by John Woods
ten growth occupations in Michigan 1998 Ė 2008*
1. Computer engineers
2. Systems analysts
3. Computer support specialists
4. Computer scientists
5. Desktop publishing specialists
6. Database administrators
7. Laborers, landscaping,
8. Paralegals/legal assistants
9. Hand packers and packagers
10. Respiratory therapists
*Michigan Department of
Whether theyíre using
a crystal ball or complex statistical analysis, those who make a
living predicting shifts and trends in the job market are in agreement:
Over the next ten years, the job market will demand a well-trained,
flexible and computer literate work force.
Reports by both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Michigan
Department of Career Developmentís Office of Labor Marketing Information
list computer related jobs, such as engineers, systems analysts
and support specialists among the top ten fastest growing occupations.
Personal home health care aides and medical assistants round out
the federal governmentís list of top ten fastest growth jobs.
Will you be in the
right career in 2010?
Over the next ten years, the job market will demand
a well-trained, flexible and computer literate work force
Fastest growing U.S.
occupations 2000 Ė 2010* (increases within an occupation)
1. Computer software engineers,
2. Computer support specialists
3. Computer software engineers,
4. Network and computer systems
5. Network systems and data
6. Desktop publishers
7. Database administrators
8. Personal and home care
9. Computer systems analysts
10. Medical assistants
*U.S. Department of Labor,
of Labor Statistics
"Whether youíre a programmer or not, you had better be proficient
using a computer," says Don Grimes, senior research associate at
the University of Michiganís Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations.
"Even people who drive trucks will have to use a computer for inventory
Both the state and federal reports predict an overall 10 percent
increase in employment in Michigan over the next ten years, which
represents some 479,000 jobs in the state.
Although the occupations identified as having the most growth potential
are largely computer-related, those occupations with the highest
number of actual openings will require a variety of skill levels
including on-the-job training.
According to the Michigan Occupational Outlook Report, the current
economic slowdown, "is expected to turn around in mid-2002, and
the long range outlook reflects employment growth," according to
Brenda Njiwaji, director of the Office of Labor Market Information
for the Michigan Department of Career Development.
U.S. occupations with the largest job growth* (increases as a percentage
of total work force)
1. Combined food preparation,
serving workers, including fast food
2. Customer service representatives
3. Registered nurses
4. Retail salespersons
5. Computer support specialists
7. Office clerks
8. Security guards
9. Computer software engineers,
*U.S. Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The report also indicates that professional, technical and sales
jobs will grow fastest and, 20 percent of these will require an
associateís degree. According to the Occupational Outlook Report,
over 34,000 of the 479,000 new jobs in the state will require some
type of post-secondary training. "The technical industries are taking
on more employment," Njiwaji says. "That seems to be the emerging
sector of the economy."
"The industries expected to have the largest actual number of jobs
often tend to have the largest turnover, such as food service where
you have a younger work force," says Chester Levine, manager of
Occupational Outlook Studies for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"All the fastest growth jobs categories are not necessarily offering
the most jobs," says Njiwaji. "For example, you may have a (large)
category that has a lower growth rate, but is generating more actual
The report also identified occupations that could be in short supply
over the next ten years. Those include teaching, health care, management
and information technology. In southeast Michigan construction trades,
engineering and law enforcement will be in big demand. "These areas
are critical because it takes a long period of time to train people,"
Health care for an aging population, particularly in nursing, will
be a growth area in the coming decade, says Jim Locke, associate
director of Career Services Center at Eastern Michigan University.
"People are still going to get sick, and you are going to need teachers
as well, even if there is a slow market," says Locke. However, with
an aging baby boom
population, health care providers will continue to be in demand.
"Itís inevitable that as we are getting older, services for the
elderly will increase and we will need more people who understand
geriatrics, health care and social services," says Grimes.
Predicting occupational market trends is not as easy as people would
assume, says Grimes. "Itís actually easier to pick the ones that
will decline; they tend to pop up pretty cleanly."
Although itís hard to envision what type of technology we will be
surrounded by in ten years, Grimes says itís easy to see how job
markets have been influenced by the
"There will be fewer secretarial jobs, because senior managers are
doing computer work on their own," says Grimes. "They used to have
huge typing pools to take dictation; all that is gone."
And with the advent of the Internet, Grimes says travel agents are
finding less work as people are now going online to book their own
While positioning oneís self to take full advantage
of the emerging market is important from a financial perspective,
EMUís Locke also offers some tried and true advice for job seekers.
"Some jobs are hot, some are not, but donít just go
to what makes the most money. Go to the jobs that youíre interested
in and love doing. Figure out what that is first." occupations that
could be in short supply over the next ten yearsÖ teaching, health
care, management and information technology "Itís inevitable that
as we are getting older, services for the elderly will increase
and we will need more people who understand geriatrics, health care
and social services..."