What a terrible dilemma our young people face: Complete a college education while being burdened with a student loan averaging about $30,000 (with some in the $50K range or more). While the labor market is strong, it’s also very selective. Some individuals must delay life events like getting married, starting a family, buying a house, or forced to take a job they don’t want but have to accept.
Here are some considerations that might be helpful:
- Select a major in college or a job where the opportunities are greatest in the future, not what they have been in years past. Jobs in some areas have shriveled dramatically, depressing opportunities and salaries as the supply/demand equation has dropped.
- If you’re currently in a job that has an oversupply of candidates and an equally smaller demand, find a field that is tangential to yours and take courses or certifications that will take you in a better direction (like athletic trainer to physical therapist).
- A small percent of companies (about 4% and growing) will help you pay off students’ loans for a commitment to stay with them for a period of years. What a great recruiting tool for the forward-thinking corporation.
- The younger workforce is more interested in getting out from under a cloud of debt than add to a retirement plan. They may need to catch up later, but short-term issues must be solved first.
- Here are some of the hot jobs and industries that can be converted into higher demand and paying jobs through additional education, courses or certifications:
- Healthcare: Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioner, Nurses, Certified Nurse’s Assistant, Medical Technician, Physical Therapist, Home Health Aide, Personal Care Assistant
- Technology: (without a college degree) Computer support specialist, Junior data analyst, Computer network specialist, Digital marketer, Cyber security analyst, Web developer
- Technology: (with a college degree) Computer programmer, Systems analyst, Network engineer, Aerospacetechnician, Cybersecurity analyst
- Other high demand jobs, by sector: Skilled trades (carpenter, plumber, electrician), business and administration, hospitality, solar and wind energy technician.
New graduates to mid-level workers need to look out 10 years to where the jobs of tomorrow will be, not what the jobs have been over the past 10 years. Progress and a change in the skills needed in tomorrow’s world are forming now. What a freshman in college today sees as the future may be a dead-end by the time graduation comes around. What are some of the jobs that are fading fast? My observation: Journalism, environmental sciences, jobs that can easily be automated (even professional jobs like retail pharmacists may be a thing of the past in 5 years), local delivery and warehousing businesses (ever hear of self-driving vehicles?).
New and mid-career employees need to be aware that artificial intelligence (automation) is claiming many jobs. Start moving your skills to a higher level where brain-power is more important; where computers and programs cannot replace you.
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