Researching potential careers a smart move

Dear Working Wise: I’m in my first year of college and I’m a bit concerned about my career options two years from now

Dear Working Wise: I’m in my first year of college and I’m a bit concerned about my career options two years from now.

The recession seems to have affected every industry and I’m wondering where the jobs will be when I graduate. Are there any sure bets? — Concerned Co-ed

Dear Concerned Co-ed: There are no guarantees in life, but checking out the projected future demand for occupations is a smart career move.

The Government of Alberta has all sorts of labour force statistics from occupational profiles, wage and salary surveys, and occupational supply and demand projections. This information can be extremely helpful to you in researching potential careers, including what the working conditions are like, what education you need, how much money you’ll make and how likely you are to find work after you finish school.

The Alberta Occupational Demand Outlook 2009-2013 predicts what the demand will be for 140 occupations in 14 industries over the next five years. Demand for the following occupations is expected to have above average growth (over one per cent) between now and 2013:

• Managers in food service and accommodation (+2.8 per cent);

• Managers in health, education, social and community services (+1.5 per cent);

• Managers in public administration (+2.4 per cent);

• Pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists (+1.3 per cent);

• University professors and assistants (+1.7 per cent);

• Secondary and elementary school teachers and educational counselors (+1.7 per cent);

• Sales and service supervisors (+1.8 per cent);

• Chefs and cooks (+2.6 per cent);

• Occupations in food and beverage service (+2.8 per cent);

• Police officers and firefighters (+3 per cent);

• Other occupations in protective service (+2.8 per cent);

• Butchers and bakers (+1.9 per cent).

Examples of occupations that are expected to see demand drop by more than half a per cent include:

• Managers in financial and business services (-1.7 per cent);

• Finance and insurance administrative occupations (-0.8 per cent);

• Mail and message distribution occupations (-0.8 per cent);

• Transportation officers and controllers (-0.8 per cent);

• Photographers, graphic artists, performing artists (-0.8 per cent);

• Insurance and real estate sales and buyers (-1.7 per cent);

• Personal service occupations (-0.7% per cent);

• Supervisors, railway and motor transportation occupations (-0.7 per cent);

• Upholsterers, tailors, shoe repairers, jewelers and related occupations (-0.6 per cent);

• Printing press operators, commercial divers and other trades (-0.8 per cent);

• Motor vehicle and transit drivers (-0.7 per cent);

• Train crew operating occupations (-0.9 per cent);

• Other transport equipment operators and related workers (-0.8 per cent);

• Contractors, operators and supervisors in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture (-4.2 per cent);

• Agriculture and horticulture workers (-4.5 per cent);

• Logging machinery operators (-3.9 per cent);

• Logging and forestry workers (-0.6 per cent);

• Machine operators and related workers in pulp and paper production and wood processing (-0.7 per cent).

Occupations missing from these lists showed little anticipated change in demand.

The following resources that can help you navigate the ups and downs of the current economy and chart a bright future for yourself:

• — offers labour force statistics, current and future projected skill shortages and the latest wage and salary information for more than 400 occupations;

• — offers career-planning and self-assessment tools plus the OCC Info Occupational Profiles database. OCC Info has profiles for over 500 occupations.

You can search the OCC Info database by job title and find out everything about an occupation, including job duties, working conditions, educational requirements, how to enter and advance your career in the occupation and salary information.

Working Wise is compiled weekly by Charles Strachey, a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. Work-related questions can be sent to him at Working Wise is provided for general information only. Help with specific situations is available through Alberta Employment Standards by calling 1-877-427-3731.