The Biggest Job Trends To Be Ready For In 2013

job trends in 2013

My job forecasts over the past decade have been reasonably accurate. For example, 12 of the 13 predictions I made in the latest edition of my book, Cool Careers for Dummies, have come to pass. I was wrong about No. 13, thankfully: I predicted another 9/11-scale terrorist attack in the U.S. and, in turn, another explosion in Homeland Security hiring.

So, even though it's said that he who lives by the crystal ball eats broken glass, I dare sally forth yet again.

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:

1. The prediction I keep making that has been wrong will finally come true.

The biotech sector will explode. 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, there have been no real breakthroughs -- yet.

However, my recent conversations with leading genetics researchers -- Stanford's William Newsome, the Beijing Genomics Institute's Steve Hsu, the University of California's Richard Haier, the University of London's Robert Plomin and the Society for Neuroscience Executive Director Marty Saggese -- force me to continue making my heretofore wrong prediction. Indeed, if I had to give one word of career advice to the next generation of science- and math-oriented students it would be "biotech."

More: Hot Jobs In Growth Sectors: Where The Opportunities Are In 2013

2. Education will be reinvented.

The spate of reports documenting education's failure to close the achievement gap may finally force schools to make the needed dramatic changes. Here are examples of such changes 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 that details freshman-to-senior growth in reading and thinking skills, four-year graduation rates, employment rates of graduates by major, etc.

3. Long shot prediction: Cost of getting a college degree will decline.

By 2025 most students will get their college degrees at dramatically lower cost by taking online courses through services such as Coursera and Udacity. But not the now-hot Khan Academy, which is irretrievably boring to all but the hypermotivated. The government will act as record keeper, awarding a degree when students have completed sufficient courses.

4. The Affordable Care Act will create lots of jobs.

Due to "Obamacare," 40 million-plus more Americans, as well as the 11 million people currently in the U.S. illegally, will have access to health care. Few experts predict that there will be an accompanying increase in doctors, nurses, MRI machines and operating rooms. 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, a nonprofit/for-profit amalgam, is a major beneficiary of Obamacare and jobs there should be plentiful. Care will continue to be downscaled: More physical therapy will be done by physical therapy assistants. Same for occupational therapy. More MD work will be done by physician assistants and nurse practitioners, anesthesiology by nurse anesthetists. The nursing shortage will be addressed by hiring more RNs with just a two-year degree.

More: The New Approach To Job Searching

5. Health care IT jobs will explode.

Demand will grow for medical lab technicians as blood and urine tests cost less than in-patient diagnostic procedures. To improve efficiency, many jobs will be created in health care IT: patient portals, telemedicine, mobile apps, technology-enhanced diagnosis, and especially electronic medical records and billing systems to manage the labyrinthine Obamacare system.

6. Telework will become mainstream.

Telecommuting will increase as employers want to save costs of office space and time-crunched workers want to save the ever-longer commute time. In addition, with Skype and other videoconferencing services ever-better and less expensive, virtual meetings will increasingly replace the hassle-filled business trip.

7. The Middle East situation will get even more complex -- and lead to more hiring in some federal agencies.

Tensions continue to keep us on high alert about Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran and Libya, as well as Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. Because of the Middle East oil reserves, the threat of terrorism, and a likely nuclear Iran, jobs related to the Middle East mess should be plentiful. The FBI, CIA, U.S. military and other government agencies -- as well as nonprofits -- will likely continue to increase hiring people with Middle Eastern language and cultural competencies.

More: How To Find A Telecommuting-Friendly Job

8. America will tilt left.

America is accelerating its antipathy toward capitalism and corporations and its support for nonprofit and government initiatives. The majority of 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.

9. Pot jobs will be smoking.

Washington and Colorado having legalized pot should, ahem, grow jobs for pot farmers and "bud-tenders" -- salespeople at pot dispensaries. Advocates will also be emboldened to seek a nationwide high, thus creating jobs working for legalization advocacy groups such as NORML.

I feel the need to editorialize here: As a career counselor who has seen so many pot users suffer loss of memory and motivation, I can't help but think that legalization will increase use and thereby lower the national IQ and drive, the last thing we need. In addition, family and coworkers of frequent pot users suffer as well, as well as the victims of traffic accidents. But I digress.

10. Social media may be peaking.

Facebook's decline from its offering price is emblematic of what I'm seeing on the ground. Companies are not seeing ROI for their spend on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and so some are starting to pull back. VC investment in social media is declining, and even the social media consultants I speak with are less enthusiastic about the effectiveness of what they're selling.
One social-media job that should continue to burgeon: social media data miner -- identifying customer wants from people's Facebook and LinkedIn activities.

More: Best Jobs For 2013

11. Long-shot prediction: Live events and connections will replace virtual ones.

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, like MySpace before them, will soon become yesterday's fad. What will be next? I believe the shallowness of Facebook "friends" and Twitter "followers" will resurrect the need for real connections. MeetUps, live and, yes, virtual, will grow, fueled by a likely continued poor job market -- people with time on their hands will take the time to meet others in-person.

