The occupations that will be taking on the most workers over the next 10 years have certain characteristics in common. All have very large workforces, low entry requirements, and low pay, which means that there is constant turnover of workers. A large proportion of the people who take these jobs are young because these workers don't yet have the qualifications for higher-level jobs and are willing to accept the relatively low pay. These jobs provide experience that can lead to better-paying jobs later.
1. Retail Salespersons — Employers look for people who enjoy working with others and who have tact, patience, an interest in sales work, a neat appearance, and the ability to communicate clearly. Most salespersons work evenings and weekends, particularly during sales and other peak retail periods.
2. Cashiers — The greatest growth for this job will be in casinos. About 46 percent of cashiers work part time. Often, they are not allowed to leave their workstations without supervisory approval because they are responsible for large sums of money.
3. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers (Including Fast Food) — Most of these workers are young and part-time. They cook and package food, fill beverage cups, assemble orders, hand them to customers, and accept payment, usually on their feet and often under considerable time pressure.
4. Waiters and Waitresses — These workers are not involved in food preparation. They need to have good people skills and sometimes deal with awkward situations such as diners who smoke where it is not allowed or who order drinks although they are underage. Tips comprise a major portion of their earnings, so keen competition is expected for jobs in fine dining and more popular restaurants where potential tips are greater.
5. Office Clerks, General — A large proportion of these clerks work part-time or in temporary positions. Prospects should be best for those with knowledge of basic computer applications and office machinery as well as good communication skills. They may learn skills on the job that can lead to higher-level office work.
6. Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand — These workers move freight, stock, or other materials by hand; clean vehicles, machinery, and other equipment; feed materials into or remove materials from machines or equipment; and pack or package products and materials. Some jobs require considerable strength.
7. Customer Service Representatives — Strong verbal communication and listening skills are important in this job. Most use computers and telephones extensively in their work. Evening and weekend work is often available.
8. Janitors and Cleaners (Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners) — Workers are trained on the job in how to use various kinds of cleaning equipment. They sometimes also do minor electrical and plumbing repairs. Most new jobs will occur in businesses providing janitorial and cleaning services on a contract basis.
9. Child Care Workers — These workers care for children who have not yet entered school or supervise older children before or after school hours. They may provide meals or snacks. About 35 percent of these workers are self-employed, mostly providing child care in their homes.
10. Stock Clerks and Order Fillers — These clerks unpack merchandise and bring it to the sales floor, or they assemble merchandise to be shipped to fill orders. They often use hand-held scanners and may be required to lift cartons of various sizes. Familiarity with computers is helpful.
Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D.
Dr. Shatkin is a Senior Product Developer at JIST Publishing, with over 25 years in the field of career information. He has been a researcher for Educational Testing Service, where he helped develop the SIGI PLUS computer-based career information system. He oversaw the updating and enhancement of the SIGI PLUS database for over 15 years. He has served on the board and as president of the Association of Computer-based Systems of Career Information. His consulting company, Verbal Media, developed the Career Oasis system for the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia. He co-edited the Guide for Occupational Exploration, Third Edition, and assembled the database for Best Jobs for the 21st Century (2008 Edition). He also authored the Quick Guide to College Majors & Careers and the Quick Guide to Career Training in Two Years or Less.