A career field expected to have near-term growth in open positions and expected salaries is attractive. Such in-demand jobs requiring specific skills often yield the better salaries.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is the authoritative source for salary trends and predictions. Most experts make further predictions about salary patterns based on their insights into the BLS data.
Some salaries soar
Fortune Magazine pinpoints several professions that had significant salary growth in the past few years, a trend expected to continue. These require specific skill sets, and while not all are big money makers, each experienced a climb in average annual salary.
The highest paying is communications manager, which commands a median base pay of $84,000 in 2016, up 5 percent from $80,000 in 2015.
Although on the lower end of salaries on the list, certified nursing assistants experienced an impressive 11 percent median base pay increase from $45,000 in 2015 to $50,000 in 2016. Sales managers also experienced an 11 percent increase, going from 2015’s $66,040 to $73,000 in 2016.
Demand spurs professions
The demand for some professions is increasing, which means higher salaries as companies scramble to find qualified people.
The BLS list of fastest growing occupations is topped by wind turbine service technician. That field typically involves on-the-job training and doesn’t always require college or previous experience.
Occupational therapy assistant comes in second on the fastest-growth list. This career field is expected to grow much faster than average, followed by physical therapy assistant and physical therapist aid fields.
Health care is a recurring theme on this list of growing occupations. The U.S. Census Bureau suggests that the older population (age 65 and older) within the U.S. will grow at an increased rate through 2050.
The largest salary listed is optometrist at a median annual salary of $103,900, which grew much faster than average.
As the population ages, health care will continue to be a booming career field. As the need for qualified medical professionals grows, so should the salaries and benefits used to lure new candidates.
Technology salaries grow
The website CIO reports technology careers enjoyed an annual salary increase of 7.7 percent from the year 2015 to 2016. The website also says bonuses rose alongside salaries.
While reportedly half of these salary increases resulted from internal pay increases, the other half were from tech employees moving on to other employers for better wages.
CIO questions whether the tech field can keep salaries increasing. It suggests employers soon may favor larger bonuses over increased salaries.
Location impacts growth
Salaries vary regionally, just as they do among careers. Certain cities provide bigger salary growth potential. Unfortunately, they may also have higher costs of living.
Omaha does not appear on the list of largest growing salaries by metro area provided by Headlight Data. The closest metro area on the list is Kansas City, with a one-year salary growth of 3.5 percent. Compare this to San Jose, Calif., which boasts an annual salary growth of 7.5 percent.
Fortunately, Omaha is not listed among the metro areas with the slowest growing salaries.
Find your career path
To get the fastest growing salary, you should consider a rapidly growing profession in locations where rapidly growing salaries are the norm. Jobs in medical care, renewable energy production and other fields which consider the future are a good bet.
Before you accept a position, understand the changes the future may bring. This can help you gauge potential salary increases. To accept a job in a dwindling industry probably won’t yield strong salary.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a fortune teller to predict which career fields will lead to growing salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently offers up-to-date statistics regarding the direction of career fields and salaries.
A little research before you decide upon a career can yield great benefits.