We all know this is a tough economy for anyone looking for work. But did you know that jobs this year are being created at a rate of 3,000 per day?
One hot occupation is rodeo clown — no joke. It’s one of the many jobs profiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its quarterly Occupational Outlook.
For those who have left the rodeo behind, we came up with a list of seven hot jobs for experienced hands, and two that are just starting to sizzle. These are mid-to-upper level positions we heard about from hiring managers, academics, economists and recruiters who gave us ideas on emerging jobs and how to find them.
One point worth remaking: Do not rely on online postings. “Once they are posted, it’s too late,” said Joel Sarfati, executive director of the non-profit jobs advisory group 40Plus of Greater Washington. “Two hundred people are probably going to apply ahead of you.” If you network with people you have worked with over the years, you might know about the job before it’s advertised.
Here are seven jobs being filled now where experience counts:
1. Cloud-data Market Research Analyst
“Just put ‘cloud’ into your title if you want to get hired,” cracked one of the tech geeks on the online tech hangout Slashdot. It’s not quite that easy. But there is plenty of room on that cloud for skilled market research analysts. “There is a huge amount of customer data being generated online that’s created a growing cottage industry in analyzing that data,” said Chris Tilly, a University of California Los Angeles professor and jobs expert.
2. Financial Planner
Financial service companies want savvy, relationship-building people over 40, especially women. As young MBAs find less promise in the downsized industry, the firms are taking their hiring to where the money is: Boomers have the cash – holding much of the $18 trillion in retirement accounts. Three million people – a population as big as Chicago’s – will hit 65 each year for the next two decades. That’s a lot of financial planning need, and firms are finding that customers trust people they identify with. Compared with other high-paying professions, licensing and training are manageable. A certified financial planning degree is enough to get started, and it can be done entirely online in a few months. Depending on the kind of firm and position, you might also need specific Securities and Exchange Commission licensing. Investment advisories often train people for the examinations. And once you are started, firms usually offer ongoing support and guidance to help you advise clients on specific investment strategies. What you must have is people skills and the ability to build trusting relationships.
3. Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners
Hiring is growing at 20 percent-plus a year for both of these health care specialists, who seem able to do just about everything but open-heart surgery. These jobs often pay healthy $100,000-plus salaries for people who want a second career in medicine – and training is about half as expensive and time-consuming as getting a full-fledged medical degree. It can take even less time if you are already in nursing or another skilled health position.
4. Insurance Rollover Specialist
Insurance is a rare hot pocket in financial services, because it offers tax advantages and a perception of safety compared to securities investments. There is a growing industry in “rollovers,” which is a way for people to convert whole life insurance to plans that cover disability, long-term care or annuities. Life insurance traditionally has been used to take care of a widowed spouse. That’s less essential in the era of two-income couples. But with medical costs rising and people living longer, there is growing need to manage health care and supplementary income for a long life, and insurance advisers who can manage rollovers are in demand. Insurance companies often offer training and help on licensing for new hires with aptitude.
5. Aging Services Administrators
You know already that if you have an elderly parent, it practically takes an advanced degree to figure out their benefits and care. Now scores of universities are starting degree programs for administrators that are part MBA, part social science. UCLA’s Tilly says the degree shows demand is strong and will get stronger. “Schools are good at reading these trends.” This one has all the right demographics going for it.
6. Social Media Directors for Non-profits
This hiring trend is hardly a surprise in the Facebook era – but it’s the non-profits that are creating innovation as the corporate world tiptoes its way. Consumer brand managers are still looking for how best to manage their product message in the freewheeling medium where customers can talk back. By comparison, social media is taking non-profits by storm. Membership organizations see the value of regular interaction with funders, clients, other non-profits, and content contributors in a web of do-gooders.
7. Agency or Trade Group Administrator
It’s a good time for people who have strong skills in the private world but want to do something more meaningful. It’s exactly what many non-profits and government want — professional managers who can bring new efficiency so scarcer funds have more impact. 40-Plus of Greater Washington, which has been in the re-training of workers for 60 years, finds non-profits and government agencies keen to hire workers with strong management skills in product management, technology, communication and finance who can boost non-profit efficiency.
Two Jobs Blipping Now on the ‘Futurescope’
The hiring signs are already going up for the hot jobs we listed so far. Here are jobs that are not ready for prime time but are virtually certain to emerge based on business and demographic trends. In these jobs, you might have to write your own job description – and that’s a good way to be first in line when jobs emerge.
Mobile Marketing”‘Road Warriors”
Brand managers have long used marketing “foot people” to troll store aisles to gather intel on product placement and offer display advice to stores. Smart phones will be like steroids for these shoe-leather grunts of the marketing world. With GPS-scanning mobile devices, they can read a store’s inventory down to the SKU in seconds, plug into the cloud and perform highly granular GPS-assisted local data sorts. They can use it to do sophisticated analysis by pulling information from the cloud. Back at headquarters, the suits might wish they could be out in the store aisles roaring with the Big Data lions.
Home Office Managers
Tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. There is rising demand for professional services ranging from bookkeeping to arranging work assignments, as well as training, finance, and technology. “We are just starting to see these kind of specialists emerge, and there is a definite need for them,” Sarfati says. Message to entrepreneurs: Isolated workers need coaching and help connecting to tech solutions. They miss the tech guys from down the hall!
Bottom Line: It’s Like Nothing You Can Describe
Don’t be surprised if you end up considering jobs you could not have described when you started your career. Students I taught in a graduate course in New Media at University of California Berkeley a decade ago are in jobs that would have been unthinkable back then. One is a filmmaker and multimedia creative director at a fashion company. Another manages updates to a section of his company’s Web portal and jokes that he does not know what his company produces. “Something virtual, in marketing.”
None, to my knowledge, took a bum steer and became rodeo clowns.
Richard Satran has been a senior editor and writer for Reuters, Wired, Fidelity.com and CNBC, covering technology, personal finance, workplace, economics, politics and other topics as a journalist in New York, San Francisco and London. You can reach him at RichardSatran@gmail.com. Twitter @RichardSatran.