When considering a career, use data as a guide

By February 24, 2012R is for Research

One of the best sources of information for career planning and guidance comes from the United States government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) not only reports  on national employment and unemployment rates, but also offers detailed reports on employment according to  job and industry as well as projections for future growth. You can find this information in the BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). While the BLS is set to release a revised OOH in late March (containing data gathered in  2010) you can still access the older data set from 2008 , bearing in mind the data was published before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an event widely seen as triggering our most recent financial panic.

If you’re not set on a certain career, you can always browse the exhaustive list of occupations that are given detailed treatment, from “Able seamen, see Water transportation occupations” to “Yoga instructors, see Fitness workers.”  Of course, you can also search for information on specific occupations, like “gold diggers” (Mining).

Having access to detailed information like this can be key to discovering job growth areas in this globalized economy of ours. Occupations involving health services and computers, for example, are projected to grow at rates in the double digits. Other industries, like our long-suffering textile and manufacturing sectors, are estimated to shrink even further.

So, what’s your ideal occupation? Is it listed in the OOH? How does its predicted rate of growth (or shrinkage) affect your opinion about it? Please share by leaving a comment below.