Hot Careers for the Next 10 Years
The U.S. will start exporting environmental expertise.
By Anne Fisher

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Which professional jobs are likely to be in greatest demand in the next decade? To find out, we asked the outplacement and executive-coaching giant DBM to survey its thousands of career counselors and outplacement specialists; we also analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics' job-growth projections (see table). The highlights: IT will be back in a big way. Anything relating to health care will boom. And accounting or financial-management skills will be mighty good to have.

Terrific if overdue news for the many techies displaced when the dot-com bubble popped: Seven of the top 20 jobs call for computer expertise. Scot Milland, CEO of, a leading job board in the field, says there are already 90% more job listings on his site than last year. "Wireless applications are growing like crazy," he explains. "We're also seeing a need to manage, organize, store, and search the huge amounts of data available to businesses now. Third, the ability to connect technologies in a secure way is crucial, so demand for networking experts is way up." The more sophisticated the skills, the greater the demand. Basic programming is cheap around the globe, so here in the U.S. it's over--the BLS expects 1.3% shrinkage in those jobs by 2012.

According to the DBM survey, health-care management and accounting or financial-management acumen are expected to be the two most marketable skills of the decade ahead. No wonder several health-related jobs--biomedical engineers, medical scientists, pharmacists--land in the top 20. The aging of the population, the continual quest for innovative treatments, and rising health-care costs also boost demand for analysts who conjure up creative compensation and benefits packages. Meanwhile, as companies struggling to meet the March 16 deadline for Sarbanes-Oxley reporting well know, skilled auditors and financial managers are in dismally short supply. The number of accounting degrees granted by U.S. colleges has been declining for years now, so the problem won't go away anytime soon, and audit firms are scrambling to close the talent gap: PricewaterhouseCoopers is hiring 3,100 new grads in 2005, up about 19% over last year, and Ernst & Young will top that, adding 4,000 newbies, a 30% jump from 2004.

But the greatest increase in demand by far will be for folks who know how to clean up spaceship earth. That's because an increasingly health-conscious public is eager to find environmental engineers who can prevent problems rather than simply control those that already exist. Says David Levy, chairman of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, a think tank in Mount Kisco, N.Y.: "We expect the U.S. to start exporting environmental expertise to Europe and Asia, including to emerging markets like India." Welcome to the new world, same as the old world: New markets make new opportunities. -- Anne Fisher

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