This is a guest post by MBA candidate Nate Nead.
Today’s volatile markets only guarantee one thing: a volatile career. The cyclical nature of the economy has created an uncertain future for many career choice options. Assuaging the risk of diving headlong into the waterless pool of a faulty and risky career can help to mitigate risks for years to come. Choosing a career path that is 100% risk free is near to impossible, but there are some helpful considerations for which one should account when making the decision to pick a career path. And, since the best time to start looking for careers occurs while you are in college, here are some helpful suggestions and my reasons for choosing them as viable risk-mitigating career choices for the coming generation.
Tax & Accounting
As the saying goes, “the only certainty we have is death and taxes.” Today’s estate tax debacle also ensures we have substantial taxes after death as well. The unavoidable nature of taxes ensures both individuals and business owners will need business and personal tax and accounting expertise.
Until the tax code is simplified—which may be a while—there will always be a benefit to hiring a tax consultant. In most cases, the fees are dwarfed by the tax savings making small businesses and families prone to outsource the preparation to a firm who knows the ropes.
The numbers are out for retirement savings among the baby boomer generation and things are not looking good. The majority, that is >50% of baby boomers have less than $50,000 saved for their retirement. This staggering statistic coupled with the expectation of higher taxes and increased inflation could mean the demise of monetary value for anyone that has judiciously saved. But where there is hurt, there is also opportunity.
Today’s retirement consultant may see great benefit in providing needed expertise for newer products such as reverse mortgages and retirement account rollovers. New products hitting the market may also provide the needed lift above the regular social security the baby boomers will be receiving. This line of business will require a large degree of integrity. Preying on seniors has its consequences.
Along with the baby boomers with little to nothing saved for retirement are those who’ve spent their lives building up successful, cash-flowing businesses. Such companies will most surely be sold in the next few years creating value. In fact, the CBO estimates the number of retirees hitting the market will continue at 10,000 per day for a period of nearly 20 years. A large swath of these individuals will be in businesses which will be sold on the open market. In fact, it is predicted this will be the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.
Boutique investment banks and business brokers stand to make great gains as a large amount of smaller and family-owned businesses hit the market and go up for sale.
For the foreseeable future, software engineers will remain some of the most employable resources on the market. If you are able to effectively develop expertise in one or multiple code languages as an engineer, it will make you that much more marketable.
The digital revolution has arrived and large amounts of corporate resources are being thrown into everything from high-profile software programs to online gaming apps and platforms. The sky will continue to be the limit as demand continues for good, quality development expertise in the software field.
While not as technical as network admins or computer engineering specialists, the marketers of today have much more stability than those of the past. As ad budgets and promotions shift from traditional media, we will continue to see large growth and gains in online, mobile, social and out-of-home advertising platforms.
However, ad budgets do tend to shift more sporadically when volatility hits the market. To ensure security, tomorrow’s digital marketers will need to be fully equipped with the right tools to compete with other potential employees. In other words, they must be smart, well-versed and deliver top-notch results.
Aging populations, increasing obesity and rising healthcare costs continue to make the medical field a high-demand profession.
Which is more medicine is a fully inelastic good. When people need it, there is often no other option than to visit an expert professional. Many of the most ambitious are dissuaded from the field simply by the amount of education required to begin. This deterrent, however, is what keeps supply down and incomes up. Increases in demand for services over time won’t hurt either.
Demand is certainly not going away. However, it could be argued that the industry may prove less-attractive as contributing factors such as regulation and insurance have an effect. Either way, medicine will always be in demand and now is as good a time as any to pursue a masters degree in nursing. Here is a list of some of the areas which are predicted to grow in the medical field:
- Nurses & nurse practitioners
- Medical & physicians assistants
- Physical & occupational therapists
Like the medical field, dentists have enjoyed above average wages. Their incomes, like many professionals have certainly seen a drop with the financial crisis, but unlike many other fields, demand will continue to remain at a minimal level for the near and long term. Even in the event of a sharp decrease in cosmetic and other optional procedures, there are certain procedures in the dental field that maintain the status quo for most dentist incomes.
Real estate is certainly not where it was at the height of the market circa 2006, however there will always remain opportunity in this field for a number of reasons. First, demand will never disappear. It may go up, it may go down, but it will still remain. Second, demand is dependent on population and the population is almost always generally increasing. Finally, inflation ensures that owning real estate will be a good place to have your money when prices begin to rise.
In dire circumstances, various aspects of the housing market may remain less lucrative. However, for the savvy business person, risks can be mitigated easily by knowing the market and where the pain points may be.
The growth of cost and volume in higher education has spawned a higher demand for great college professors. While some argue there is an inherent risk in becoming a college professor for any number of reasons, I would certainly argue otherwise. Where else could you get paid big money to talk about ideas and complex concepts? Opportunities abound and even if demand decreases most professors are able to obtain tenure and remain around indefinitely.
If you’re smart enough, being a college professor has its perks. Many also engage in outside consulting which also pays. Recession and volatility could have an impact, but education is a fairly inelastic product.
Manual Labor & Trade Related Professions
While this is not the option many college grads want several recent reports indicate a growing need for jobs in the blue collar sector. The need will continue to grow as those practicing various trade-related crafts continue to retire and move out of the industry. The decrease in supply could create ample opportunity for a savvy business owner
Believe me, I know the difficulty in trying to formulate what in your mind what you want to do when you grow up. Nothing can be more frustrating than coupling that decision with the knowledge that the market as a whole is expected to continue to be much more volatile going forward. Hopefully some of the aforementioned career choices will assist in making the decision an easy one.
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