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Medical and Health Services Managers Have the Best Pandemic Recovery Outlook — Here’s How Nearly 760 Jobs Stack Up

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Much has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. With economywide disruptions such as soaring inflation rates and worker shortages across industries like hospitality and health care, some roles may have better pandemic recovery prospects than others.

To better understand which roles have the best outlook for 2030, LendingTree researchers analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on nearly 760 jobs. In addition to looking at which jobs have the best prospects, we’ll also look at which industries are expected to grow the most and what consumers should consider when switching careers.

Key findings

  • Medical and health services managers have the best pandemic recovery prospects. The number of medical and health services managers is expected to grow by nearly 33% over the next eight-plus years — one of the fastest growth rates among the roles analyzed. Additionally, median wages for this role top six figures.
  • Across 758 jobs analyzed, shoe machine operators and tenders rank lowest. The number of people joining, decorating, reinforcing or finishing shoes or shoe parts is expected to shrink by almost 22% by 2030. These workers earn $28,560 annually — among the lowest across the jobs analyzed.
  • Two of the fastest-growing jobs are in renewable energy. The number of people employed as wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow by about 68% by 2030, while the percentage of people working as solar photovoltaic installers is projected to grow by about 52%.
  • By industry, health care support has the highest projected growth rate — but workers aren’t well-paid. Over the next-plus eight years, the number of jobs in this industry — which include roles like physical therapist assistants and home health care aides — is projected to grow by about 23%. However, median annual wages for these employees are below $30,000.
  • Just three major industries are expected to shrink by 2030. Among these, office and administrative support jobs — such as secretaries and customer service representatives — are expected to lose the highest rate of jobs in the next eight-plus years (2.8%). That’s followed by sales and related occupations (1.4%) and production occupations, which include roles like butchers and machinists (0.4%).

Which jobs have the best pandemic recovery prospects?

LendingTree researchers analyzed 758 jobs across four metrics:

  • The projected percentage of employees in each occupation in 2030
  • The percentage growth in the number of workers between 2020 and 2030
  • The annual average of job openings between 2020 and 2030
  • The median annual wages in 2021

Medical and health services managers — think nursing home administrators, clinical managers and health information managers — have the best pandemic recovery outlook. Notably, the number of medical and health services jobs is expected to grow 32.5% over the next eight-plus years — ranking it among the fastest-growing roles. Median wages top six figures at $101,340, compared with a national median of $45,760 across all occupations.

Jobs with the best 10-year outlooks, 2020-2030

RankJobEmployment distribution, 2030Percentage growth in workers, 2020-2030Annual average of job openings, 2020-2030Median annual wages, 2021
1Medical and health services managers0.344%32.5%51,800$101,340
2Financial managers0.484%17.3%64,200$131,710
3Nurse practitioners0.203%52.2%26,000$120,680
4Management analysts0.624%13.7%99,400$93,000
5General and operations managers1.595%9.4%229,600$97,970
6Health specialties teachers, postsecondary0.182%24.3%30,800$102,720
7Computer and information systems managers0.323%10.9%42,400$159,010
8Market research analysts and marketing specialists0.547%22.1%96,000$63,920
9Lawyers0.529%8.9%46,000$127,990
10Construction managers0.302%11.5%38,900$98,890

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data

Given the pandemic’s impact on the health care sector, it isn’t surprising that medical and health services managers have the best outlook for the next eight-plus years.

The factors associated with its ranking are widely felt across the industry. Demand for health care workers has accelerated in recent years. Although that’s primarily due to the U.S.’s ever-growing and aging population, the pandemic accelerated demand. Employment across all health care occupations is projected to grow 16.0% from 2020 to 2030 — much faster than the 7.7% average across all occupations.

Beyond medical and health services managers, two other top-10 jobs are health care-related, and growth significantly contributes to both. Of these:

  • Nurse practitioner jobs (third overall) have a growth rate of 52.2%.
  • Postsecondary health specialty teacher jobs (sixth overall) have a growth rate of 24.3%.

