Friday, January 01, 2010

Career Choice In The Age of Outsourcing

American students are now being confronted with a critical new question: how to "outsource-proof" one's choice of college major and career path?

The global market is forcing a redistribution of wealth from formerly wealthy nations like the United States and those in the European Union to those traditionally poor countries with ever increasing numbers of well-educated citizens, like India and China. Many jobs that have traditionally gone to local American workers can now, in the Information Age, be done for a small fraction of the cost by skilled workers and technicians overseas. As the outsourcing boom born of the internet miracle continues to expand, and the economic playing field worldwide levels out in the face of competition from workers and professionals in other nations able to provide needed services for far less money, salaries in the U.S. and E.U. will likely decline over the next few decades compared to those in other countries. For the foreseeable future, American and European professionals will have to adjust to continuous downward pressure on salaries while those in other locales experience the opposite phenomena.

What advice, then, should American parents give their college-bound children regarding educational majors and careers? As economic boundaries blur, and given the unstable, unpredictable outlook for professional employment opportunities here in the U.S., how do we help prepare the next generation of American young people for success?

Excellent online resources now enable parents and students to research and analyze various career paths in just a short while. At these sites, critical factors such as average salary, predicted job growth in the U.S. over the next 10 years, stress level, a "day in the life," etc. can be examined and compared in great detail, often yielding surprising results.

For example:

Did you know that there's an "under the radar" professional job that offers tip-top growth, quality of life, flexibility, and attainability, a median salary of almost $80,000 per year, and is highly resistant to outsourcing ... yet requires only a bachelors degree? It's the exciting Physician Assistant field (For more information, click the associated link in the U.S. News and World Report "Best Careers 2007" table, referenced below.)

Below are some links to help you begin your research on hot career paths for early 21st century college graduates:


My favorite general career path resource is the U.S. News and World Report careers site, located in the Money & Business section of their main site:

Featuring advice on topics as diverse as best careers for 2007, top government jobs, whether or not grad school makes sense, socially conscious careers, overrated careers, calculators to comparing job offers and cost of living, etc., this site is a fantastic place to start.

Their "Best Careers 2007" table offers a quick overview of the most promising American careers.

In addition, ace career consultant Marty Nemko has written several excellent articles on the U.S. News site that deserve special attention, among them: Most–and least–rewarding careers, and Get-Ahead Careers for 2007.


The Johns Hopkins University Career Center Web site offers numerous links to online career and job-related resources:


Finally, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics offers all the information only a huge government bureaucracy can assemble.

Two of their online databases provide detailed, current information on just about any job and career field imaginable.

They are the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and the Career Guide to Industries.


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