Hardware prediction: Tablets such as iPads including the Mini will soon become obsolete. The new standard will be a pocket-size "phablet" with fold-out screen. The first of its kind could be the Samsung Galaxy S4, which will be announced in the first quarter of 2013.

12. Jobs related to energy-efficiency will grow -- yes, really.

The solar and wind stock indices are down more than 90 percent (!) from their December 2007 highs. That bodes poorly for the alternative energy industry. But reducing carbon footprint and increasing energy independence remain important, so government will likely reallocate tax dollars from alternative energy and toward making buildings and vehicles more efficient, and from road construction toward mass transit. Job growth will reflect those changes in priority. In addition, utilities' conversion to smart grids will create jobs for IT and engineering types.

Long-shot prediction: The next-generation, safer nuclear power plants will become acceptable as memories of Fukushima fade, replaced by promises of an ultra-safe, zero-carbon-footprint, unlimited source of clean energy.

13. Immigration reform will create lots of jobs.

President Obama has stated that one of his top priorities is to enact comprehensive immigration reform. That will create government jobs in administering the legalization process and in teaching immigrants how to pass the citizenship test.

Once legal, the immigrants will be eligible for Obamacare, which will trigger great demand for bilingual providers of health care. That will also spur need for social service providers -- for example, counselors and social workers.

And whatever business you're in, from entertainment to the environment, having 11 million people "come out of the shadows" may create business opportunities that should be considered in planning for 2013 and beyond.

More: Why You Need A Career Bucket List In 2013

14. Un- and underemployment will keep rising.

There's a perfect storm for increased unemployment: returning vets, baby boomers who can't afford to retire, 11 million illegal immigrants now eligible for legal employment, slowed hiring by government, a sluggish economy here and worldwide, relative strength in China, and increased workplace regulation and payroll costs of hiring Americans (e.g. Obamacare, paid family leave, workers comp).

And then there's worker-replacing technology, such as robots that replace everyone from soldiers to pharmacy assistants, voice/pattern-recognizing machines that replace sales clerks and customer service reps, software that replaces paralegals and appraisers, and soon, driverless trucks. As a result, unemployment will rise, and part-time and temp work will become the new normal. And ever more work will be offshored to low-cost countries, now that American companies are learning how to work more successfully with a remote workforce.

15. Materialism will decline.

People will spend less -- both because of a values shift and because the economy will remain sluggish, quite possibly reverting back to recession. This means that companies that produce basic products should do better than luxury firms. So jobs should be stronger at a Procter & Gamble than at a Dolce & Gabbana. I plan to continue dollar-cost averaging into P&G, Amazon -- and FXI, the China equivalent of the Dow-Jones 30.

16. The no-brainer prediction: Online shopping will continue to take market share from bricks-and-mortar stores.

Shopping sites' ever-better interfaces combined with the ever-more-onerous road traffic and parking problems, makes this the prediction you can most bet on. Career implications: Jobs should be more available at top online retailers than bricks-and-mortar-centric ones: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Zappos, plus delivery services such as FedEx, UPS and upstart discounter OnTrac.

Do you have any predictions for 2013 -- or disagree with any of mine? Share your thoughts in the comments section, or join me for AOL Jobs' Lunchtime Live video chat on Friday, Jan. 4, 12:30 p.m. EST. Join me on the AOL Jobs Google+ page!

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Chase Johnson

Great read Marty! We just used some figures from your post above in our most recent blog post, We definitely agree with trend # 4 that you called out.

June 21 2013 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a unemoloyeed Safety Professional, I think Safety is a important factor in all aspects for the employers.

April 24 2013 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristie Yazdan

Your ill informed and erroneous comments on cannabis smoking and smokers has sapped any credibility you could have had with your article which now I think is only as stupid as you seem to be.

April 07 2013 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is sad that we are raising a Society that does not like or even want the American Dream. Government jobs is on the rise? Those are the jobs people should not want. But the Gov knows how to gain support, over pay, and under work for a comparable job in the Private sector, The Government does not have to worry about their profitable margin, they just tax more when they want to spend more. And with that they Buy loyalty and Votes.

Of course there is the hip hip hooray group. That claim to be Pro America yet they hate the Constitution Or at least they think it should be rewritten to suit their party. They could not care less that other people have rights if they do not like those rights themselves. America was not founded on Big Government principals, The Fed was supposed to have a VERY limited roll in our Country. Not the Controlling position it has become. And for certain groups it is not big enough. Why would anyone think a Bigger government would be anymore trust worthy for OUR benefit?

