This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 7, 2004

Where the Jobs Are (Or Will Be)

One of the major problems faced by employers in the United States and in other countries is a shortage of skilled workers. Employers are struggling to find thousands of qualified Heating and Air Conditioning engineers, specialized computer programmers, imaging technicians, pharmacists, hotel clerks, and even housekeepers These jobs exist now, not just in some future scenario. Some of the vacant positions seem somewhat exotic, but many of them are jobs that should not be that difficult to fill.

Part of the disconnect is that employers are more "picky." They want workers with skills, but more importantly, recruiters are looking carefully for applicants with good attitudes who will be compatible with the employer's culture. Increasingly, employers are screening candidates for personality style, honesty, creativity, and willingness to work on a team. While some may argue that all these filters limit opportunities for people to be hired, those companies also boast higher employee retention and productivity and consequently, better returns on investment. The downside is that the process may slow hiring rates. Thousands of jobs are available---for the right candidates.

Students and workers seeking career changes are searching for the high-growth industries. Some, like healthcare, education, computer sciences, childcare, personal services, and financial services are not surprising. As members of the World War II and Baby Boomer generations age, the need for healthcare workers will escalate. The industry is already having trouble filling current vacancies. Education is facing similar challenges. Financial Services will expand, as these same generations grapple with how to conserve and grow their monetary resources.

Future opportunities lie in biotechnology, geospatial technology, and other sciences. We are just beginning to understand the full potential of these industries and they offer exciting job prospects to those who have the "right" skills and background.

Other identified high-growth industries (Information Technology, Automotive Service, Retail, Advanced Manufacturing, Construction, Transportation, Hospitality, and Energy) have all been around for a while, the new designs of these organizations will give rise to new positions and more job opportunities. Observations from economic forecasters suggest that energy and anything related to the biological sciences hold great promise.

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