10 fastest-growing industries for executive jobs

Make a beeline to the C-suite.

10 fastest-growing industries for executive jobs

Have your sights set on the corner office? You’re not alone.

While growth in top exec jobs is forecast at 8% for 2016 through 2026 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), competition for those jobs at the top of the ladder—the ones that command the biggest paychecks—will be understandably fierce.

But when it comes to advancing your career, certain industries can put you on the fast track. To help maximize your shot at landing an executive position, Monster found 10 industries where existing companies are expanding and new ones are forming, fueling demand for executive talent.

Health care

Outlook: Aging baby boomers and the Affordable Care Act are among the factors driving fast growth in the health care industry, which the BLS will overtake state and local government and professional and business services in terms of employment share over the next decade, adding almost 2.4 million jobs.

Tip: With industry dynamics changing rapidly—toward an increased interest in consumerism, for example—even candidates from other fields can take advantage of leadership opportunities, says Kevin Palisi, managing director of Ancora Search, a health care–focused executive search firm in Milford, Connecticut. “Executives with strong consumer marketing experience from other industries can target health care companies looking to bolster their executive bench strength in that area,” Palisi adds. “And cybersecurity is another area where health care companies are recruiting executives from other industries.”

Find health care jobs on Monster.

Professional services

Outlook: Service-providing sectors are expected to drive almost 9o% of job growth over the next decade, according to the BLS. While many of those are likely to be in health care, professional and business services aren’t far behind, with the BLS projecting about 773,800 new jobs.

Tip: With a wide range of specialties in the sector, some companies will be on the lookout for experience in the field, but others may seek general leadership and management abilities. Either way, leverage your professional network to get your foot in the door. “Find someone you know or who knows someone who can introduce you,” says John Paul Engel, president of Knowledge Capital Consulting in Sioux City, Iowa. “Failing that, look for alumni of your school or someone who has common interests. Or go right to the founder or CEO.”

Find professional services jobs on Monster.


Outlook: The fortunes of the tech sector tend to rise and fall, but the demand for executive talent is strong and ongoing. People with both technical and business skills are needed to propel emerging fields, such as cloud computing, Big Data, AI, cyber security, the Internet of Things, robotics, mobile apps, and social media. The BLS anticipates about 557,100 new jobs will be created in the coming years.

Tip: It’s a fast-moving field in which things change constantly, so demonstrating innovation and curiosity can be more important than specific experience, says DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer at Red Hat, a Raleigh, North Carolina–based tech company. “We are interested in people who bring a new perspective and use their prior experiences to help build creative solutions to complex business problems,” Alexander says.

Find technology jobs on Monster.


Outlook: Thanks to a growing acceptance and increase in legalization, the emerging medicinal and recreational marijuana industry is skyrocketing, with projections of 30% annual revenue growth, to $13.4 billion, over the next five years.

Tip: In such a new field, few leaders will have a proven track record, so an aspiring executive will want to demonstrate the ability to establish new markets or grow a business from a regional to a national level, says Annette Richmond, who runs Career-Intelligence.com, a resume-writing and career service in Rowayton, Connecticut. “It’s all about showing an employer that you can solve his or her problems,” Richmond says.

Find marijuana jobs on Monster.

Waste management

Outlook: Solid waste, medical waste, hazardous waste, plastic, paper—it’s all growing, as are the companies that collect, process, and dispose of it. Jobs in environmental engineering, for example, are expected to grow 8%, according to the BLS, as the government and companies seek to improve recycling, waste disposal, and water and air pollution.

Tip: With greater public awareness of environmental issues, the industry is focusing on sustainability. "Individuals who have degrees in sustainability and experience in sustainable practices are now highly sought after in the waste management industry," says Donald Hardee, diversion facilities division manager for the city of Austin, Texas.

Find waste management jobs on Monster.

Elder care

Outlook: Aging baby boomers are driving a boom in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and assistive technologies. With the health care sector as the largest job-creating industry in the U.S., employment just for home health aides and personal care aides is expected to increase by 41% between 2016 and 2026, the BLS projects. 

Tip: This is a broad field encompassing health care management, housing, hospitality, consumer marketing, logistics, and safety, says Roy Cohen, an executive coach in New York City.” But to stand out, he advises, “tie the threads together that show you are passionate about serving this community.”

Find elder care jobs on Monster.

Financial investments

Outlook: Hit hard by the 2008 recession, the financial industry has largely made a comeback, with 10% job growth expected between 2016 and 2026 in business and financial occupations, according to BLS projections. To manage the growth and capitalize on advances in financial technology and automation, many companies will be looking to rebuild their stable of executives. 

Tip: Aspiring financial executives should be able to use high-tech tools, such as business intelligence software and data modeling, to evaluate business operations and increase efficiencies, says Steve Bohler, founder of The Oxford Program, a career-coaching service in Cooperstown, New York. “Great leadership and communication skills are crucial,” he says, “but today's financial executives must know how to leverage technology.” 

Find finance executive jobs on Monster.

Travel, hospitality, and leisure

Outlook: Jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry are expected to grow between 4% and 9%, the BLS projects, with the majority of those in the category “food services and drinking places.”

Tip: Lodging, entertainment complexes, and cruise lines are all expected to grow, but demand for more tailored experiences is particularly strong. This demand is creating opportunities for leaders with fresh perspectives and ideas. “Off-the-beaten-path adventures are the future of travel,” says Knowledge Capital Consulting’s Engel.

Find travel, hospitality and leisure jobs on Monster.


Outlook: With employment in this industry building, the BLS projects nearly 1.5 million new construction jobs between 2016 and 2026, as population and business growth drives new construction and the nation addresses an aging infrastructure of roads, bridges, and sewer systems.

Tip: Experience in other fields can be desirable, says Adrienne Tom of Career Impressions in Calgary, Alberta. Candidates with human resources backgrounds, for example, can leverage recruitment and hiring proficiencies to attract top personnel in a competitive market. “Executives with strong multimillion-dollar project and budget management—from any industry—would be advantageous to construction firms looking to manage large project budgets effectively to keep pace with growing sector demands,” Tom says.  

Find construction jobs on Monster.

Private education

Outlook: The education sector is expected to add about 888,900 new jobs between 2016 and 2026, according to BLS estimates, with enrollment projected to increase at both the college and university level and among elementary and secondary schools.

Tip: All segments of the education industry are under increasing pressure from the public and even corporate America to convey the value they offer in very concrete terms, says John Brady, principal at Protem Partners, a Philadelphia-based firm that specializes in career and corporate transitions. “So executives and officers of administration must have communication and PR skills specific to government relations, media, and business,” he says.

Find private education jobs on Monster.

Give your job search the executive treatment

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