Part 1 – Where the Jobs Are – How to Take Advantage of Current Trends

This is the first in a multi-part series about jobs that are available today as we transition to a greener lifestyle. We’ll start the series with a brief discussion of overall job trends and then look at opportunities to start a green business or get a green job.

As I listen to the pundits talk about the rising unemployment rate, I figure some of us might need to “reinvent” ourselves in this new green economy. As I’ve said many times, we’re in a transition phase and many sectors of the economy may not be as robust and able to support as many workers as they might have in the past. Surely green businesses need PR people, accountants, administrative assistants etc. like any other business. The outlook is promising. There’s a lot more going on at the state level than we’re hearing about in the general media. In each article in the series, you’ll be able to access a directory of resources that will help you locate loans, grants, trade organizations and state agencies that can help you locate this emerging source of green jobs and new business opportunities for you daring entrepreneurs out there.

The Job Outlook from Now to 2016

As of November, the Department of Labor (DOL) reported the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.7%. The DOL’s, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reviews employment trends as they emerge due to declining industries, new growth and attrition created by retirees. BLS refers to this attrition or ‘Net Replacement’ trends meaning those job openings generated due to the necessity of replacing workers who permanently leave an occupation. In states with double-digit unemployment, the combination of declining manufacturing sector and large numbers of baby boomers about to retire, present opportunities for the unemployed to transfer their existing skills into new energy industries.

Population Trends & Their Impact on Where Jobs Are Going

In their report, “Employment: 2006 – 2016: Occupational Employment Projections to 2016”, BLS Economists Ann Dohm and Lynn Shniper report that the segment of our population 55 years or older will increase by 2.7% annually between now and 2016, reaching 87 million by 2016. Compare that growth to the segment 16 years or older which will experience an estimated annual growth rate of 0.9%, growing from 229 to 251 million by 2016. Despite the difference in the total number of people in each population group, those 55 years or older are expected to be the fastest growing segment of the population between now and 2016. These two trends identify educational and job training opportunities and where to find new jobs needed to replace retired workers who have left the work force. In this article, we’ll talk about the top 3 fastest growing job categories.

Industry Trends

BLS estimates that manufacturing and production jobs in general will decline over the next decade, a loss of roughly 500,000 jobs. Besides the obvious economic conditions, the decline is due in part to technology improvements and imports produced at reduced labor costs. Other industry sectors expected to decline are farming, fishing and forestry, a loss of 29,000 jobs. The fastest growing industry sectors are health care and social services, professional occupations such as business management, financial services, and scientific and technical services. 493,000 new jobs will be created in these industries including:

Fastest Growing Occupational Groups – (BLS 10 Major Occupational Groups)

Overview of Fastest Jobs Occupational Group Code Percent Growth

Service Occupations 31,33,35,37,39 – 16.7%
Professional & Related 15,17,19,21,23,24,25,27,29 – 16.7%
Management, Business & Financial Occupations – All Industries 11,12,13 – 10.4%
Construction & Extraction 47 – 9.5%
Installation, Maintenance & Repair 49 – 9.3%
Sales & Related Occupations 41 – 7.6%
Office & Administrative Support 43 – 7.2%
Transportation & Material Moving 53 – 4.5%

Declining Occupational Groups

Production Occupations 51 – -4.9%
Farming, Fishing, & Forestry 45 – -2.8%

Service Occupations include those jobs that make people’s jobs easier, safer and more pleasurable. Also as the population ages, there will be more of a demand to help the elderly stay in their homes or residential housing. Dohm and Shniper estimate that 4.8 million jobs will be created in the Service sector between now and 2016. My concern is that though some of the jobs in the Service Occupation category, like Home Health Aids are important and are in high demand they pay very little. Keep in mind that the occupational table above includes “job families” so there are many different occupations included within family. For example, a portion of the jobs listed in the Service occupations category include:

31-1011.00 Home Health Aides
31-1012.00 Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants
31-1013.00 Psychiatric Aides
31-2011.00 Occupational Therapist Assistants
31-2012.00 Occupational Therapist Aides
31-2021.00 Physical Therapist Assistants
31-2022.00 Physical Therapist Aides
31-9011.00 Massage Therapists
31-9091.00 Dental Assistants
31-9092.00 Medical Assistants
31-9093.00 Medical Equipment Preparers
31-9094.00 Medical Transcriptionists
31-9095.00 Pharmacy Aides
31-9096.00 Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers
31-9099.99 Healthcare Support Workers, All Other