Similarly, the other top-ranking health care jobs pay well above the national median:

  • Nurse practitioners: $120,680 annually
  • Postsecondary health specialty teachers: $102,720

Meanwhile, six of the top 10 jobs are management occupations. Economic growth plays a role in these rankings. As new organizations form and existing organizations expand, the demand for managers (typically well-paid due to their positions in leadership) and related roles will grow. Aside from medical and health services managers, the top-ranking management occupations include:

  • Financial managers (second)
  • Management analysts (fourth)
  • General operations managers (fifth)
  • Computer and information systems managers (seventh)
  • Construction managers (10th)

Lowest-ranking jobs face outsourcing and automation, and they pay poorly

On the other end of the spectrum, shoe machine operators and tenders ranked lowest. The number of those employed in this role working with shoes and shoe parts is expected to shrink by 21.6% over the next eight-plus years — in the bottom 10 across all 758 jobs. Those in this role are also among the lowest paid, making just $28,560 annually — in the bottom 20.

Outsourcing likely plays a role here, as 99% of shoes sold in the U.S. today are imported, according to the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. This isn’t just an issue within shoe manufacturing. Much of the U.S. manufacturing industry has been outsourced over the past two-plus decades, with companies favoring cheaper international labor costs for these typically labor-intensive jobs.

Notably, almost all of the lowest-ranking jobs are within the manufacturing industry. Jobs associated with textile manufacturing rank as two of the five jobs with the worst outlooks. That includes hand cutters and trimmers, which involve cutting common textiles like carpet and fabric, and textile bleaching and dyeing roles.

Jobs with the worst 10-year outlooks, 2020-2030

RankJobEmployment distribution, 2030Percentage growth in workers, 2020-2030Annual average of job openings, 2020-2030Median annual wages, 2021
1Shoe machine operators and tenders0.002%-21.6%400$28,560
2Manufactured building and mobile home installers0.002%-18.4%300$36,360
3Cutters and trimmers, hand0.003%-29.7%600$30,230
4Timing device assemblers and adjusters0.000%-17.8%100$37,780
5Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders0.004%-13.8%700$29,930
6Telephone operators0.002%-25.4%400$37,630
7Sewers, hand0.004%-9.5%800$29,930
8Shoe and leather workers and repairers0.005%-14.0%800$31,450
9Watch and clock repairers0.001%-24.9%200$44,250
10Textile cutting machine setters, operators and tenders0.007%-11.1%1,300$29,960

Source: LendingTree analysis of BLS data

Technological advancements have also impacted the lowest-ranking jobs, particularly among roles in the manufacturing industry. Advanced equipment continually replaces many manufacturing jobs, with many processes now computer-controlled and automated.

According to LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz, outsourcing in the manufacturing industry is common.

“Businesses are always focused on efficiency and streamlining processes and costs, so if they can find ways to automate and outsource certain roles, they’re likely to at least consider it,” Schulz says. “That certainly seems like that would be an issue with jobs such as machine operators, where technological advances continue to threaten to make obsolete jobs that real people have done in the past.”

Full rankings of all 758 jobs

Renewable energy jobs among the fastest-growing roles

Good news for the climate: Two renewable energy roles rank among the fastest-growing jobs. Specifically, the number of wind turbine service technicians who install, maintain and repair them is projected to grow by 68.2%. Meanwhile, the percentage of people working as solar photovoltaic installers is projected to grow by 52.2%. These workers install, assemble, set up and maintain systems that convert sunlight to energy.

It’s important to note that this list of fastest-growing roles differs slightly from our overall list. Our initial list included all 758 jobs with available information across the four metrics. This list excludes jobs with above-average cyclical recovery, so occupations with declines in the number of salaried or wage-earning employees greater than the decline across all occupations from 2019 to 2020 were excluded. That means motion picture projectionists, which topped our initial list with a projected growth of 70.5% by 2030, weren’t included here.

That’s not the only way climate change may impact job growth. Research increasingly indicates that exposure to environmental factors associated with climate change — such as air pollutants and extreme heat events — increases the likelihood of having a child with genetic conditions or birth defects.

With almost all of the global population exposed to air pollutants and the frequency of extreme heat events rising, genetic counselors, who assess an individual’s risk of having a child with genetic conditions or birth defects, are expected to grow by more than a quarter (26.2%). That ranks it as the 16th fastest-growing job tracked here.

Meanwhile, as the frequency of forest fires increases annually, forest fire inspectors and prevention specialist roles are expected to grow by 23.9%. As exposure to air pollutants also leads to more respiratory conditions, respiratory therapist roles are expected to grow by 23.0%.

