Two huge factors that threaten job security are outsourcing and automation — jobs are either sent overseas or replaced with computerized or robotic systems. In a world where whole fields are being made redundant, positions that aren’t easily automated or outsourced can provide job security for both the short and long term. We asked Alison Doyle, job search expert for About.com, to help us brainstorm just a few examples.
“As the US population ages, there is an increasing demand for healthcare workers,” Alison says.
“Increasing demand” is putting it mildly. There will be 3.2 million new positions for healthcare workers by 2018, according to Monster.com. Best of all, since healthcare workers have to serve patients in person and with a human touch, they are among the least likely to be replaced by automation.
Of course, some healthcare positions require advanced degrees. More school means more student loans. But these jobs have high projected growth rates and decent salaries, so at least you know you’ll be able to pay the loans back:
- Registered nurse: $65,470 per year
- Healthcare administrator: $88,580 per year
- Physical therapist: $79,860 per year
Not in the mood to go back to school? No worries. You can get these healthcare jobs without an advanced degree (although you may need to get a certificate or on-the-job training of some sort):
- Home Health Aide: $20,820 per year
- Medical Assistant: $29,370 per year
- Dental assistant: $34,500 per year
- Pharmacy technician: $29,320 per year
Companies can outsource a lot of stuff overseas. But one thing they’ll never be able to outsource is hauling goods from one spot to another.
“There’s currently a shortage of truck drivers,” Alison says.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2022, companies will need to hire 192,600 more truck drivers.
The pay is better than you might think — in 2012, truck drivers on average earned $38,200 per year.
You will need to get certification before you’re hired, which costs between $3,000–$7,000 and can be completed in as little as three months. You can usually get a student loan to cover tuition.
Since you’re reading this site, you’re probably interested in money and math. Ever thought of making a career out of it?
Financial analysts study stocks and bonds, market trends, and the performance (or projected performance) of companies. They make recommendations to buy or sell based on careful research, construction of computer models and, at times, gut instinct.
The best thing about the financial analyst career path is that you can get started with only a bachelor’s degree, and the median employee was earning $78,380 per year in 2012.
Unlike accountants, whose profession has a high likelihood of being replaced by automated systems, financial analysts create automated tools and then interpret the results using human creativity to solve complex problems. As computers continue to take over our financial systems, the analysts will be sitting behind these computers making them run.
Related: What your parents don’t understand: 3 ways the working world has changed for millennials
But remember, no job is completely safe
Nothing is guaranteed, and your ability to adapt to an ever-changing job landscape is your most valuable asset. “Continually upgrade your skills” Alison suggests. “Jobs change over time, so be sure that your skill set keeps pace.”
Always keep an eye out for new trends in automation and outsourcing. If you start to feel concerned that your current job could be easily replaced, start solidifying other skills that can’t be performed by a robot or a person 5,000 miles away.
Even within your current field, there may always be opportunities to shift into a more secure position. For example, travel agents are no longer needed to book tickets or compare hotel prices, but those remaining in the field are pulling in record revenues by helping business travelers make good choices and feel safe on the road.
While repetitive tasks are easy to replace, the ability to build relationships, interact with people, design creative solutions, and negotiate will almost always need to be done by a real person.
Salaries are 2012 median pay as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I also wanted to add hairdresser to this list, because we all (except for the bald people in our lives) need a trim from time to time. What other careers do you consider “safe bets?”