U.S. Employment Trends Favor People-Oriented Occupations

In the United States between 2010 and 2010, the need for new workers is highly weighed toward those who could use a highly-human touch for best results. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has identified the 30 occupations with the largest projected employment growth between 2010 and 2020. More than half of them involve working closely with or for other people as opposed to focusing on things or systems.

For example, BLS estimates we'll need --

  • 711,900 more registered nurses;
  • 706,800 more retail sales people;
  • 706,300 more home health aides;
  • 607,000 more personal care aides; and
  • 338,400 more customer service representatives. 

We'll need lots of new "thing"-oriented workers too, but far fewer than in people-intensive jobs. For example, we'll need --

  • 330,000 more heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers;
  • 319,100 more laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; and 
  • 259,000 more bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. 

Highly-technical jobs do not make it into the BLS top 30. In computer programming, for example, only 43,700 more jobs are expected, an increase of 12 percent, about average among all occupations. And those jobs may be problematic. "Since computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world," warns a BLS outlook report, "companies often hire programmers in countries that have lower wages." 

OPPORTUNITY: Employers and workers in people-intensive industries may excel by elevating the professionalism of their occupations. The seven hard-to-automate skills -- detailed in Highly-Human Jobs -- may be developed to high levels, yielding increased client satisfaction and tangible benefits warranting higher pay. If mundane parts of the work are simultaneously transferred to technology, value and compensation might be enhanced even more.


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