By: Taunee Besson
Q: The job market continues to be tight in my profession and location, yet some people are finding new positions. This recession can’t last forever. What are trends you see that have growing employment potential both now and in the future?
A: I often talk with my clients about trends when we’re brainstorming career changes and opportunities in growing industries and professions. Here’s a list of five major trends I’ve been following:
1. Sustainability: Going Green
Global warming and disruptions of natural processes are leading to serious concern about fouling our environment beyond recovery. Alternative and more efficient sources of energy, recycling, re-purposing, urban/local gardening, organic foods, natural pesticides and other “good for you and the earth” products are all growing fields, many of which are beginning to benefit from the federal stimulus.
If you are passionate about this trend, investigate its evolving careers. Right now there’s more talk than action, which is a great moment to get in on the ground floor of a bound-to-burgeon industry.
2. The World is Flat: Going Global
While this trend has been around for a while, it continues to expand with international organizations moving and creating positions around the world. The European Union is a major indicator of the march to globalize. As an alliance, it has a great deal more to offer its members and trade partners than its individual countries.
The uneasy symbiosis between China and the U.S. is another intriguing reality of our global economy. With the two countries bound at the hip by their trade balance, currency and debt relationship, they have become the yin and yang of the industrialized world. For the present and foreseeable future, China is the country to watch.
During the Great Recession, emerging economies have performed better than established ones. India, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina and Chile are excellent examples of countries on the move — ones that will become increasingly important trade partners in coming years.
This trend tells us that bilingual or multilingual skills, cultural astuteness, tech savvy, creativity, risk taking and willingness to travel, relocate or work in a virtual environment will lead to new opportunities as more countries participate in global trade. In most developed nations, services will continue to outpace manufacturing.
3. Demographic Shifts
Recently on NPR’s Diane Rehm show, there was a fascinating discussion about a book called Shock of Gray, which explains why the world is getting older and what this global population trend means for current and future generations.
In the U.S., two shifts are particularly prominent. Baby Boomers are turning gray, reaching retirement age and requiring more health care, leisure options, smaller and retrofitted housing and financial planning. Hispanics will soon be the biggest minority and eventually the largest population block in a number of states. They and other immigrants to countries in need of young and low-cost workers will spur general economic growth and the sale of products and services like those in their homeland.
4. Health Care Just Keeps Expanding
Because of aging populations, technological advances, drug discoveries, epidemics of obesity, autism and diabetes etc., plus more emphasis on health in emerging nations, this industry continues to expand at a pace far faster than the economy as a whole. Have you noticed how many large health care facilities have permanent construction cranes on site?
People who research, design, make and deliver health care products, services and facilities will continue to be hired in greater numbers. So will those who support operations in staff functions such as HR, finance, accounting, marketing, sales and IT.
Expertise in database management and process integration will be in tremendous demand. The industry, spurred by federal stimulus funds, is ramping up electronic recordkeeping as a way to cut costs and time on low-level, repetitive tasks, reduce mistakes and increase customer service.
5. From Big to Small
For years, people in the know have been saying that small business is the true engine of prosperity. In fact, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Foundation, women entrepreneurs hire more employees than the Fortune 500 worldwide.
While recessions mean wholesale layoffs at larger companies, a down economy is the catalyst for lots of new business ventures. Corporate veterans who want to work for themselves, retirees who are ready for a new challenge and Gen X and Y who expect to fast-track their careers often choose to buy a franchise or start their own companies.
Savvy entrepreneurs know that down times are the best for improving staff expertise, processes and equipment. When no one else is buying, these assets are easier to find and typically less expensive than during a boom. And once in place, they help to jump-start business in a recovering economy.
There are many other trends that offer ground-floor and continuing opportunities for workers who are aware of what their options are and how to pursue them. If your industry or profession has few jobs available or no longer interests you, expand your possibilities. Someone has to fill these new jobs. Why not you?
Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979, which works with individual and corporate clients in career change; job search; executive, small business and life coaching; college major selection and talent management.
“One of the smartest minds in the career field,” according to Tony Lee (VP of CareerCast Operations at Adicio and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Online Vertical Network), Besson began writing for the Dallas Times Herald in the early 80s. Having read several of her columns, Lee asked her to contribute regular articles to the Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) as well. Since then, she has been a triple award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and Senior Columnist for CareerCast.com, as well as WorkingWoman.com and Oxygen.com. At Lee’s request, Besson authored five editions of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and three of its Premier Guide to Cover Letters. She has also written articles and/or been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money and Yahoo among others.
Taunee has worked on community nonprofit boards and committees for over 30 years including Girls Inc., Women’s Center of Dallas, Girl Scouts and Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Volunteers of America and Mortarboard, among others. She was a member of the Leadership Dallas in 1987 and Leadership America in 2003.
In 1994, the Dallas Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development chose her as its “Professional of the Year”. Her NBEW columns were selected for the “Ten Best Article Award” in 1990, 1994 and 1997. In 1999, Alpha Gamma Delta, a 200,000 member fraternal organization, named her as one of three “Distinguished Citizens” at its biannual international convention.