Job Market Predictions for 2013 and Beyond, Part I

Whether unemployed, well-employed, or self-employed, it helps to have a sense of what's next.


Whether you're a clerk or a CEO, unemployed, well-employed, or self-employed, it helps to have a sense of what's next. Here's my take:

The prediction I keep making that has been wrong. For the decade since the human genome was decoded, it seemed clear that breakthroughs in individualized medicine were imminent: for example, cancer treatment customized to a person's genetic makeup. But nope, no real breakthroughs yet. However, recent exchanges with leading genetics researchers—Stanford University's William Newsome, the Beijing Genomics Institute's Steve Hsu, University of California’s Richard Haier, and Executive Director of the Society for Neuroscience Marty Saggese—force me to continue making my heretofore wrong prediction. One word of career advice to the next generation of science- and math-oriented students: "biotech."

Education reinvented. The spate of reports showing education's failure to close the achievement gap may finally force schools to make needed dramatic changes. Here are examples that will likely accelerate in 2013 and beyond:

Flipped classrooms: Online lessons taught by top instructors and multimedia will replace homework, with regular class time spent providing one-on-one coaching, the human touch. Colleges will be required to post a College Report Card, consumer information on their home page reporting freshman-to-senior growth in reading and thinking skills, four-year graduation rate, employment rate of graduates by major, etc.

Longshot prediction: By 2025, most students will get their college degree at a dramatically lower cost by taking online courses through services such as Coursera, Udacity, and Khan Academy, with the government acting as record keeper, awarding a degree when students have completed sufficient courses.

Innovations in healthcare access will burgeon. Medical errors cause enormous numbers of people to die or suffer excess morbidity: unnecessary pain, longer recovery, etc. ObamaCare will mean that more than 40 million Americans who were previously uncovered are now eligible to receive medical care, plus the 12 million people currently in the U.S. illegally. Few experts predict that there will be an accompanying increase in doctors, nurses, MRI machines, operating rooms, etc. On the contrary, many doctors are quitting and fewer people are becoming MDs because of the low reimbursements and heavy paperwork, which will likely increase further.

Career implications: Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest HMO, is a major beneficiary of ObamaCare and jobs there should be plentiful. Medical tourism companies will hire. Solo practitioners will offer greater access ... for an out-of-pocket fee. Care will downscale: More physical therapy work will be done by physical therapy assistants. Same for occupational therapy. More MD work will be done by physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and more anesthesiology will be done by nurse anesthetists. The nursing shortage will be addressed by hiring more RNs with just a two-year degree. Demand will grow for medical lab technicians as blood and urine tests cost less than in-the-patient diagnostic procedures. To improve efficiency, many jobs will be created to develop and implement electronic medical records systems.

Longshot prediction: Declining medical access will generate renewed calls from the Left for single-payer healthcare and, from the Right, "more skin in the game" fee-for service healthcare.

Telework will grow. Telecommuting will grow as employers want to save costs of office space and time-crunched workers want to decrease their ever-longer commute times. In addition, with video-conferencing ever better and less expensive, virtual meetings will increasingly replace the hassle-filled business trip.

The Middle East situation will complexify. Tensions are escalating in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, and Libya, on top of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Because of the Middle East oil reserves, the threat of terrorism, and a likely nuclear Iran, jobs addressing the Middle East mess should be plentiful. The FBI, CIA, military, and other agencies as well as nonprofits will likely hire more people who speak Middle Eastern languages and have cultural expertise.

Leftward Ho. America is accelerating its antipathy toward capitalism and corporations and its support for nonprofit and government initiatives. The public is willing to further tax the rich and add more regulatory burdens on corporations. President Obama's reelection and the Republicans' fears of skewing too far right should allow Keynesian government expansionist policies to trump deficit reduction. Thus the government's percentage of GDP should grow in 2013 and beyond.

Career implication: Job growth should be best in the government sector. Bonus: Government jobs are the most likely to provide job security and full benefits.

Stay tuned for six other predictions next week.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach" and he was Contributing Editor for Careers at U.S. News. His sixth and seventh books were published in 2012: How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America. More than 1,000 of his published writings are free on He posts here every Monday.

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