Over the years I’ve seen a few eyebrow-raising “fastest growing industry” and “best jobs for women” lists pointing women toward jobs fewer of their kin pursue. How frustrating to be on the hunt for a marketing or finance job, for example, and see that there was a better chance of driving trucks, building power lines and maintaining roads.
In a recent Time magazine article, however, there’s a “Where the Jobs Will Be” list (in a July 23, 2012 article, “Not Having it All”), which makes a lot more sense. The “not having it all title” refers to the continued loss of jobs in the public sector that are disproportionately held by women. That’s a real problem, but for both public and private sector women I want to focus now on the list of fastest-growing industries for 2012 to 2017.
In a nutshell, the most plentiful opportunities for women are in the technology sector—specifically online and digital opportunities. Though many would be quick to say plenty of young women will snap up those jobs, the article notes that only 14% of 2010 computer science majors were women. This explains why, as a recruiter, I always found it most difficult to find women qualified for technology jobs—and why candidates were rarely over the age of 30.
Many women think technology and assume jobs would entail trouble-shooting scary computer snafus, writing complicated code or sifting through mounds of data. It’s not all that geeky and dry. The Time article lists social networking sites, internet publishing and broadcasting, online fashion sample sales and online household furniture sales as big growth areas, too.
Just like we tell our kids it’s probably a good idea to learn Spanish and Chinese, it’s probably a good idea for many job seeking women to venture out to the world of technology. Every job is now fueled by technology, and all women who want to advance their careers should understand new media.
You don’t have to learn how to build web sites (though I’m a non-techie who can vouch for the fact that it’s getting more and more easy and intuitive). There are lots of things that you could do in, for example, internet publishing and broadcasting. For these internet communications vehicles you could write, manage budgets, sell advertising, recruit staff, be the administrative glue—and fill all the roles needed in any major company. The only difference is that you have to work within the new media platform, which does not have to be foreign territory for long.
I hear you groaning “how can I start over now?”. Put that thought out of your mind. It’s not a matter of starting over—it’s more like advancing to the next level of expertise or study. You’ll still use and build on everything you know—you’ll just learn how to apply your knowledge within a new and more opportunity rich world. —KAS
Just about every college and university now offers courses or degrees in new media—which in some cases you could do at night while you job search by day. One of my blog readers in New York, Robin Colner, just joined Fordham University as an adjunct professor of new media. As just one example, check out Fordham’s program.
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