Advertisement
Your Business

How to Profit in Today's Economy: New Jobs, New Skills

The best route to a rewarding career is to pick a growing field and stay flexible.

What it's all about. Jobs will trickle into the labor market over the next several months, but don't expect significant improvement until late next year. We'll recoup the eight million jobs lost in the recession by late 2013 or early 2014. But new workers will be entering the labor force, so achieving a full-employment economy -- an unemployment rate of about 5% to 5.5% -- could take much longer.

Advertisement - Article continues below

How it's different this time. Even profitable companies with plenty of cash aren't hiring until confidence in the economy improves. Nevertheless, job openings have risen 26% since July 2009. Why not a bigger dent in unemployment? Partly it's a mismatch between what employers are looking for and what workers have to offer. Success now depends less on years of experience in a particular industry or finely honed expertise, and more on flexibility and a knack for adapting a set of transferable skills (see Retool Your Career).

How you can profit. New grads will find the highest demand for degrees in accounting, business administration, computer science, engineering and math. An occupational certificate or associate's degree might help snag a lucrative job. But consider the number of job openings in the field. Employment in biomedical engineering is projected to grow 72% from 2008 through 2018 -- but that works out to just 1,400 openings per year.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The fastest-growing occupations with a lot of openings have a familiar ring, says occupational expert Laurence Shatkin. Over ten years (beginning in 2008), the number of computer network systems and database administrator openings could grow by 46,000 a year on average. Registered nurses could see 104,000 job openings per year. There will be a huge need for accountants and auditors, with about 50,000 openings per year.

Have a job already? Look for a raise of 3% or less, on average, but superstars might see 4.5%. Cover four bases to show you've added value: quantity (more output); quality (reduced errors); cost (on budget or below); and timeliness (deadlines beaten). Ask for a raise immediately after a big success.

Advertisement

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020
Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year
tax law

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Americans are facing a long list of tax changes for the 2020 tax year...and it's never too early to start thinking about next year's return.
June 22, 2020
10 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class
tax deductions

10 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class

Tax breaks aren't just for the rich. There are plenty of them that are only available to middle- and low-income Americans.
June 30, 2020

Recommended

Nursing in the Time of COVID-19
Financial Planning

Nursing in the Time of COVID-19

This health care professional warns that the pandemic will worsen the nursing shortage.
July 2, 2020
Chiropractor Trying to Get Business the Wrong Way – Illegally
careers

Chiropractor Trying to Get Business the Wrong Way – Illegally

A new chiropractor’s fledgling business plan to attract patients may sound reasonable at first look, but it’s actually against the law, and the same p…
June 30, 2020
Post-COVID-19, Seniors Must Chart a New Path in the Workplace
retirement

Post-COVID-19, Seniors Must Chart a New Path in the Workplace

Those most vulnerable to the pandemic will face challenges in the return to work, even as the recession means they may need their paychecks more than …
June 11, 2020
Dealing with an Early, Unexpected Retirement
retirement

Dealing with an Early, Unexpected Retirement

Current economic and health crises may be pushing many toward an unexpected retirement. Now is a good time to make a plan for yourself, just in case.
June 9, 2020