Full rankings: 30 fastest-growing job

RankJobNumber employed, 2020Number employed, 2030Employment change, 2020-2030% employment change, 2020-2030Median annual wages, 2021
1Wind turbine service technicians6,90011,7004,70068.2%$56,260
2Nurse practitioners220,300335,200114,90052.2%$120,680
3Solar photovoltaic installers11,80017,9006,10052.1%$47,670
4Statisticians42,00056,90014,90035.4%$95,570
5Physical therapist assistants93,800126,90033,20035.4%$61,180
6Information security analysts141,200188,30047,10033.3%$102,600
7Home health and personal care aides3,470,7004,600,6001,129,90032.6%$29,430
8Medical and health services managers429,800569,400139,60032.5%$101,340
9Data scientists and mathematical science occupations63,20083,00019,80031.4%$100,480
10Physician assistants129,400169,50040,10031.0%$121,530
11Epidemiologists7,80010,2002,30029.6%$78,830
12Logisticians191,000247,30056,40029.5%$77,030
13Speech-language pathologists158,100203,50045,40028.7%$79,060
14Animal trainers60,20077,40017,20028.5%$31,280
15Computer numerically controlled tool programmers27,10034,5007,40027.4%
16Genetic counselors2,4003,10060026.2%$80,150
17Crematory operators and personal care and service workers, all other80,500100,50019,90024.8%$29,610
18Operations research analysts104,100129,70025,60024.6%$82,360
19Actuaries27,70034,5006,80024.5%$105,900
20Health specialties teachers, postsecondary242,700301,60058,90024.3%$102,720
21Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists3,0003,70070023.9%$42,600
22Interpreters and translators81,400100,70019,30023.7%$49,110
23Athletic trainers30,00037,0007,00023.4%$48,420
24Respiratory therapists135,100166,20031,10023.0%$61,830
25Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors327,500402,60075,10022.9%$48,520
26Food preparation and serving-related workers71,20087,40016,20022.8%$29,120
27Postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers72,60088,90016,30022.4%$77,440
28Woodworker9,50011,6002,10022.2%$35,610
29Phlebotomists129,600158,40028,80022.2%$37,380
30Software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers1,847,9002,257,400409,50022.2%

Source: LendingTree analysis of BLS data. Note: The number of people employed in 2020 and 2030 and the change were rounded for display, so the difference between 2020 and 2030 may appear slightly different than the figure displayed in the change column.

Health care support has the highest growth rate of any industry

On a broader level, health care support (which includes roles such as home health aides, occupational therapy assistants and medical transcriptionists) is the fastest-growing industry. The number of jobs available in health care support is expected to grow by 23.1% by 2030 — far above the national average of 7.7%.

Despite the high growth rate, health care support workers make median annual wages of $29,880 — lower than the median annual wage in the U.S. ($45,760) and much lower than the median annual wage for health care practitioners and technician jobs ($70,050). This is largely due to lower educational levels. While many health care worker roles require doctoral or professional degrees, the majority of health care support workers don’t require similarly lengthy postsecondary education.

Following health care support, personal care and service occupations are expected to grow by 21.7%, making it the only industry with growth rates above 20%. Similarly, roles within this industry typically only require a high school diploma or associate degree. Annual median salaries were also lower than average, at $29,450.

College enrollment trends may be a contributing factor in the growth rate here. Total postsecondary enrollment, including undergraduate and graduate students, has declined for two years. According to the most recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC), enrollment decreased by 4.1% in spring 2022 compared to spring 2021.

