Identifying High-Growth Job Opportunities

What Are High-Growth Job Opportunities?

When seeking a career path or looking for a new position within a chosen career, many job seekers want to know which careers or jobs present high-growth opportunities. High-growth opportunities include jobs in industries and fields that are predicted to grow or continue to grow over the next few years. For example, according to , some of the fastest-growing industries among privately held companies in 2014 include support services for mining, oilseed and grain farming, beverage manufacturing, and computer systems design.

High-growth opportunities can also refer to specific companies that offer possibilities for advancement. For example, if you seek a job at a company with a management trainee program, there is a built-in opportunity to take advantage of the program and potentially rise through the ranks and into a management- or executive-level position.

How Have High-Growth Industries and Jobs Changed over Time?

The industries, fields, careers, and professions that are currently considered high growth are not necessarily the same as those from decades past. For example, many people believe that earning a law degree, passing the bar exam, and becoming a lawyer is a high-growth opportunity and a guarantee of financial success. Although lawyering is still a respected and potentially lucrative profession, there is a surplus of lawyers and legal professionals in the early twenty-first century. The high cost of law school and the potential debt acquired by earning an advanced degree—without the guarantee of finding a secure, high-paying job—makes pursuing a law degree not as desirable as it once was.

Identifying High-Growth Job Opportunities

. In the 1990s, the service economy began to grow—a trend that continues in the early twenty-first century. Many new jobs were being created in various service industries, including business, personnel supply, health, and social services.

Identifying High-Growth Job Opportunities

White-collar workers: Employees whose jobs do not involve manual labor and who generally receive a salary rather than an hourly wage.

Also during this period, the global economy became more focused on computers and technology, signaling another high-growth area. Within this industry, high-growth jobs have changed between the 1990s and 2010s, as new technologies have emerged and become dominant. For example, desktop computers are no longer as important as tablets, smart phones, and online social media. Researching such industry trends can help you better understand the long-term prospects of a chosen career and seek the best training and opportunities available.

How Do I Identify Current High-Growth Industries and Fields?

One way to locate high-growth industries and fields is to research trends in employment, business, and society. You can find this type of information in college career centers and local public libraries, as well as through an online search. You may also want to look at business publications related to the field you are interested in; the business sections of major newspapers; the websites and publications of trade groups, professional associations, and trade unions; online job boards; and even social networking websites such as LinkedIn ( ) and Twitter ( ). For example, the service sector as a whole is expected to remain important at least into the 2020s. By researching what services in particular people need now and in the near future, you can determine what are likely to be future high-growth industries and fields.

Identifying High-Growth Job Opportunities

Many of the fastest-growing job fields are in the health-related service industry.

Many of the fastest-growing job fields are in the health-related service industry. ILLUSTRATION BY LUMINA DATAMATICS LTD. © 2015 CENGAGE LEARNING®. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Fastest Growing Occupations,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014 [online] from

Publications released by the U.S. Department of Labor ( ) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( ) are other great sources of information. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook is an annual document that summarizes data related to job, field, and industry growth. It includes predicted trends and outlooks in both civilian and military careers. The conclusions included in the Occupational Outlook Handbook are based on information obtained from the Bureau of Statistics and from professional associations.

For example, one long-term trend appears to be the development of the green economy, which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean energy, environmental protection, and related industries. There is already a significant, growing number of green jobs in the United States in a number of industries and fields, involving many skills at a variety of wage levels. Because of the growth of the green economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began studying and following green jobs in 2010. It found that a number of green jobs can already be found in skilled trades, such as manufacturing, construction, operation, maintenance, and installation, and that the green economy is expected to continue to grow. This prediction is supported by legislation that encourages energy-efficient technology, lower carbon emission levels, and protection of natural resources.

What Industries and Fields Are Currently and Expected to Be High Growth?

Job searching in the 21st century can incorporate both old-school and more tech-savvy methods.

Job searching in the 21st century can incorporate both old-school and more tech-savvy methods. MAXX-STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM.

What Occupations Are Currently and Expected to Be High Growth?

The Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections issued a list of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States between 2012 and 2022. Including all levels of education, the list is organized by positive percentage change, not by raw numbers. The top five were industrial-organizational psychologists; personal care aides; home health aides; mechanical insulation workers; and interpreters and translators.

The Bureau released other lists that organize job-growth data in different ways. For example, it compiled a list of the occupations that are expected to have the most openings in the United States between 2012 and 2022. Again, including all levels of education, the top five were retail salespersons; food preparation and serving workers; cashiers; waiters and waitresses; and registered nurses.

How Do I Research Which Industries and Fields Are Projected for High Growth?

Similar websites can be found on the state level. They typically provide state-specific information. For example, the state of New York's NewYorkMakesWorkPay website ( ) provides such data and analysis.

How Do I Know If a High Growth Industry or Field Is Right for Me?

Identifying High-Growth Job Opportunities

Before you can use your research on high-growth industries, fields, and jobs in your job search or to determine your career path, you should understand and analyze your career goals, skills, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. When deciding which high-growth opportunities to pursue, you should consider which factors are important to you, such as lifestyle, salary, career goals, availability of training and development, and job satisfaction.

For example, many fields and jobs in the military are considered high growth. Though it may shrink or grow in size, there will always be a military, and it has become increasingly technological. If you have the right skill set, there is plenty of opportunity for advancement. However, joining the military comes with a way of life that includes regimentation, discipline, a rigid authority structure, and potentially less pay but better benefits. Entering the military includes training and can result in developing skills that are transferable to many civilian occupations. You have to weigh the costs and benefits of joining the military before further pursuing such a position.

How Can I Find High-Growth Opportunities in My Industry or Field?

If you have already chosen an industry, your research can be tailored to jobs in that field. For example, America's Career InfoNet includes a “Career Tools” webpage (,11,8,1&nodeid=14). It features not only career exploration information but also links to related online resources, certification, education, and career prospects data.

When advertising for an open position, many companies and businesses will highlight that they offer opportunities for advancement. You can also research such prospects through professional organizations, publications, and field-focused job fairs. If you establish a relationship with a mentor or career counselor, he or she can help you locate jobs that have high-growth potential.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor has organized related data in several ways. On its CareerOneStop website, you can find an “Occupation Information” webpage ( It includes links to current and projected data about the fastest-growing occupations, occupations with the most openings, occupations with the largest employment, occupations with declining employment, and highest-paying occupations by median hourly wage. You can also compare wages and trends and research employment trends by industry and occupation.

Federal, state, and local job centers can also be of assistance. There are a number of initiatives and strategies that support job growth. For example, in 2003 the Department of Labor launched a High Growth Job Training Initiative ( ) that focuses on preparing those seeking employment or new positions to be able to have access to jobs in high-growth and high-demand jobs. The webpage lists targeted industries and describes the outcomes of the initiatives.