The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has just released its latest revision of its annual Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). This is a great resource for those interested in changing jobs or for students trying to decide on a career. The OOH lists job descriptions, average salaries and estimates of the number of new jobs that will be created between 2010 and 2020. Obviously when choosing a new career it is best to be in a position that has increasing demand rather than finding yourself in an industry such as buggy whip maker where finding a job becomes increasingly difficult. If your position is in demand and supply is tight the natural progression will be increasing salaries, bigger signing bonuses and more benefits as companies compete for the limited number of candidates available.
According to the most recent data from the BLS, many of the new positions with the best salaries are in the health care arena, which makes sense in a time of aging Baby Boomers. For instance the number one position with the greatest increase in demand is for Registered Nurses. The BLS estimates 711,900 new nurses will be needed during the decade between 2010 and 2020. Plus, the salary of registered nurses is the highest of any of the top 20 growth positions with a median annual salary in 2010 of $64,690.
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Unfortunately, many of the other growth positions are not so fortunate either having significantly lower growth rates or significantly lower salaries. For instance, the second highest growth position is for retail sales persons. The BLS estimates 706,800 new retail sales positions and unfortunately their salaries averaged only $20,670 in 2010. The third highest growth position is also in the health care industry and it is Home Health Aides but once again it is a relatively low paying position averaging $20,560 per year. Other growing healthcare positions are Personal Care Aides (607,000 new jobs) $19,640 and Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants (302,000 new jobs) $24,010.
Some of the other better paying growth jobs are Post Secondary Teachers (i.e. College Professors) (305,700 new jobs) $62,050. Based on the growth estimates for professors, it seems that the BLS estimates that more people will be going to college in an effort to upgrade their skills in order to better compete for the few good jobs available.
The third highest paying growth position is Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Reps with 223,400 new jobs and an average salary of $52,440. This is followed closely by Elementary School Teachers with 248,800 new jobs and an average annual salary of $51,660. From there the average salaries drop rapidly with the next highest salary at $37,770 for Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers (330,100 new jobs), followed by 259,000 Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerks making an average of $34,030 per year. Unfortunately, a full 13 of the 20 growth jobs average less than $30,000 per year including Food Preparation i.e. fast food making $17,950, cashiers ($18,500), childcare workers ($19,300), personal care aides ($19,640), retail sales ($20,670), janitors ($22,210), landscaping ($23,400), laborers ($23,460), nursing aides ($24,010), receptionists ($25,240), office clerks ($26,610), and construction laborers ($29,280). And making just a bit more at $30,460 Customer Service Representatives.
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