle more difficult inquiries.
This means, if you are starting a career or changing careers now, you will have to be more creative about identifying entry-level spots where you can learn a business from the ground up.
The answer for some job seekers could be to look for entry-level jobs in fields with growing demand. Some kinds of jobs also cannot be readily outsourced or automated.
Demographic changes in America will impact the job market.
Demographic changes in this country are an important driver of job market adjustments. The US Census reports that all baby-boomers will be age 65 or more by the year 2030. As a result, according to DOL, the job title that is projected to have the most growth between now and 2030 is home care aide.
While home care jobs don’t require degrees or advanced certifications, other healthcare jobs do. The demand for medical assistant jobs, for example, is expected to continue growing while the demand for other entry-level administrative professionals is sinking due to automation and outsourcing.
Changing demographics may also play a role in another trend DOL reported—high demand for service workers. This includes a broad range of workers such as fast food team members, restaurant workers, passenger car drivers, and truck drivers.
The important thing about these service jobs is that they are difficult to automate or outsource to overseas providers. So, even if you don’t envision yourself doing one of these jobs with your newly minted degree, there is a lesson here. Consider a “high-touch” occupation that does not lend itself to offshore outsourcing robotic, or AI automation.
Advanced technical training does not assure you of a job.
Surprisingly, advanced technical training offers no assurance that you will always be employed. The nuclear energy industry in this country, for example, has shuttered many facilities in recent years, so the demand for highly trained commercial nuclear reactor operators has declined precipitously. Of course, you probably have many transferrable skills if you have a degree and experience related to nuclear energy.
The decline of our nuclear power industry is closely related to changes in American’s attitude toward the industry as well as high costs. This is just one example of the way trends in the world around us influence the viability of our careers. The days when we can select a job and career when we graduate from school and expect to retire from that same career are long gone for most of us. Be alert to changes in the world around you so you are prepared to change accordingly.