EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is from Kiplinger's Success With Your Money special issue. Order your copy today.
What do young adults want most in a job? Surprise! It's not money. Instead, they crave good old-fashioned job security.
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College students rank job security as their number-two priority for their careers, behind opportunity for advancement, according to a survey by the National Association of College Employers. Believe it or not, high salary placed a lowly seventh.
Yet job security would seem to be a relic of the past in today's ever-changing workplace, in which we're all expected to be entrepreneurs to stay competitive and sell ourselves to employers. And the job market can be particularly challenging in an uncertain economy. Where can you turn for stability in unstable times?
No job is 100% secure, says Randall Hansen, of QuintCareers.com. However, says Hansen, you can improve the odds of holding on to your job. "Workers in certain industries can take comfort in knowing that, even if they're fired, there is so much demand for their skills that they should be able to find another job very quickly."
The key, then, is to seek out careers with stable hiring prospects in both good times and bad. That means you should focus your job search on industries that have the potential for solid long-term growth, are resistant to outsourcing and don't depend much on consumer whims and economic winds.
Kiplinger's consulted career experts and combed through data on job trends to come up with six fields that should provide a measure of safety for workers no matter what happens in the economy. We include suggestions for specific jobs, along with the median salary for each position -- let's face it, money does matter. Salary figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Go to www.bls.gov/oco for earnings information, job descriptions, educational requirements and outlook projections for hundreds of jobs.
Plus, we give you advice on how to reduce your odds of getting a pink slip, no matter where you work.
Fueled by demand from an aging u.s. population, many of the fastest-growing careers are in the health-care industry. This field should stay hot for years to come.
Specific jobs and salary levels with stable prospects include doctors ($156,010 and up), registered nurses ($57,280), pharmacists ($94,520), physical therapists ($66,200) and occupational therapists ($60,470). With the increasing emphasis on controlling health-care costs, demand is also booming for physician assistants ($74,980).
And don't overlook the behind-the-scenes jobs in this field, from health-care administrators ($73,340), who handle the business side of delivering care, to medical scientists ($61,680), who conduct research and develop new treatments and drugs.