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Thinking of Making a Career Change?

August 29, 2013

making a career change

Have you been thinking of making a career change? The industry you choose has never been more important! Career change is never easy—It typically requires learning a whole new set of skills, new technology, and often a whole new vocabulary as part of your career building process.  Add to the mix the fairly high rates of unemployment we’ve been experiencing since the Great Recession began in 2008, and you’ll need a very smart and customized approach along with strong analytical skills to work in your favor through this new endeavor.

The pecking order for job / career changers used to be (1) job, (2) company, and (3) industry.  No more—That paradigm has been turned on its head, and the industry you choose now matters most in terms of the success of your intended career change. Luckily there’s a government website that’s designed specifically with you in mind, so don’t launch your career change campaign without studying this resource closely!

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook projects job growth (a) by the role/title you’re pursuing and (b) by industry from 2010 – 2020.  It’s the best resource available to help you identify the dominant and growth-oriented industries that will have the greatest demand for workers with your particular skill set over the next decade.  So if you’re interested in transitioning into a career as a data analyst, for example, the Handbook will show you where the greatest demand will be for data analysts by industry.  Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll find on the site . . .

First, you’ll find the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website at www.bls.gov.  Click on the “Publications” tab and select “Occupational Outlook Handbook.”

Next, find the list of “Occupational Groups” in the left margin that best corresponds to your area of interest. Choices include Business & Financial, Community & Social Service, Computer & Information Technology, Healthcare, Legal, Military, Education, and the like.

Fourth, select your field / occupation of interest.  For a data analyst role, head straight to the “Business and Financial” occupation list, and you’ll find the “Market Research Analyst” title.  Once there, you’ll initially see a summary that includes 2010 median pay, entry-level education, and the most important category, “Job Outlook, 2010 – 2020.”

That column shows that there will be 41% growth for the data analyst role over the ten-year period from 2010 – 2020, or roughly 4% per year.  That’s a relative number, however: What you need to keep mind is that the average job in America will grow about 13% over that same time period, or roughly 1.3% per year (as a general benchmark).  So all in all, data analyst job openings will outpace the general market by a ratio of three to one, which makes it one of the fastest growing roles in corporate America.

With that general overview in mind, it’s time to drill down further by specific industry/field and find out where the real growth for the data analyst role is happening.  Click on the tab at the top of the page that reads “Job Outlook.”  At the bottom of that page, you’ll find a section that reads “Job Projections Data for Market Research Analysts, 2010-2020.”  Open the spreadsheet by clicking on the [XLS] symbol in that box, and you’ll find 300+ industry categories where the role of market data analyst (AKA market research analyst) exists.

What an eye-popper!  This is where you’ll find that market data analyst roles will grow at the staggering rate of 106% in the 2010 – 2020 timeframe in the category of “Home Healthcare Services.”  Similarly, data analyst roles in the overall “Healthcare” field will be up 59.2%.

On the other hand, market research analyst roles will fall 13.4% at the Post Office, 6% in the newspaper publishing business, and a whopping 49.5% in the apparel-manufacturing field.

Here’s the catch: By simply tweaking your job search focus, you could increase the chances of gainful employment immensely as follows:

Wired telecommunication (14.2%) ™ Wireless telecommunication (69.7%)

Newspaper publishing (-6%) ™ Software publishing (62.8%)

Now that’s a smart job-search strategy for transitioning professionals looking for a career change within a tough economy!

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About The Author

Paul Falcone is a human resources executive in Los Angeles and has held senior-level positions with Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and Time Warner. He is the author of a number of AMACOM and SHRM bestselling books, four of which made SHRM's prestigious "Great 8" list: 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire, 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems, 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees, and 2,600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews. His latest AMACOM book, 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees, was released in 2016. Follow Paul on Twitter at @PaulFalconeHR and his website and blog at www.PaulFalconeHR.com.

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