As another tough year winds down, some parts of the economy are showing signs of life. So where are the jobs hiding? We asked two career experts–Brendan Courtney, president of the national recruiting firm The Mergis Group, and career coach Robin Ryan, the author of “60 Seconds and You’re Hired!”–to pinpoint this season’s best sectors and the most in-demand (and well-paid) jobs.
(All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median hourly salaries for full-time workers with five to eight years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions, or profit sharing.)
Registered nurses ($61,300) are always in demand, particularly for emergency rooms and other hospital settings. In addition, new federal medical-billing requirements have created a growing need for anyone with experience in health care information technology, such as information-technology specialists ($50,547), medical-billing clerks ($33,036), and medical-billing managers ($42,759), says Courtney.
“Accounting professionals within health care are being highly sought after to do federal-compliance health care IT,” he says.
Ryan notes that our aging population means (recession or no) that demand for physical therapists ($67,575), occupational therapists ($65,214), and physician assistants ($89,375) has continued to grow.
(For more hot health care jobs, see “Easiest Health Care Jobs to Break Into.”)
If you think the federal government hires only low-paid workers or only people in Washington, D.C., think again on both counts, says Ryan. There are branch offices of many agencies across the country, and few workers consider federal jobs, so getting hired can be easier here than applying in the private sector.
“People think there’s a civil-service test,” she says, “but that’s long gone.”
Due to a wave of baby boomer retirements, coupled with the change of administration, the government is hiring 10,000 people a month, according to Ryan–a level unseen since the 1960s. They’re hiring professional-level people, too; she says that nearly half of federal hires in the past several months have been for jobs paying more than $100,000.
Among the roles Ryan sees in demand: project managers ($60,687), senior civil engineers ($79,725), plumbers ($42,577), and electricians ($45,524).
(Hyo’s Note – Read here for my thoughts on how to get a job in the federal government)
The government is a major employer of health care workers, too. As troops return from overseas deployments, the need for medical help is, sadly, rising. Ryan says small health clinics located near military bases, as well as big military hospitals, need staff.
From the federal financial bailout of big banks to recent banking reforms, changes in federal oversight of the financial-services sector have created a need for accountants ($47,712) with experience in regulatory compliance, says Courtney.
In addition, big banks are beginning to rebuild their staffs after the mass layoffs of 2008, Courtney says. Loan processors ($33,613), loan underwriters ($52,869), and mortgage brokers ($64,732) are all in demand, he says. Not all the jobs are at the banks themselves, either–third-party loan-servicing companies also offer opportunities.
Orders are starting to pick up for some light-manufacturing companies, says Ryan. For instance, she says, “Microsoft has 4,000 job openings” for software engineers ($52,869), customer-service representatives ($31,589), and more.
The past couple of months have seen rising retail sales, the U.S. Commerce Department reports, and Ryan says companies are starting to hire sales help again. While much of the current hiring may be seasonal for the holidays, retailers will be trolling the holiday-help ranks for sales representatives ($43,914) and sales managers ($61,734) they want to keep.
Most in demand, Ryan says, is anyone who can work a daytime shift–perfect for many people who are currently out of work. Stay-at-home moms looking to re-enter the workforce are also having some luck lining up 9-to-3 shifts.
“I personally know three people who’ve done that recently,” she says.