Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tomorrow's Growth Jobs

Not that I'll be looking for a new career in the year 2016 - at least I hope not - but I did enjoy looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast of the fastest growing jobsmanipedi. This was written up in a recent boston.com Picture Gallery - one of their annoying little things where you have to click through a bunch of pictures to get the whole story. Me, I really didn't care to click through and see everything - I pretty much got the picture after I saw a charming shot illustrating "manicurist/pedicurist." And this one for "environmental science Enviro techand protection technicians". Gosh, will all the growth jobs of the near future involve slathering or spraying stuff on feet? I certainly hope not. (Maybe I should have looked through more of the pictures, but I'm not a particularly patient person when there's a lot of clicking through required.

In any case, I gave up on boston.com and went straight to the source at the BLS to check out what the growth jobs are, and how many more of them we're going to need.

Manicurist/pedicurist is projected to grow by 27.6% from 2006 - 2016, and, while I do like a good mani-pedi now and again, I have to wonder what's fueling this growth. And whether there will be enough Vietnamese women to fill all these slots. Or maybe another ethnic group will come along and pick up the slack, the way that the Brazilians are moving in on what used to be the Irish house-painting monopoly in Boston, and how the Koreans became the dry cleaners.

Environmental technicians will experience a similar growth rate, which is kind of good-news, bad-news: does this mean that there'll be more to worry about, environmentally speaking. More bad things that need to get sprayed off the bottoms of our pedicured feet?

Other growth jobs include physicians assistants and physical therapists, who will help cater to the aging boomers. (Thanks in advance, you guys!)

Physicians assistants are, I think, a great answer for routine medical calls. Just last weekend, after spending a Saturday in sore throat agony, I diagnosed myself as having strep and took myself over to the walk-in clinic at Mass General Hospital. Where I waited for 4 hours for an MD to tell me I had strep. Seems to me that a PA could have swabbed my throat and read the culture, no? (I have to say, I was somewhat gratified that it was a strep throat, as I would have felt like a fool if I'd hung around the germ-factory waiting room for 4 hours, only to find out I had a plain-vanilla viral sore throat.)

And while I'm not exactly looking forward to have to draw on the services of Physical Therapists with any regularity, I am now enjoying those services while I work to restore the usefulness of the arm I broke last fall.

The most curious job title on the BLS list is "gaming and sports book writers and runners", projected to grow from 18,000 to 24,000. What, precisely, is this job? Sports book writers I get, but if America is going to need 6,000 more of them, I just may consider a career shift. But "a gaming and sports runner"? Is this like a numbers runner? And by sports book writers, do they really mean those involved with sports gambling? I'll definitely have to research this profession. "Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators" is another profession on the move, what with the casino-as-panacea-to-all-economic-woes movement.

Next most curious growth area: forensic science technicians. Just why are we going to need 30.7% of these folks?

Many of the growth jobs are in the "allied health professions", in counseling services (apparently, we're going to be abusing more and more substances, and entering into worse marriages), and in health aides who will be needed to keep us aging Baby Boomers in our homes. We're also going to need more "allied veterinary health professionals". (Arf.)

Technology is another big growth area, networking specialists, software engineers, database administrators, computer analysts. And financial analysts will be in demand, as well.

Finally, while the absolute numbers are small, the BLS is predicting that demand for "makeup artists, theatrical and performance" will grow by 39.8%.

What, pray tell, is driving this job growth?

"I'm ready for my close up now, Mr. DeMille."

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