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2008 Crystal Ball- Where The Jobs Are

December 21st, 2007 · 3 Comments

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It’s the end of the year, so the prognostications about the 2008 job market are beginning. For the first time since 2003, I have to begin the year with a pessimistic outlook.

Let’s face it, we’re going to be damned lucky if we avoid a recession next year. And just plain lucky if we avoid a serious recession.

Marketwatch has their outlook broken down into two separate articles. Some of this I agree with, and some I don’t.

Basically, the first Marketwatch story is the same story we’ve been hearing for years now. Where’s the job growth? According to them:

  • Retail! Wheeeeeee! What I dream of is an economy where one day we all stand behind cash registers and charge each other for things back and forth in an endless loop all whilst earning a $9 an hour (if we’re lucky!) without anything fancy like health benefits or vacation time.
  • Healthcare! Until the last of those pesky baby boomers kick the bucket, there’s a growth industry in keeping them going. Or at least, so they’ve been saying for more than ten years now. Funny thing… the cost of health care keeps going up, but the growth in healthcare positions never quite keeps pace.
  • Lawyers. You know the saying, “Like the cockroaches…” only these are the worst kind: bankruptcy cockroaches!

What’s my own personal take on the job market? Based on what I’ve seen anecdotally this year at, and based on our sales data from the second half of this year, I think the growth industries are as follows:

  • Retail and Healthcare. Yeah, they got that right.
  • IT and Computers/Network/Internet. We’re almost 6 years removed now from the dot com bust/holocaust. Cyclically, IT is in it’s strongest phase. The industry has recovered, no one has stopped using computers, and new technologies like social networking, video over IP and the transition to the wireless internet means that knowing code can still get you a job pretty much anywhere.
  • Science/Environmental. More specifically, anything related to the research of new environmental technologies. A flood of VC money is going into things like new fuel sources and greener technologies. If you have the skills in science, research, engineering or product development, this is very much a growth field.
  • Education. Especially if there is a Democratic administration elected at the end of next year.
  • Urban planning/infrastructure construction. For the same reason as education above. But also because I think this is another one of those cyclical things. I think 2007 was the year a lot of states and cities woke up and realized that critical infrastructure has been neglected for too long. Lots of projects worth billions of dollars are making their way through legislatures around the country.
  • Benefits administration. Boring, but true.

Related posts:

  1. Jobs Report Out Soon.

Tags: Career Change · Getting Ahead · Job Search · Jobs

  • Mike

    At least as far as the IT comments I could not disagree more. It’s true that I’m in a bad section of the country for it, but all I ever hear are paycuts and moving-out stories. Globalization and outsourcing are ruining IT. I don’t know a single person that I would recommend this line of work to right now. That said, I still don’t intend to leave the business if I have a choice, but I’ll be surprised if I don’t at least have to leave this city, come next year. Colorado’s a poor tech state, to be sure; but the Denver market still exists at least.

  • Brian

    I certainly concur that outsourcing has had a big impact on IT workers, especially freelancers and consultants. Still, the first couple of years of ResumeWriters coincided with the very depths of the dot com bust. In some years, desperate IT people made up 30% or more of our clientele. We’re not seeing anywhere near those numbers right now. In fact, quite the opposite.

    Just reporting what we’ve been seeing.

  • Mike

    Simple. That’s because, since the .com bust, IT-geeks have been leaving the business in droves. Fewer clients doesn’t mean more IT jobs, just means people are taking other jobs where they can. Gotz to pay the bills!