Top Ten Jobs of the Next Decade

NPR had a story this morning on where this decade’s jobs will come from. The disheartening news was that 6 out of the top seven fastest-growing jobs are low-skill, low-wage jobs.

The top ten:

1. Registered nurses
2. Home health aids
3. Customer service representatives
4. Food preparation and serving workers
5. Personal and home care aides
6. Retail salespersons
7. Office clerks
8. Accountants
9. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
10. Postsecondary teachers

According to Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz:

“The challenge is to move those jobs up the skills ladder. There’s no reason, he says, that home health care workers couldn’t be better educated to provide patients with greater value and, as a result, command higher wages to improve their own living standards.”

The trick, he says, is to “professionalize” these jobs.

Two thoughts:

1) Perhaps we need to think differently about the service industry. We can’t thrive as a nation by serving hamburgers to each other.

Some of the long-time property owners here in our downtown were retailers. They started out selling shoes, then started a business, then bought the building.  That’s retail but it’s not a career to sneeze at.  Well-educated or well-trained retailers can go head to head with the nationals because they have the knowledge and support system necessary to be successful.

2) Perhaps we need to stop obsessing over manufacturing jobs, say goodbye to large scale industries and put our money and efforts towards other areas.  Why can’t we use Apple or Microsoft as a business model rather than General Motors and US Steel?