Full rankings: Industries by growth rates

JobNumber employed, 2020Number employed, 2030Employment change, 2020-2030% employment change, 2020-2030Median annual wages, 2021
Health care support6,837,8008,418,0001,580,10023.1%$29,880
Personal care and service3,870,4004,711,400841,00021.7%$29,450
Food preparation and serving-related11,553,30013,820,8002,267,60019.6%$28,400
Computer and mathematical5,225,0005,959,900734,90014.1%$97,540
Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media2,662,2003,011,400349,20013.1%$51,190
Community and social service2,804,4003,151,300346,90012.4%$48,410
Health care practitioners and technical9,011,4009,985,900974,60010.8%$75,040
Educational instruction and library9,134,70010,055,200920,50010.1%$57,220
Management9,782,30010,689,100906,8009.3%$102,450
Legal1,328,7001,445,200116,6008.8%$82,430
Transportation and material moving12,673,20013,793,3001,120,1008.8%$36,860
Protective service3,417,2003,703,700286,4008.4%$46,590
Business and financial operations9,422,50010,173,300750,8008.0%$76,570
Life, physical and social science1,444,0001,557,800113,8007.9%$72,740
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance5,168,8005,555,600386,8007.5%$30,240
Installation, maintenance and repair5,847,3006,239,800392,5006.7%$47,940
Construction and extraction6,971,1007,371,200400,0005.7%$48,210
Architecture and engineering2,603,0002,748,900146,0005.6%$79,840
Farming, fishing and forestry1,061,8001,088,40026,6002.5%$29,860
Production8,766,5008,727,400-39,000-0.4%$37,710
Sales and related14,393,60014,190,700-202,900-1.4%$30,600
Office and administrative support19,554,70019,015,600-539,200-2.8%$38,050

Source: LendingTree analysis of BLS data. Note: The number of people employed in 2020 and 2030 and the change were rounded for display, so the difference between 2020 and 2030 may appear slightly different than the figure displayed in the change column.

3 industries expected to shrink

While most industries are projected to grow, three are expected to shrink. Among these, the office and administrative support industry is expected to shrink the most, declining 2.8% over the next eight-plus years. Part of the reason for the decline is technology-related. Many functions provided by office and administrative staff members can be accomplished (and, at times, fully automated) by technology, allowing staff in other roles to take on other administrative responsibilities in addition to their own tasks.

Following that, sales and related occupations are projected to decline by 1.4%, and production occupations are expected to decline by 0.4%. Technology also can be attributed to the decline in both industries. The rise of e-commerce has eliminated the need for many sales jobs in brick-and mortar stores, and the development of advanced manufacturing equipment has similarly eliminated many production jobs.

Schulz warns that individuals employed in these industries should be concerned about their ability to advance in their careers.

“You don’t necessarily have to change career fields right now, but it’s always wise to be thinking of your prospects,” Schulz says. “That includes developing and broadening your skill set, cultivating and expanding your network and pondering and working toward your goals. Those moves can make it easier for you to change jobs or careers in the future.”

Determining if you should switch careers — and how to do it without breaking the bank

While Schulz recommends those employed in roles with poor prospects should be cautious, it’s not necessarily an end-all and be-all if you’re happy with your job.

“If you’re passionate about an industry that’s struggling but it’s a great fit for your skills and personality, go after jobs in that field, by all means,” Schulz says. “Just because an industry is hurting doesn’t mean there aren’t many opportunities to be found in it.”

It’s also important to understand the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

“There’s no perfect, risk-free line of work,” Schulz says. “That new gig in that sexy, hot career field could come with an overbearing boss, crummy work-life balance and a host of other negatives that make you miserable.”

For those still considering a job or career change, Schulz offers the following advice:

  • Check what benefits your current employer offers. “One of the best things people can do is to see if their current employer offers reimbursement for education expenses,” Schulz says. “Even if they only cover a fraction of the cost, every little bit can make a difference.”
  • Consider what roles suit your needs and interests. Schulz recommends asking yourself key questions to determine your compatibility with a new potential career. Does the job fit your skill set? Are the salary and benefits competitive? Is there room to grow? Does this company reflect your values? Do they support a healthy work-life balance? Do you think you’d be challenged in — and maybe even enjoy — the job?

With so many personality and lifestyle factors to consider, what matters most?

“That’s up to you,” Schulz says. “Sorting out your workplace values takes time, but it’s important to do so before making a major move like changing jobs or industries.”

Methodology

To determine which jobs have the best outlook between 2020 and 2030, LendingTree researchers analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections. Specifically, researchers looked at four metrics:

  • Percentage growth: the projected percent change in the number of people working in each occupation from 2020 to 2030.
  • Median wages: the median annual wage in 2021 (the latest available).
  • Average annual openings: the projected number of annual openings for each occupation between 2020 and 2030.
  • Employment distribution: the projected percentage of people employed in each occupation in 2030.

Each metric was weighted equally. Jobs that didn’t have sufficient data across each metric were excluded from our analysis.

 

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