The list above comes from a great DOL tool paid for by your tax dollars called ‘ONET, Occupational Information Network’. It’s a huge database of job information that includes the demand for a given occupation, salary information, education, and skills requirements. Use the occupational group codes in the table above to do an ‘Occupation Quick Search’ and press GO. You’ll get a listing of occupations within that job family or category. You can also do an ‘Occupation Quick Search’ using the full occupational code – for example, enter 31-9099 and you’ll see information in the ‘Healthcare Support Works, All other’ category. Other searches include “Find Occupation” and “Skills Search”. It really is a ‘one-stop-shop’ because this federal job site links to your state’s job center where you can find jobs in that category according to zip code. Median salary and educational requirements for the job are listed for each occupational job entry – very cool! This is a great tool not only for job-seekers, but also for Human Resources professionals or business owners who need to write position descriptions for employees.

Professional & Related Occupations

The second fastest category of jobs is Professional & Related Occupations.

Fastest Growing Occupational Groups – (BLS 10 Major Occupational Groups)
Professional & Related Occupations Occupational Group Code Percent Growth
Computer & Mathematical Science 15 – 24.8%
Community & Social Services 21 – 22.7%
Health care practitioners 29 – 19.8%
Life, Physical & Social Science 19 – 14.4%
Education, training and library 25 – 14%
Legal 23 – 11.8%
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media 27 – 11.4%
Architecture & Engineering 17 – 10.3%

Health Care

According to the BLS, 5 million jobs will be created in the Professional & Related Occupations category. The need for health care and social services in the 55 years-and-older group will create a demand for 1.7 million jobs in the health care and social services job groups. Another 1.1 million will be created in public and private education and 1 million in professional, scientific and technical services. Not surprisingly, in the health care sector, there is still a strong need for Registered Nurses, which the BLS estimates will add 587,800 new jobs. Technology advances in the medical field will create a need for workers trained in new medical procedures. Another interesting trend in the health care industry is toward having technicians perform more of the routine procedures formerly performed by licensed practitioners under supervision. The growth of Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants is expected to exceed growth of physicians and surgeons.

Education, Arts, Architecture, Sciences, Law

There will continue to be a need for primary, secondary and special education teachers. The need for postsecondary teachers is expected to grow quickly as the population of 18 to 24 years increases and a greater proportion of high school graduates go to college and as more adults attend college for courses in professional development related to their jobs. Computer and Mathematical science jobs will continue to grow adding 822,000 jobs as businesses continue to adopt and refine existing technologies. In the Community and Social Services category, there will still be a need to service the disabled, substance abusers and those in crisis situations. Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media are estimated to add 305,000 jobs and 1 of 5 of those jobs will held in the form of self-employment. Writers, authors, photographers, multi-media animators and artist will be offered work as self-employed workers as more companies purchase services rather hire employees to do the work. Architecture and engineering occupations will experience a similar growth trend due to companies contracting out work. Life, physical, and social scientists are projected to add 203,000 jobs. Many of these jobs will be created in private sector firms that do medical and scientific research. Life Sciences workers will also be needed in the growing ‘green industries’ as the nation focuses more attention on the environment in the coming years. Within the legal professions, BLS projects an increase of 145,000 jobs. Of those, 84,000 of those jobs will be held by lawyers and 53,000 will go to paralegals and legal assistants. There will be a demand for services in the areas of corporate, intellectual property, energy, elder, antitrust and environmental law. Most of the new legal jobs are expected to be in state and local government.

Management, Business & Financial

The Management, business and financial occupational group contains the most variety of jobs across business industries. Jobs within this category are projected to grow by 1.6 million. Roughly 493,000 jobs management, scientific and technical consulting; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. The finance and insurance sector is expected to add 297,000 new jobs.

I’d like to mention two job categories that weren’t listed in the fastest growing group but which will be important in new environmental industries. Based upon my research, in addition to highly technical jobs in the life sciences category, many green jobs will be created in the Transportation & Moving and the Installation, Maintenance and Repair groups. There will be a need for truck drivers that have Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) to transport recycled materials to landfills and within the manufacturing industry for reuse and workers with general mechanical skills to repair and maintain new environmental machinery. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Business Management and financial services fields might also provide transferable skills into new green businesses.

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