Fastest Growing Jobs: The Qualities You Need to Succeed

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Changes to the U.S. workforce are raging full speed ahead, and technology is not the only catalyst. We are also seeing four major demographic shifts, including 91.7% of population growth currently attributed to minorities. Workers are trending toward freelance careers, with a predicted 40% going this route by 2020. Women are signing off from corporate America to start their own businesses. Speaking of leaving, 40% of the workforce will soon be hanging up their up their hats when Baby Boomers retire, taking their years of experience and knowledge with them. It’s easy to see why the workforce of the future will look very different than it does today.

What Qualities Do You Need to Succeed in the Fastest Growing Jobs?

What skills will a person need to successfully navigate this new horizon? One place to start is the jobs forecasted to be the fastest growing in the next decade. What are they and what qualities are needed to help a person succeed in her chosen career? Today we will focus on two sectors that are forecasted to see the most job growth within the next decade.


fastest growing jobs healthcare

The healthcare industry by far surpasses all fields in future growth and opportunity. In a list of the 30 fastest growing jobs compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook and Career Guide to Industries, 15 of them (50%) were in the healthcare industry. The jobs range in skillset, education requirements and function. Here is a small sample of some examples, with projected growth rates:

  • Personal Care Aide: 8 percent
  • Home Health Aide: 5 percent
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: 46 percent
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant: 6 percent
  • Physical Therapist Assistant: 41 percent
  • Physician Assistant: 4 percent
  • Physical Therapist: 36 percent
  • Nurse Practitioner: 7 percent
  • Dental Hygienist: 3 percent
  • Medical Equipment Repairer: 3 percent

The fact that so many healthcare positions are cropping up is directly related to one of the four major workforce trends I introduced above: Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are not only retiring, they’re ageing. The History Channel reports that by the year 2030, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. This not only means that there will be a large strain on the healthcare industry, but it also means Baby Boomers who worked as nurses and in other healthcare professions will be retiring. So not only will we have more people likely to need healthcare, we will have less people to offer it to them. 

While it’s obvious that various technical and practical skills are needed to execute roles in healthcare, there are less obvious skills that are truly fundamental to the field. These are soft skills – the personal character traits or qualities each of us has -and they help us effectively and efficiently do our jobs, no matter how technical the job is. Here are three fundamental soft skills, or characteristics, needed to succeed in the healthcare field:

Three Fundamental Skills Needed to Succeed in the Healthcare Field

Emotional IntelligencePurpose-DrivenLifelong Learning

  1. Emotional Intelligence (EQ): In order to work with people, particularly those going through the stress of illnesses, or bursting at the seams with questions about their health, it’s imperative to have a high EQ. People with high EQs are skilled in active listening and are aware of their own emotional state, which enables them to respond rather than react. Emotional intelligence is also a great aid in relationship building, a place where any patient-interfacing employee should excel. Aging and health conditions are sensitive topics, so being able to carefully listen, remain even-keeled, and create the comfort of a genuine relationship are qualities interlinked with success in the field.
  1. Purpose-Driven: Working in healthcare gives employees the opportunity to find purpose in their work a little easier than say, accounting. For a person who is purpose-driven, the opportunity to see their work make a direct impact on other people’s lives not only enriches their career, but also their life. For example, being a personal health or home heath aide takes a lot of patience and can be exhausting. Sometimes a patient’s life is in a home health aide’s hands, which can cause pressure on the aide, especially with anxious family members on the sidelines. But if the health worker finds purpose and meaning in the work they do for others, these very real challenges will be met with energy and genuine interest—true indicators of success.
  1. Lifelong Learning: The rapid evolution of technology affects all aspects of modern life, and healthcare is no exception. To be successful in the healthcare industry, a person should enjoy being in a constant state of learning. There will always be new research to study, new machines to learn, new approaches to consider, and new techniques to employ. A person who loves to learn will be able to offer the best care possible throughout their career.


Fastest growing jobs technology

Not surprisingly, the technology sector will also see a lot of growth in the next decade. We’ve come to expect new technological developments at a rapid pace, but shouldn’t forget that these technologies also need to be managed and monitored. Human beings maintain all of that office technology we’ve come to desperately rely on, and human beings develop it. Here is a small sampling of the highest growing technology jobs and their projected growth rates:

  • Database Administrators: 30.6 percent
  • Database and Systems Administrators and Network Architects: 28.5 percent
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 27.8 percent
  • Software Developers, Applications: 27.6 percent
  • Software Developers, Systems Software: 32.4 percent

Just like healthcare, it’s obvious that specific technical skills are needed to succeed in the technology sector. But the education requirements we are used to are changing, especially when it comes to the tech world, allowing room for non-traditional approaches to learning. Brick and mortar schools are now sharing the stage with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), as well as several popup academies run by co-working spaces and startups offering excellent classes to those wanting to excel in the technology field.

However, you can’t learn everything you need to succeed in the technology field with skills and knowledge training alone. Success is also dependent on certain characteristics that, with thought and attention, can also be developed. Here are three fundamental soft skills, or characteristics, needed to succeed in the technology field:

Three Fundamental Skills Needed to Succeed in the Technology Field

Emotional IntelligencePurpose-DrivenLifelong Learning (1)

  1. Entrepreneurial Mindset: There may be no other field that requires as much out of the box thinking as technology does. New products and platforms are built and tested all the time, which only inspires more and more to be built. Software developers, who are actually building the applications and system software, are often fueled by an entrepreneurial mindset, and thrive in a culture of constant innovation. Apple reports that developers submit over 1,000 apps to their app store per day. That means competition is fierce and it takes an entrepreneurial mindset to have any hope of success.Those not working in development, such as network and computer systems administrators or network architects, still need an entrepreneurial mindset. Why? They need the ability to creatively ascertain how to incorporate new technologies into their current system, and pitch their leaders about up-and-coming products and platforms that will benefit the organization as a whole.
  1. Diverse to the Core: In the future, people that we currently consider to be minorities will be the majority of consumers, clients, employees and leaders. Technology needs to be developed and managed with that fact in mind, or it will fail. To be truly successful in the technology field, products and systems need to be usable, accessible, and intuitive to more than the stale, pale and male contingency.
  1. Lifelong Learning: Someone who does not like to be in a continual state of learning simply won’t survive in the technology field. With constant changes and developments, learning is integral to all aspects of the technology field.

Putting these two career fields together, we see that a person with emotional intelligence who is purpose driven, diverse to the core, loves learning and has an entrepreneurial mindset is a person prepared to succeed in the future of work. I believe these five traits are in fact the core traits needed for all future leaders.

How do you rate yourself when it comes to these characteristics? Are you strong in emotional intelligence but lack an interest in continual learning? It’s a great thing to measure as you progress in your career and leadership. Let us know in the comment section below, send an email, or find me on Twitter.

P.S. If you want to start future-proofing your organization, consider developing your employee and leadership EQ-base with my keynote, Improve Your Organizations EQ to Improve the Bottom Line. Read more about it here.

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1 Comment

  1. This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg
    June 14, 2016

    […] Anne Loehr highlighted and unpacked the “Fastest Growing Jobs: The Qualities You Need to Succeed.” […]


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