Top 3 Careers to Avoid: According to 150 HR Execs

Listen up college kids! When global consultant group Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. surveyed 150 human resource executives, they didn't expect such delicious irony.

According to the survey (as published by, the top three careers they advised college freshmen to avoid are:

1. Law

2. Marketing/Advertising

3. Human Resources

At the very bottom of the list was the legal profession, selected by just 1.4% of respondents. Slightly more than 2.0% felt their own career of choice (human resources) would be worth pursuing in college.

"This recession may have many freshmen second-guessing career plans. Certainly those who were contemplating a future in financial services or home building may be looking for new options," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

So which degrees did the executives select as the best to pursue?

1. Computer Science & Information Technology

2. Engineering

3. Health Care

Computer science/information technology topped engineering as the most-recommended field of study. Instructed to select just one field from the 11 provided, 16% of survey respondents selected this field. Engineering was favored among 15% of human resource executives, while medicine/health care was recommended by 14.3%.

"It is impossible to predict what the job market will look like in four years," explained Challenger. "Young people entering college this fall could graduate into a job market that is still recovering from recession."

So what's the secret to career success in a recovering market?

According to Challenger, it's all about flexibility, "With so much uncertainty, it is best to seek skills that are flexible and highly transferable between various industries."

"The areas recommended by human resource executives, while appearing to be relatively specialized on the surface, actually provide future graduates with a great amount of flexibility to pursue careers in a wide range of fields that are emerging now or could emerge over the next two decades."

What's the outlook for government jobs?

Fewer than 5% of respondents recommended public service (government/non-profit) as the best career path to pursue. But Challenger noted, "The federal government could be a very fruitful source of jobs in the coming years, as many departments see their staffs depleted from retirements. However, despite the increasing need for replacement workers, the government has done little to streamline the hiring process or improve its image when it comes to being a great place to work."

But for those who choose one of the top-three recommended fields, there should be ample job opportunities regardless of the economy's health. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in the computer/IT and engineering sectors is expected to grow 22% and 11% respectively by 2016. While in the health care field, 3 million jobs are expected to be added by 2016.

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

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david baer

There are some thin if the legitimate work as a line there. Most are sites and marketing study for the site owner rich, not you. The only thing is true legitimacy Ebay, selling things you already own
Many companies all over the world need your opinions on their products. They will send you a simple online survey forms, where you need to fill it out and they pay you money.


December 30 2009 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
I h8 U all

This conversation took a turn for the stupid. I hate you all. Get a life.

September 11 2009 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you fellow Americans but we are in deep trouble with jobs going overseas.
Also let me state our Goverment just does not give a damm.

September 08 2009 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Problem is that people have quickly maxed themselves out in salary and also became too specialized for their own good. I will use my last job as a perfect example. Last company I worked with, the general counsel hired six people to do specific jobs. Three attorneys did nothing but contracts, two attorneys specifically were assigned to handle compliance work, and one attorney was assigned to real estate matters. Each attorney had his/her own assistant. Guess what...when the CEO announced company wide cutbacks, the legal department lost half of its staff. The layoffs could have been easily been avoided if my former boss knew how to manage and delegate work better. There was no need to hire three contract attorneys. Two attorneys could have easily managed contracts with a paralegal handling basic agreements. Instead, you had three high paid employees handle agreements from multi million dollar agreements to copier leases. Ridiculous. On top of that, the other three attorneys had little to do because there were not that many matters and issues regarding real estate and compliance. Real estate could have easily been handled by outside counsel and the compliance attorney could have either worked part time or assisted with overflow and handled other legal matters. However due to poor management, seven people (four attorneys and three legal assistants) had lost their jobs.

September 08 2009 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miss Len\'

the future of the entire field of "american jobs" will rely upon jobs which require the employee to actually, physically, be "on-site, within the united states" in order to complete their job. the american government agreed to "the north american free-trade agreement" and has allowed, without adequatly imposing "financial deterrents" to penalize (american companies) with enough fees and stricter regulations. make it more difficult to accrue corporate cash by outsourcing jobs beyond our borders with strict, high cost, and excessive multi-layered requirements. fees for allowing the "american companies" to be headquartered within the us, while doing portions of their business within other countries, should be required to pay "american wages" to the cheaper, immigrated workers they "sponsor" for work visas for a wage the immigrant is willing to accept. because the immigrant is willing to accept so much less wages, ESPECIALLY from countries whose "dollar" is still worth less than our "american dollar" american corporations should be required to pay american based wage amounts, for jobs requiring completion on american soil, particularly by actively immigrating experienced/degreed laborers. make it unfavorable for american corporations to outsource and/or immigrate for jobs which american citizens are qualified and available in the us as needed. their are mounds of red tape when the poor among us seek assistance... make mounds of red tape for american companies to outsource our jobs where labor costs are a fraction.

uneducated immigrants come here to earn higher wages doing jobs most american's arent interested in, such as delivery personnel, bathroom attendants, dishwashers, etc. some come in hopes of uplifting their families back home, some come to learn the language, work, educate themselves and move to higher levels. these people see opportunity in hard work. americans take for granted what these pepole see as better opportunity. without these immigrants... who would deliver our pizzas and chinese take-out?

get after our government to make changes. i live in a dead city which was once well known as "the hardware city of the world" till they all moved. ever use a stanley tool? a stanley tape measure? see stanley labeled on the store doors as they open for you? stanley started here. they left too. the factories sit idle downtown. only the government can take control... or not...

September 08 2009 at 6:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Owen

Having been recruited here in the UK by an Ohio based company in October 2007 and having suffered redundancy within 9 months, I was 'thrown on the scrapheap'. I bear the company no malice - because there were thousands of redundancies 'in the states'.

Here in the UK, there are very few Jobs for 58 year old (but highly successful) Sales Managers from the Construction Industry. Even so, certain principles hold good between us. One is to 'sell yourselves out of a crisis'. So I gained enquiries from organisations who wanted to buy products available from US and European manufacturers, but which were unobtainable in the UK.

Suppliers in Europe (and China) clamoured for the business that I had to offer. I'm sorry to say that NOT ONE US manufacturer responded - other than promising to 'be in touch'..... They never were.

COME ON AMERICA. You're the home of invention. The true home of manufacture. You've plenty of great products to sell ! That's the BEST way out of recession. Have faith in yourselves ! 'Take the plunge'. Because if you don't - you'll be the loosers.

September 08 2009 at 5:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All the we had are now located in China and India!

September 08 2009 at 5:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If only Adam & Eve would had not committed the first sin, all of us would be living in a worry free society.

September 08 2009 at 4:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Guess what was on the news tonight? A big story exposing all of these "work from home" scam artists on the web! They get desperate unemployed people to sign up, take the last of whatever money they had to live off of, and like clockwork, it doesn't work out. You're as bad as the Canadian roommate scams on Craigslist, if not worse.

September 08 2009 at 4:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are many jobs in the field of public transportation. It is a very up coming field. Study and get your class b with air brakes and you will be able to find a job. A class A will get you a job even quicker. A real job with out being scammed. Good luck

September 08 2009 at 4:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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