New study reveals fastest-growing occupations through 2017

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Eleven million Americans are currently looking for work, yet 45 percent of human resources managers say they are unable to find qualified candidates for their open positions. For job seekers, this might not make sense; for HR managers, it all comes down to who has the right qualifications right now. This skills gap is a growing problem for employers and workers alike, but it can be overcome.

In “The Talent Equation,” a new book by Matt Ferguson (CEO of CareerBuilder), Lorin Hitt (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) and Prasanna Tambe (Stern School, New York University), issues such as the labor market’s skills gap challenge are explored, as well as how big data has the potential to transform human resources.

What job seekers can do
HR managers, eager to fill vacant positions and keep their businesses productive and profitable, have to decide between taking longer to find an ideal candidate and investing their resources into reskilling or educating an applicant who has some, but not all, of the necessary skills. According to research from the book, 8 in 10 employers express concern over an emerging skills gap, but only 4 in 10 say their company is doing anything to alleviate it.

Where does this leave job seekers?

While employers decide how they’re going to overcome the skills gap from a hiring standpoint, job seekers can take steps to find the right roles. For example, jobs that are projected to grow the most in the coming years are high-wage occupations, and jobs require associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees will all outpace jobs requiring short-term, on-the-job training. Job seekers might want to consider additional education or certifications to align themselves with these growing positions, which are in demand today and will be in the future.

The fastest-growing occupations
As employers find better ways to recruit, provide workers with more training opportunities and narrow the skills gap, more job seekers will be able to find roles in which they can be successful.  Knowing which occupations have a bright outlook can further help job seekers focus their career.

A new report from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. on the projected fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. from 2013 to 2017 can give job seekers the direction they need. “Projections provide an important look at the future of the labor market, and can be used to spot emerging trends that have implications for students and job seekers, as well as businesses and economic planners,” Ferguson says. “Barring any major shocks to the economy, the short-term job outlook in the United States will likely continue developments seen during the recovery — specifically, significant growth for jobs that require a college education and occupations in health care, energy and technology.”

The following list, adapted from the report, spotlights the fastest-growing occupations that are projected to see at least 8 percent growth and 30,000 jobs added from 2013 through 2017.

1. Personal care & home health aides
Projected growth: 21 percent
New jobs: 473,965
Median hourly earnings: $9.77

2. Market research analysts & marketing specialists
Projected growth: 14 percent
New jobs: 60,889
Median hourly earnings: $29.10

3. Medical secretaries 
Projected growth: 14 percent
New jobs: 76,386
Median hourly earnings: $15.17

4. Emergency medical technicians & paramedics
Projected growth: 13 percent
New jobs: 30,234
Median hourly earnings: $15.28

5. Software developers (systems & applications)
Projected growth: 11 percent
New jobs: 110,049
Median hourly earnings: $47.64

6. Medical assistants
Projected growth: 10 percent
New jobs: 60,109
Median hourly earnings: $14.35

7. Registered nurses
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 256,703
Median hourly earnings: $32.04

8. Network & computer systems administrators
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 34,825
Median hourly earnings: $35.14

9. Pharmacy technicians
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 31,975
Median hourly earnings: $14.29

10. Landscaping & groundskeeping workers
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 111,444
Median hourly earnings: $11.07

11. Social & human service assistants
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 34,411
Median hourly earnings: $14.02

12. Computer systems analysts
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 40,462
Median hourly earnings: $37.98

13. Management analysts  
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 60,157
Median hourly earnings: $35.80

14. Cooks, restaurant
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 79,364
Median hourly earnings: $10.63

15. Insurance sales agents
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 52,565
Median hourly earnings: $23.20

16. Nursing assistants
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 117,400
Median hourly earnings: $12.01

17. Licensed practical & licensed vocational nurses
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 63,320
Median hourly earnings: $20.33

18. Combined food prep & serving, incl. fast food
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 237,192
Median hourly earnings: $8.75

