Is it time to change your career or job?

It depends. In these divisive political times, there is a polarization of views on the economic health of the nation. Perceptions range from projected growth and hiring to stagnation and job loss.

The truth is that for educated professionals, the 2017 outlook of 2.3-2.6% annual growth is nearly double what it was for 2016. With the unemployment rate at 4.7%, the lowest rate since before the Great Recession, employers are increasing compensation to hire and train for middle class and upper level positions at a rapid pace.

Good times are finally here for the professional job market

According to an 1/7/16 article in the New York Times, the prospects for the 40% of the workforce with college degrees or technical training are the best they’ve been in over a decade. However, the gains are not universal and potential protectionist policies may exacerbate some of the discrepancies between industries.

If you are in the right career and industry, your employment situation has significantly improved. Some of the trends are staggering. Professional and business services (including digital marketing) , education (including e-learning), and health have added more than one million jobs each over the last two years.

What does all this mean for you?

The improved economic health of the nation argues for the taking stock of your career and industry. If your field is growing, great. If it has become unfriendly to older workers or is contracting, you may want to assess your transferable skills and experience. Many of your contributions could be appealing to growing fields. For example, some encore professionals are moving into traditional and non-traditional education (e-learning). Some other options include cyber-security and supply chain management for security, compliance, and business operations pros. Business analysts and marketing folks may want to explore Big Data. There are more than 23 broad fields that are in a hiring frenzy. And many of these employers are more open now to hiring people 40-60 years old than in the last decade.

How easy is it to switch?

According to a 2015 research study by the American Institute of Economic Research, 82% of older workers reported successful career transitions after 45. What were some of their characteristics? They targeted growing fields and improved their technical skills. They also had strong transferable skills, such as interpersonal effectiveness, time management and organization,

In addition, they were: motivated and committed to change and entered growing fields that were more open to newcomers. They also clarified the skills they liked to use and combined these with long-held interests. They “tried” on the new field and planned a job change campaign.

In my experience with older career and job changers, I’ve found that the motivation to change and entering growing fields with easier entry are two key factors of career/job change success.  I’ll cover motivation and some growing fields here. In the following months, I’ll explore transferable skills and career exploration.


Examine and try to answer the following questions taken from motivational interviewing techniques.

  • How would you like your current career situation be different?
  • What has happened to make you think you need to change?
  • If you stay where you are, what will happen?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 the most painful, how much distress is your current situation causing you?
  • How will your career and life change now and in 2 years if you make the switch successfully?
  • What are the most important factors getting in your way?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most committed, how determined are you to change your situation?


Answering these questions honestly will give you a good idea of whether you’re ready to make the change.


“Hot Fields”

We’ve selected those broad careers that demonstrate strong growth through 2024, have a reasonable number of openings in the future and offer compensation above $50,000 a year. Many of these occupations and industries provide a considerable quantity and quality of specific positions. The 20 areas that met our standards are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing/3D Printing
  • Big Data and The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Biotechnology
  • Business Operations (DevOps), General Operations Manager)
  • Cyber & Information Security
  • Digital Marketing/Social Media
  • E-Learning & education
  • Energy & Environment
  • Financial Advisors
  • Geospatial
  • Global: Translators and Interpreters
  • Health Informatics
  • Information Technology (Cloud, Mobile, Human Factors, User Experience, Software Development, Systems Analyst)
  • Marketing : Market Research Analysts & Marketing Specialists; Meeting and Event Planners, Graphic Designers
  • Medicine: Patient Advocate, Physician’s Assistant, Elder Care, Health Educator, Physical Therapist, Veterinarians and many more traditional paths, like advanced practice nursing.
  • Mental Health: Counseling: Family and Marriage, Personal, Addiction
  • Nanotechnology
  • Robotics
  • Sales: Technology, Commercial Real Estate, Business Services
  • Supply Chain Management & Logistics

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these careers are expected to grow 14%-30% over the next decade, far faster than the average career, which is projected to increase by 7%. Many of these industries are poised to generate billions, if not trillions, in new revenues. These professions and industries are the engine of economic growth and new job generation in the U.S. for the next decade and beyond.

If you’d like to discuss your particular situation and how we could help you make the change happen, contact us at jscherer@21stcenturycareer.com or 973-544-8296. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter on this website.