The Most Secure Jobs
Thinking of embarking on a new career in 2011, but not sure where to begin? How about with a job that not only pays well but offers considerable stability? After all, a handsome paycheck isn’t worth much if it’s in a field that’s expected to become the next recession casualty.
Following are eight of our top picks for gigs expected to be both prosperous and abundant in the coming decade.
Between the ongoing need for hospital workers and the aging baby boomer population, this is one career that isn’t going anywhere, says Laurence Shatkin, author of more than 20 books for job hunters, including “150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this job is expected to grow by 24 percent through the year 2018. As the BLS reports, most cardiovascular technologists in training earn at least a two-year technical degree. In addition, some get on-the-job training in the necessary equipment (for example, EKGs).
Median annual salary: $60,400
Like health care, information technology remains a hot field with ample opportunity, says workplace expert Alexandra Levit, whose latest book is “New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career.” In other words, she says, “Everyone needs these people.” Whether you’ve acquired the necessary tech skills in the workplace or studied information technology or management information systems in college, a solid foundation in computing is essential, reports the BLS, adding that certifications can only make you more attractive to employers.
Median annual salary: $72,600
Gas/electric/utilities strategic planning analyst
Working in the utilities sector remains a wise bet, no matter what the economy’s doing, Levit says. “They’re just not downsizing at the rate that some other industries are right now. People still have to heat their homes,” she explains. As a bonus, the BLS predicts turnover for utilities positions will be high in the coming decade as older workers retire (in 2008, 53 percent of the utilities workforce was age 45 or older). According to the BLS, of all utilities sector support staff, technology workers and analysts will find themselves best equipped to capitalize on job openings.
Median annual salary: $68,700
Do you enjoy crunching numbers but worry that the bulk of corporate accounting jobs were eliminated in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis? There’s no need, Levit says. In fact, the BLS estimates that accounting jobs will grow by 22 percent in the next decade. Plus, “Accountants make a good living, especially those who work with organizations that have been required to meet certain federal mandates,” Levit says.
Median annual salary: $49,100
With a product branding and business management background, you — and your bank account — can go far. Organizations from all walks of corporate America need creative folks who can write and analyze a marketing survey, position a product to consumers and the media, and collaborate with market researchers, product managers, and profit-minded accountants. What’s more, the BLS predicts that opportunities for marketing managers will increase by 13 percent through 2018.
Median annual salary: $60,200
Of all the jobs that require a two-year technical degree, this one promises the most opportunity in the new decade, boasting a whopping 36 percent growth rate, Shatkin says. Why? Because “dentists try to shrug off more work to dental hygienists so they can see more patients,” he explains. As a bonus, Shatkin adds, many of these positions are part-time with flexible hours, making them ideal for parents with young children.
Median annual salary: $57,100
Are you a design blog junkie? The friend everyone calls when they need help sprucing up their living room? Then why not put your artistic flair to work? Although you’ll need to invest in a design degree and acquire the necessary budgeting and software skills, the payoff is worth it, says Shatkin: Job opportunities are expected to grow by 19 percent through 2018.
Median annual salary: $46,100
Thanks to the country’s aging population, occupational therapy remains a high-growth field, with 26 percent more jobs predicted in the new decade, Shatkin says. If you’re the patient, nurturing sort who thrives on helping people, this could be the career for you. Occupational therapists help people who’ve been sick, injured, or otherwise impaired gain the necessary life skills (using a computer, cooking, dressing, and so on) to return to work or their own home. According to the BLS, nearly a third of occupational therapists work part-time, and a master’s degree and state license are usually required.
Median annual salary: $69,400
Source: Salary data from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions, or profit sharing.
Michelle Goodman is a freelance business journalist and author of “The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube.”