19. Receptionists & information clerks
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 85,035
Median hourly earnings: $12.64

9 Comments
  1. Your article interesting but I can’t help but notice that :  Out of the 19 positions listed, 11 of them have median salaries that keep the person solidly locked in poverty or near impoverished states at median salaries at 35K or less.  How in the heck can you call those “BRIGHT” futures?  I’ve been in that bracket for the last 16 years after reaching a career peak of median income   in the mid 40′s.  It isn’t possible in most metro areas to support yourself or a family on those type of wages.  Why would anyone spend the HUGE amount of money for education in most of those areas for a payback that only allows them to go into student loan default?  What’s the rational in our society for this?   
    What is considered a middle wage salary these days ?  If you go to any of the relocation sites, most places in the US need you to draw a salary of at least 40K to pay rent and bills.  Did I miss something?

    • I strongly agree with the previous comment as well. What are they thinking. Inflation is going up and pay is going down. The rich keep getting richer, the poor stay poor and the middle class keep working harder than anyone else and getting less and less money and benefits. Just because the rich have power( with the government helping) doesn’t mean that the rest of the world should suffer. Soon enough there wont be a middle-class anymore. And If they want to find the talent that their so in need of than they might want to offer more pay.

    • I love your response it was well writen & so true. I have a degree in Horticulture & won’t go back 2 that field. Also I’ve worked in the field of medicine another field I refuse 2 go back into. There needs 2 be better paying jobs out there & some meeting in the middle between employers & employees about bridging skill gaps. I also feel that a lot of wages have not caught up with the cost of living. I know I spent a lot of time & money for my Associates degree only 2 make less money than before I had it. It was like a slap in the face.

  2. I definitely agree with the prevoius comment. The jobs that are available keep you in poverty. Many jobs that used to pay 21-25 dollars an hour are now paying 9-11 dollars an hour. You cannot live confortably on the east coast with that type of income,that is if you have a family to support. It is a sad day in these United States.

  3. that is the most depressing article I have read; not too long ago I was at 6 figures for approximately 18 years of my career. I can not even find a job now its horrific. Soon I will loose everything I ever worked for. I live in a modular home park from the 70′s its falling apart. I came from riches to rags I do not ever see that changing in my life. I am almost 60yo I can’t collect unemployment that leaves me with one option homeless – how lovely. College education – last title Clinical Research Director. I spend hours everyday looking for work, learning another language and trying to get certified in a medical field. If this doesn’t payoff – life sucks.

  4. I’ve noticed, there are incredible amount of jobs opening. I believe most companies are looking on the number of resumes they received, but not concentrating on their open position. Is it because they don’t really have jobs to offer to the job seeker, or just accumulating number of resumes before the tax period in April 15, to get a tax write off for their businesses, to show that they’re helping the growth for the economy on jobs. I don’t really understand what is going on….

  5. I work for Oreillys auto parts. They used to hire full time. Since Obama care they have taken almost all of their workers (now approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people) and have put them mostly on part time saleries. Even though the Obama care for employers has been delayed they still will not give most employees over 28 hours. This pretty much has changed an entire work class from a full time situation to all having part time jobs with now where to turn but to get a second job or just work for mostly $10.00 per hour. Can’t survive much on that! I also think that there profit margin has increased also because now they only offer benefits to only 3 peolpe in each store. The Manager, Assist. Mng. and the Commercial guy. Oh, they still want you to sell as if you were fulltime and be happy about it. Even if Obama Care goes down in flames I’m sure they will not change to full time employment with benefits.

    Disgruntled – Tucson, Az

    • I agree with all o you. Home Depot also stopped hiring full time workers a couple of years ago. Depending on when you got hired there wages are also under 13.00 an hour for most people. And if you need food stamps, you only get about $13.00 a month. Yes really, that is why we pay our congressmen so much more money, because we forget all of that when election time comes around. Try to remember it this year though.

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