America’s Fastest-Growing Jobs

24-7 wall st

By Alexander Kent and Michael B. Sauter September 4, 2015 9:38 AM

Some occupations are better positioned to capitalize on economic, demographic, and workplace trends than others. From 2005 through 2014, for example, employment of service unit operators in natural resources industries grew by nearly 218%, the most of any occupation.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on occupational employment changes from 2005 through 2014, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 fastest growing jobs in the country.

Three of the fastest growing jobs are directly related to the country’s oil boom and rising oil prices.

Higher energy prices often lead to more exploration, both the search for new wells and the development of innovative ways to extract oil and gas from unconventional sources. Employment of natural resource service unit operators, petroleum engineers, and roustabouts, who repair oil rigs, all more than doubled over the 10 years ending in 2014.

Demographic changes, too, are responsible for the rapid increase in the number of workers in some fields. The population is expected to grow in the coming years, which means civil service and educational occupations will likely be in greater demand.

The population is also getting older. As the baby boom generation retires, the number of adults needing care and services is expected to roughly double over the next 40 years. This phenomenon has resulted in the growth of positions such as massage therapists and personal care aides.

Because the forces that caused the significant employment growth in these jobs over the past decade are expected to remain the same in the near future, demand for most of these jobs is projected to grow even more in the coming years.

Personal care aides, for example, were one of the fastest growing occupations over the past decade. The number of workers in this field is projected to grow by nearly 50% from 2012 through 2022, the fastest expected growth of any occupation in the country over that time. Of the 10 fastest growing positions over the past 10 years, seven are forecast to grow by 20% or more over the next decade.

To determine the fastest growing jobs, 24/7 Wall St. used Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2005 and 2014. Our rank is based on the percent change in employment over that period. We only considered occupations with at least 20,000 employees nationwide. Additionally, we did not include catch-all occupations such as Managers, All Other. Where two occupations were virtually identical, we only discussed one. Also from the OES, we looked at annual median salaries, and the percentage of people employed in each occupation that are self-employed. From the BLS’ Employment Projections division, we looked at education requirements, job training, and employment projections from 2012 through 2022 for each occupation.

These are America’s fastest growing jobs

  • 10) Residential Advisors
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 95,750
    Median annual pay: $24,340

The number of employed residential advisors increased by nearly 90% in the 10 years ending in 2014. Among other responsibilities, residential advisors organize activities in residential settings such as student dormitories, rehabilitation centers, and retirement homes. With demand for health services expected to increase, and as more baby boomers enter retirement, the number of employed residential advisors is expected to increase. BLS forecasts the number of residential advisor jobs to rise by more than 20% through 2022, nearly twice as fast as the average job growth across the country.

  • 9) Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 77,940
    Median annual pay: $46,490

Meeting, convention, and event planners are responsible for all aspects of preparing for an event — including location, food, and transportation. The BLS forecasts that employment in this field will increase by 33.2% from 2012 through 2022 because of increased globalization — as businesses shift focus internationally, they will require more meetings and conventions. Already, employment in the field has nearly doubled since 2005, the ninth highest projected growth among occupations.

  • 8) Roustabouts, Oil and Gas
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 73,450
    Median annual pay: $35,780

  • Machine maintenance — both repair and construction of new machines — is a major concern for U.S. energy companies looking to maintain profits. Roustabouts are an integral part of of any energy company that owns oil fields. From 2005 through 2014, the number of people employed as roustabouts in oil and gas increased by 118% to just over 73,000. A typical employee in the field earns $35,780, roughly equal to the median salary across all occupations.

    7) Personal Care Aides
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 1,257,000
    Median annual pay: $20,440

In the 10 years ending in 2014, the number of people employed as personal care aides rose by 121.7%, the seventh largest employment increase during that time. Employment prospects for people in this field are expected to improve even more dramatically in the future as the population ages and requires more hospice-like help. It is estimated that employment in this area will increase by nearly 50% by 2022, the highest growth forecast of any occupation over that period. Despite rapid job growth, annual salaries have yet to improve meaningfully. In 2014, a typical personal care aide earned $20,440, just 17.9% higher than in 2005, one of the lower increases among jobs reviewed.

  • 6) Petroleum Engineers
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 33,740
    Median annual pay: $130,050

Petroleum engineers are among the highest paid workers in the nation, earning a median income of $130,050 in 2014. Their work typically involves assessing and planning drilling operations, as well as determining the equipment and methods necessary to extract oil and natural gas in the most efficient way possible. While most entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree, every state requires employed petroleum engineers to have a license. Oil prices often play a major role in determining the demand for petroleum engineers — higher prices can offer more room for exploration and development in less hospitable places. The BLS forecast in 2012 that employment in this field would grow by 25.5% by 2022.

  • 5) Massage Therapists
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 87,670
    Median annual pay: $37,180

Massage therapists also benefited from the ageing population, with nationwide employment increasing 132.7% from 2005 to 2014. According to the BLS, the rising number of massage clinics has also helped support the field’s high employment growth. The median salary of an employed massage therapist was just over $37,000 in 2014, slightly higher than the median salary across the nation of $35,540. Additionally, 46% of massage therapists are self-employed, compared to roughly 6.5% across all occupations.

  • 4) Logisticians
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 125,670
    Median annual pay: $73,870

Logisticians ensure that a product’s supply chain flows smoothly from acquisition to distribution to delivery. In the 10 years ending in 2014, employment of logisticians increased by more than 140%, from 52,220 in 2005 to 125,670 in 2014. Typically requiring a bachelor’s degree, the median salary of workers in the field is nearly $74,000, double the median salary nationwide.

  • 3) Human Resources Specialists
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 456,170
    Median annual pay: $57,420

Over the 10 years ending in 2014, human resource specialist employment grew by 151.7% to 456,170, the third largest job growth over that period. The BLS, however, predicts that the number of human resources specialists will grow by less than 10% from 2012 through 2022 — one of just two occupations with an employment growth forecast of less than 10%. One reason for the low growth prospects may be new technologies that would allow companies to conduct the entire interview process online. Additionally, websites such as LinkedIn and CareerBuilder allow companies to post job openings and recruit new hires directly, mitigating the need for traditional recruiters.

  • 2) Music Directors and Composers
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 21,880
    Median annual pay: $48,180

More than half of all music directors and composers employed in the country work for elementary schools and high schools. In the 10 years ending in 2014, the number of workers employed as music directors and composers increased by 154% to 21,880, the second largest job growth rate. Salaries grew as well over the period. Workers in the field earned $48,180 in 2014, 37.4% more than they did in 2005. Unlike other jobs with large employment gains from 2005 through 2014, cuts to school budgets may hinder employment growth of music directors and composers in the future. The BLS forecasts just a 4.5% employment growth through 2022.

  • 1) Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining
    10-year job growth:
    Total employed: 62,080
    Median annual pay: $44,970

No occupation has grown faster than service unit operators working in natural resource extraction. The number of such workers jumped from 19,530 in 2005 to more than 62,000 in 2014, a 218% growth rate. Workers in these fields are typically responsible for operating and maintaining wells used to extract natural resources. In addition to explosive job growth, median salaries of workers in the field have increased by more than 46%, the highest salary growth in the country. The BLS forecasts employment will grow by 20.9% from 2012 through 2022, nearly double the growth rate of all jobs over that period

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