If you are starting out your career or have been in the workforce for a while, it’s important to look into the future. Hockey star Wayne Gretzky famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” It’s the same way with your career. You need to look forward. Anticipate the emerging trends. Figure out how you can leverage your skills to pivot toward a fast-growing career instead of being stuck with a job that’s going nowhere.
I write about the monthly jobs report compiled by the United States Department of Labor. Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows how many new jobs were created or lost. The data captures a moment in time. This division, as you can imagine, has access to a wealth of information and statistics about jobs and careers.
While most economists, Wall Street professionals and nerdy guys like me pay attention to the monthly jobs reports, the BLS has some compelling reading for proactive people who strongly desire to advance their careers. It has put together lists of the fastest-growing jobs and careers. Additionally, the BLS shares how much these roles pay.
Before we go into the jobs, let’s look at the sectors that offer rapid growth. To start with, the BLS anticipates that overall employment in the U.S. will grow from “153.5 million to 165.4 million over the 2020–30 decade, an increase of 11.9 million jobs.”
Employment in the restaurant, bar, travel, hotel and what’s referred to as the “leisure and hospitality sector,” as a catch-all, is projected to increase at the fastest rate. This will occur in response to the the country’s reopening and recovery. During the pandemic, workers in the leisure and hospitality space were one of first to lose their jobs or get furloughed. Now, due to nearly insatiable demand, the jobs have come roaring back. The bounceback has been so enormous that restaurants and businesses complain they can’t find enough workers. Large corporations, such as Walmart, Amazon and Target, have had to respond by offering sign-on bonuses, increases in wages and free tuition to entice people to join their companies.
As you can imagine, in the current and eventually post-pandemic environment, healthcare will take precedence. Understandably, concerns about our health and safety will propel the healthcare and social assistance sector’s continued growth. This space is “projected to add the most jobs of all industry sectors, about 3.3 million jobs over 2020–30.”
Within healthcare, employment in the individual and family services industry is projected to increase the fastest, with an annual growth rate of 3.3%. Some of the fast-growing healthcare occupations include nurse practitioners, physical therapist assistants and physician assistants.
A rising demand for the care of an aging Baby-Boomer population, longer life expectancies and continued growth in the number of patients with chronic conditions will call for a steady need for healthcare providers.
Technological advancements are expected to keep growing at a fast pace. We see an acceleration in artificial intelligence, robotics, self-driving vehicles, cryptocurrencies, gaming, virtual reality, online collaborative video platforms and the metaverse. There will be needs across the gamut, ranging from large tech giants to scrappy startups. As business continues moving online, demand will outstrip the supply of suitable job candidates.
According to the BLS, “Computer and mathematical occupations are expected to see fast employment growth as strong demand is expected for IT security and software development, in part due to increased prevalence of telework spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.” The downside is that technological changes facilitating increased automation are expected to result in declining employment for office and administrative support occupations.
Tangentially, there will be a large need for people to interpret the vast amount of data to help business leaders make smart, informed decisions. Demand for new products, such as the Internet of Things, and for analyzing and interpreting large datasets are also expected to contribute to fast employment growth for statisticians, information security analysts and data scientists.
We are likely to see a retirement boom. This will open up opportunities for younger workers. Demographics show that by 2030, Baby Boomers will be at least 65 years old. As they age, many will start retiring or leave the workforce. The BLS states, “The increasing share of people ages 65 and older contributes to a projected labor force growth rate that is slower than much of recent history, as well as a continued decline in the labor force participation rate, because older people have lower participation rates compared with younger age groups.”
Other trends, such as moving toward environmentally friendly initiatives, the massive adoption of pets during the pandemic, a mental health crisis, working from home and the desire to improve our health and lives, will create all sorts of new opportunities.
Here are the jobs that the U.S. Labor Department and BLS project will be the fastest growing jobs going into 2030, along with the median annual pay:
- Wind turbine service technicians: $56,230
- Nurse practitioners: $111,680
- Solar photovoltaic installers: $46,470
- Statisticians: $92,270
- Physical therapist assistants: $59,770
- Information security analysts: $103,590
- Home health and personal care aides: $27,080
- Medical and health services managers: $104,280
- Data scientists and mathematical science occupations, all other: $98,230
- Physician assistants: $115,390
- Epidemiologists: $74,560
- Logisticians: $76,270
- Speech-language pathologists: $80,480
- Animal trainers: $31,520
- Computer numerically controlled tool programmers: $57,740
- Genetic counselors: $85,700
- Crematory operators and personal care and service workers, all other: $28,420
- Operations research analysts: $86,200
- Actuaries: $111,030
- Health specialties teachers, postsecondary: $99,090
- Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists: $42,150
- Interpreters and translators: $52,330
- Athletic trainers: $49,860
- Respiratory therapists: $62,810
- Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors: $47,660
- Food preparation and serving related workers, all other: $27,080
- Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary: $75,470
- Woodworkers, all other: $33,630
- Phlebotomists: $36,320
- Software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers: $110,140