When it comes to the future, uncertainty is the only certainty. Think about remote work. Way back in 2019, it was slowly gaining acceptance even as most managers resisted. In 2020, companies and their employees were forced to adapt. Today many workers have traded long commutes for casual strolls to their home office. For companies hoping to attract top talent, remote work is now an enticing benefit, and non-negotiable for many.
Most of us experienced a bit of emotional whiplash when the summer of freedom petered out and offices delayed reopening. Predicting which careers will flourish in our post-COVID world isn’t easy. Still there are some definite trends. Of course if you’re already loving your career, I’m not suggesting a radical course correction. However, if you are considering a change, here are the top five growing fields in the years ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an outsized impact on health care workers. Some caught the virus, many became ill or even lost their lives. After enduring a months-long onslaught of patients, studies suggest over one-third are thinking about leaving the profession. Although there has been a shortage of skilled nurses for years, the pandemic made it even worse. That’s one reason healthcare is a top field of the future.
There will be a need for at least 500,000 more Registered Nurses by 2027. You’ll have to earn a bachelor’s of science or an associate’s degree in nursing along with a license. If you love travel, becoming a travel nurse can mean earning a six-figure income along with signing bonuses. In fact, there’s a range of healthcare jobs that offer travel opportunities. In the top five for fastest growing professions, nurse practitioners are R.N.s who have also earned a master’s degree. Able to do many of the things a doctor does like prescribe medication, nurse practitioners are less likely to be burdened by the average physician’s debt load –– which can easily exceed 200K. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 the median pay for a nurse practitioner was almost 112K.
2. Information Technology
Of course IT has been a growth field for years. What’s different is that an increased focus on remote work and smartphone development has increased demand for software and app developers. Although this field has traditionally required a bachelors of science degree, companies are now recruiting people who learned to code online. So if you’re thinking about a career change and are tech orientated, you may want to consider taking some coding classes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) predicts that by the end of the decade, the software development field will grow by 22% –– which means over 300,000 new jobs with a median salary over six figures. And if you tend to be introverted, software or app development is a great career choice.
3. Supply Chain Management
You probably aren’t surprised to find that this is a growth field. The panic buying that began before last year’s lockdowns upended the just-in-time delivery methods that so many retailers had long relied on. Jobs in this field include Purchasing Agent, Logistics Analyst, and Distribution Manager. Although many start out with a bachelor’s degree, top earners have graduate degrees as well. Industrial engineers are also plentiful in this supply chain management. So if you are skilled with math, statistics, and engineering principles and love making systems work more efficiently, this could be the right field for you.
4. Financial Management
Careers in this field are expected to grow by 15% over the next decade. Financial managers are hired to examine a company’s spending and income while looking for ways to maximize profitability. Fortune 500 companies often seek candidates with an MBA –– although smaller organizations hire financial managers with bachelor’s degrees. The median income approaches 120K. Management consultants enjoy similar high rates of growth and high median incomes.
5. Actuarial and Statistician
Actuaries enjoy an almost 20% growth rate by the end of the decade and a median income over six figures. If you enjoy data and statistics, this could be the perfect high-growth field. Most work for insurance companies, deciding whether or not to insure a potential customer. Being able to evaluate risk is an in-demand skill. Actuaries often have a degree in actuarial science and have passed a series of licensing exams. Statisticians fulfill a similar role for companies by analyzing data and projecting future sales, profits, and obstacles to growth. Data Scientists, who help companies better utilize information, enjoy a projected 30% growth in employment by 2030.
Of course the best job for you may not be the highest paying, nor one with the fastest growth. The key is leveraging your skill set and achieving the best possible outcome. Besides, how many would have guessed the number one fastest growing occupation? According to the BLS, it’s motion picture projectionists.
by Ashley Stahl
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