Hot spots for hiring: Top 5 industries for growth through 2018

Although the economy is finally starting to pick up, we still have a long way to go before hiring gets back to pre-"Great Recession" levels.  As a result, job hunting is still a challenge; however, knowing which industries are hiring and projected to grow can help ease the stress and potentially help you find a job more quickly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov, 2012), there are some industries slated to grow through 2018, making them somewhat safe bets during this road to recovery.

Top 5 industries for projected growth

#1 Information

The main components of the information sector are the publishing industries, the motion picture and sound industries, the broadcasting industries, the telecommunications industries, and web search portals and data processing industries.  While the sector as a whole is expected to add 118,100 new jobs—an increase of just 4 percent—by 2018, data processing, hosting and related industries are expected to grow 53 percent. Internet publishing and broadcasting should see rapid growth as it soaks up market share from traditional media, such as newspapers. Additionally, with organizations continuing to adopt cutting-edge software products, software publishing should grow by 30 percent.

Degrees needed

Degrees and training depend on the actual occupation you wish to pursue. Within Internet publishing, for example, employees tend to have a degree in English, communication or journalism. Some employers prefer employees with a liberal arts degree or specific subject knowledge, such as technical writing.

The software publishing industry also requires varying levels of education, depending on the occupation and employer’s need. Most computer software engineers, however, have a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science and software engineering or computer information systems.

#2 Professional, scientific and technical services

This industry consists of establishments and occupations with expertise in providing professional, scientific and technical activities for others, such as legal advice and representation; architectural, engineering and specialized design services; advertising services; computer services; and more. As a whole, the industry is projected to grow by 34 percent, the equivalent of adding 2.7 million new jobs, by 2018. Computer systems design and related services are expected to account for nearly one-fifth of all new jobs in the industry, a growth of 45 percent.

Factors contributing to industry growth include an increasing demand for design and integration of complex networks and Internet and intranet sites. Employment in management, scientific and technical consulting services is projected to grow an astonishing 83 percent, as businesses continue to need outside guidance on planning and implementation of new technologies and compliance with safety, environmental and employment regulations.

Degrees needed

Job seekers for this industry can pursue a degree in a variety of fields, including legal, accounting, engineering, management, advertising, and more, depending on the specific occupation.

#3 Administrative and support, and waste management and remediation services

Establishments that perform support activities for the daily operation of other organizations make up this industry. Activities often include office administration, hiring and placing of personnel, security and surveillance services, waste disposal services and more. Job seekers focused on this industry can expect to see growth of 18 percent by 2018, with the largest growth occurring in employment services, which is projected to account for 42 percent of all new jobs. In fact, employment services is ranked fifth among industries with the most new job opportunities in the Nation between 2008 and 2018.

Degrees needed

Most occupations within this industry require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may require a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

#4 Health care and social assistance

As the Baby Boomer generation ages and life expectancies increase, more health care services will be needed to keep the population healthy. As a result, this industry is projected to grow 24 percent, adding 4 million new jobs through 2018. Furthermore, approximately 26 percent of all new U.S. jobs will be within the health care and social assistance industry.  Growth, however, is dependent on the segment of the industry. For instance, public and private hospitals—the largest industry segment—are likely to see the slowest growth—10 percent. Home health care services, on the other hand, is projected to see 46 percent growth, as aging baby boomers turn to much-needed home care assistance.

Degrees needed

Because the health care and social assistance industry is so large, a variety of educational backgrounds can prepare workers for these occupations. While some positions require a certificate or associate degree and offer on-the-job training, others require a bachelor’s degree, such as social workers, health service managers and some registered nurses.  Higher-level occupations, such as physicians, surgeons and nurse practitioners must earn a an advanced degree, such as a medical degree or, in some cases, a master’s degree.

#5 Sustainability consulting

According to CareerBuilder, more and more companies are thinking about their impacts on the environment and increasing efforts to “go green.” Sustainability and environmental consultants are responsible for designing and implementing sustainability initiatives, from reducing a company’s use of materials to green building to energy efficiency.

Degrees needed

A bachelor’s degree in a science-related field or in architecture is often required by employers. However, a master’s degree in a related science field or an MBA can give you an edge over the competition.