All in all, it is not that we are leaning left, we are leaning into a Government. As the writer said, (if you read it) it will be our decline. We are Rome. Too bad, we had a good thing going here, just to get trashed by people that were free to leave and go to where it was already made for them. Where will the Free spirited honest hard working self reliant people go now? I know, I know, if your from the other party, you say some evil rude comment, but heck, Like it or not, Traditional America is OUR country and foundation, not just theirs to Change.

March 09 2013 at 6:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Marty, I'm not sure what research you did in regard to the specific prediction that 2 year RN's will become more common than BSN's. Hospitals currently have so many BS trained nurses to choose from, that from my anecdotal and empirical knowledge (not research), they have no need to hire many 2 year RN's. Since the jobs they fill for RN positions without speciality training or even higher degrees (MA, MS, MSN, FNP, nurse anesthetist or PHD) are generally the same, health care providers can pick the BSN applicant at the same salary. The 2 year option might return with more job openings, as you suggest, be used as a step toward the BSN or less likely become obsolete, in my opinion.

January 13 2013 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Predictions,but no real insight...Prediction No the key to our future,but if you study and compare to the new direction of will not a matter of fact it could even create civil unrest....for the time do not even try to invest in anything.....the rest of oba,s regime will be a disaster

January 03 2013 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to thefacts22's comment

I agree, but think of why this has come to be, the left and the left wing media are very shrewd on their plot. Taken right out of Mein Kampf. Demonize your opponents to gain favoritism. Even if it takes a lie or two. Make sure they (opposing party) takes the blame for everything, then they will slowly decline. And that is what has happened. Of course out loud the media and party followers will call it hog wash and throw out obscenities, but smile behind the scenes, they know it to be true. Their goal is Change, One party, One Government, AKA One God of their design. Sad to see how much the left has become to HATE the right. It is still OUR country.

March 09 2013 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen J

Here it is, 9 months into "oba,s" second term, and the Dow, S&P, etc. have hit record highs, the Fed is about to get a Chairperson who won't set bombs every once in a while to upset the financial market (Yellen to replace Bernanke), and Obama and Putin finalized a 2 year push to get Syria to admit they had chemical weapons. And they did it without bombs (something McCain would have done long ago). Some disaster.

Now all Obama has to do is outsmart the tea party wingnuts who think shutting down the government is a good thing, and it appears freshman Senator Cruz is about to do his work for him.

September 23 2013 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good work, Marty Nemko, overall.

Your predictions in numbers 4, 8 and 9 deserve more comment.

When we combine the changing attitude toward capitalism (I want Free Government Schtuff!) with the effects of more Pot Use which will lead to a greater demand on government to provide Free Cures for Pot Heads, we get an STP Application under the downhill skids of USA Declination. We are speeding up the process of ‘wussifying’ America and sending it into the Abyss of No More America As Economic Power & Bastion Of Freedom. Koreans and Chinese already are drooling as they lurk in the glass bushes of technology and military power building to find the moment – coming soon – to take over the Spiritual, Economic and Physical Eunuchs of the West.

Meanwhile, the quality of Healthcare is already in accelerating decline with undereducated, under-smart medical pretenders giving erroneous healthcare. (Medical Arrogance will continue unabated as the pretenders will wear the officious white jackets with stethoscopes in the pocket and Script Pads in hand.) Coming next: laws to protect D- and F+ healthcare givers as they ply their malpractice because insurance companies will quickly go broke as they cover them, even with overblown premiums.

I love number 2, the changes in Education. What will be the motivation of the students to improve, though, knowing that eventually the government will have to provide free Pot in a world with a bleak future for personal growth, achievement and acquisition? Remember the Twain: If you want a body to do something, it works best if you make it in the Body’s interest to do it. The continuing increases in redistribution of wealth will kill incentive – at a young age. Even now, there are those who want Yoga to be classified as “Sport.” Can we develop full contact competitive yoga? It is to laugh, n’est-ce pas?

January 03 2013 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Keynesian economics has never worked and all you have to do is look at nations like France, Greece, Italy and Spain to see that. The government cannot float and economy by borrowing money from other nations, boosting entitlement spending and not have any industry that provides goods to the rest of the world as we once did post WWII which is why we were the most powerful economy in the world but the unions and over regulation took care of that. Yes greed has its affects on the industrial sector with CEOs now making 800 times more than the average worker on the factory floor (used to be only 80 times more) but the unions and excessive taxation, over regulation and NAFTA (which opened the door to south of the border industry exoduses) made us the most non-profitable industrial nation on earth when it comes to manufacturing and in our natural resource industries. Want proof of that? Just look at China who is successful and Europe who has businesses leaving in droves while their economy flounders and the people riot because there is no work and they are dependent on entitlement services.

January 03 2013 at 8:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Anything in gov't services will be sad is it that you hope your child gets a gov't job when they grow up?

January 02 2013 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

biggest job trends 2013
un empolyment
the IRS, and government
1099 forms,/ independent contracting
treating the mentally insane

January 02 2013 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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