10 fastest-growing industries for executive jobs
Make a beeline to the C-suite.
Have your sights set on the corner office? You’re not alone.
While growth in top exec jobs is forecast at 6% for 2014 through 2024, 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.
Outlook: Aging baby boomers and the Affordable Care Act are among the factors driving fast growth in the health care industry, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects will overtake state and local government and professional and business services in terms of employment share over the next decade, adding almost 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.”
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Outlook: Service-providing sectors are expected to drive almost 95% of job growth over the next decade. While more than a third of those are likely to be in health care, professional and business services aren’t far behind, with the BLS projecting about 1.9 million 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 that 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.”
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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, 3-D printing, security, the Internet of Things and robotics, mobile and social.
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, N.C.-based tech company whose CEO came from the airline industry. “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.
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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.
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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 12%, 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.
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Outlook: Aging baby boomers are driving a boom in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and assistive technologies. Nursing and residential care facilities alone are likely to add about 750,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024—the third-largest industry employment gain—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.”
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Outlook: Hit hard by the 2008 recession, the financial industry has largely made a comeback, with 10 to 12% job growth expected between 2014 and 2024 in segments of the industry, 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.”
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Travel, hospitality and leisure
Outlook: More than 940,000 new jobs can be expected in the leisure and hospitality industry, 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.
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Outlook: While the industry isn’t expected to return to the peak employment levels of 2006, the BLS does project about 800,000 new construction jobs between 2014 and 2024, as population and business growth drive 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,” says Tom.
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Outlook: The field is expected to add almost 340,000 new jobs between 2014 and 2024, according to BLS projections, and private colleges and professional schools are among the 20 industry sectors that are forecast to add the most jobs during that period.
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.
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