We live in a high-tech, digital world in which quantitative, analytical abilities are highly sought after.

While unemployment rates have broadly declined since the depths of the Great Recession – though we have noted elsewhere this is somewhat overstated – market conditions for millennials looking for a job would appear to have improved.

Yet while the jobs may be coming back, as Pew Research Center noted in a 2015 report, more and more of us are living in our parents’ basements. Seriously. Pew puts it in terms that are a little more politically correct:

[T]he nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living independently of their families and establishing their own households today than they were in the depths of the Great Recession… In 2010, 69% of 18- to 34-year-olds lived independently. As of the first four months of this year, only 67% of Millennials were living independently. Over the same time period, the share of young adults living in their parents’ homes has increased from 24% to 26%.

Now, no offense to home-dwellers, but this is not ideally how anyone wants to be spending their days out of college, nor is it good for personal growth and development.

The fact that so many employed young adults are living at home indicates that people may be taking jobs in industries where their earnings potential is limited or it takes longer to advance. Especially if you are unable to obtain employment right out of school, you may be more likely to jump at the first job available as opposed to one that ideally matches your skills, interests and ambitions.

To avoid falling into this trap, it pays to look at what areas of the U.S. economy are growing, as well as what skills are most sought after.

Where the Jobs Flow Like Franzia

In order to figure out the areas of the U.S. economy ripest for jobs and/or anticipated growth in the years ahead, we did a deep dive into the depths of Google.

Here is a smattering of resources we pulled, not including job search engines, that had some helpful nuggets of interest:

The Crib Notes

We read these reports so you didn’t have to, and here are the major takeaways:

1.) Healthcare Dominates

Healthcare simply dominates in terms of demand for workers, be it physician assistants (who are taking on greater responsibilities in the doctor’s office but despite shorter stints in medical school than many of their peers), dental hygienists or dietitians and nutritionists.

 

Given the emphasis on health and wellness, the increasing amount of retired people who will require medical care and the spiraling costs of healthcare, those who can be innovators in this field or who can provide comparable services at a lower cost will be richly rewarded.

2.) STEM Remains Critical

Unsurprisingly, Young Invincibles’ “Best Jobs for Millennials Report” highlights a staggering number of positions that directly or indirectly require STEM skills, from engineering to financial analysis, and software development to being a technician. We live in a high-tech, digital world in which quantitative, analytical abilities are highly sought after, in part because we have more data and information than ever before.

Those who are able to adapt to a rapidly changing world in which automation replaces human beings will be best positioned to succeed going forward. Remember, machines may be able to do grunt work, but people need to develop them, program them, operate them, market them, sell them, troubleshoot and service them.

3.) A Good Salesman is Always Important

"Technologies may advance, and industries may rise and fall, but those who are good at selling and marketing products will always have a job."

Technologies may advance, and industries may rise and fall, but those who are good at selling and marketing products will always have a job. Leaving aside whether you are an entrepreneur or a middle manager, you constantly have to sell something, be it a good, service, a work product, a strategy or an idea for an investment.

Companies cannot exist if they do not have competent salespeople to spread the word and craft messages that appeal to a wide audience, whether through social media or straight-up cold calling. And developing the types of interpersonal skills necessary to be competent as an agent, business manager or market specialist – some of the jobs highlighted in the above studies — can serve as a hedge to any other weaknesses you may have.

In this case, the function, or general skillset, is more important than the specific knowledge or experience in an industry.

4.) There’s Money in the Beer Stand

Interestingly enough, your primary college expertise may come in handy. According to CareerOneStop’s analysis, jobs classified as comprising the “Beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers” space were expected to grow by 42 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Though a relatively small industry, given projected annual revenues of $560 million by 2019, the Cider production business was projected to be among the top five fastest growing industries in 2015 according to Inc. We can all raise a glass to that.

In our next piece, we will talk more broadly about how to prepare yourself to compete in this brave, new, volatile, globalized, digital-first world.

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Posted 01.28.2016 - 04:45 pm EDT
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