The Best Job Opportunities of the Future

With an unemployment rate still stuck above 8% and much talk about a mismatch between worker skills and the jobs available, many people are trying to scope out the fields that will have many job openings in the future. Many college graduates are struggling to find work and are saddled with student loan debt, prompting many colleges to shift resources to fields that are expected to be in high-demand in the future. Many who are currently unemployed or underemployed are seeking training in different fields where the jobs are considered “hot.”

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To find the jobs that will be in highest demand, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the occupations that will have the most job openings in this decade. The professions on this list are very diverse, consisting of both white-collar and blue-collar jobs. They also require a wide range of educational achievement. For instance, a glazier needs just a high-school diploma to break into the field, but a statistician requires a postgraduate college education. Similarly, the pay spectrum for jobs on this list is quite wide. The median pay for a pest control worker was just $30,340 in 2010. Meanwhile, the median pay for a natural science manager was $116,020.

24/7 Wall St. was primarily interested in looking at openings for occupations where people usually work full-time and without frequent turnover. Therefore, we decided to exclude occupations where the median pay in 2010 was less than $30,000, thus discounting many occupations that will see many job openings. Without this salary floor, most of the occupations on this list would be low-skilled, low-wage jobs, such as home health aides, personal care aides and food concession workers. In fact, only two jobs on this current list would have made the list if we didn’t impose the $30,000 minimum pay.

For some professions, considerable job growth between 2010 and 2020 is the main driver behind the job openings. While there were only 41,900 glaziers as of 2010, 17,700 positions will be added by 2020, accounting for more than half of the job openings during that time. In other professions, most of the job openings are simply the result of normal turnover cycle. While there will be 18,700 job openings for statisticians, only 3,500 jobs will be added to the 25,100 people already working in the profession, with the remaining openings meant to replace existing workers.

24/7 Wall St. looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on more than 1,000 different occupations. In addition to excluding jobs with median pay below $30,000, we also chose to exclude jobs employing fewer than 20,000 people as of 2010 in order to represent jobs that will clearly provide opportunity for many individuals in the future. From there, we ranked the professions based on the number of job openings projected between 2010 and 2020 as a percentage of the 2010 headcount in that specific field. We also calculated the number and percentage of those openings due to added positions as well as replacing current employees. Finally, we considered factors such as industry, median salary and credentials of these professionals to provide context on the types of jobs likely to see many openings.

These are the 10 best job opportunities of the future.