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Pursue degrees in engg, healthcare: US execs

August 26, 2009 10:30 IST

A jobs' column in a newspaperAt a time when possibility of unemployment is staring new graduates in the face, experts feel freshers should pursue degrees in engineering, computer science or healthcare as these sectors are expected to see ample job opportunities regardless of the economy's health.

With approximately 2.9 million young men and women ready to begin their undergraduate and post graduate courses in the US, 'many are pondering ways they might be able to avoid the high unemployment and underemployment rate facing the most recent crop of graduates,' global outplacement consultancy Challenger Gray & Christmas saidĀ in Chicago on Wednesday.

About 150 human resource executives surveyed by the city-based firm said they would advise freshers from college to pursue degrees in engineering, computer scienceĀ or healthcare and avoid a career in like law, marketing or advertising and human resources.

"Young people entering college this fall could graduate into a job market that is still recovering from recession. With so much uncertainty, it is best to seek skills that are flexible and highly transferable between various industries," said John Challenger CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"Those who choose one of the top-three recommended fields would find ample job opportunities regardless of the economy's health," Challenger said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computer scientist will be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next decade and employment among computer and information scientists is expected to grow 22 per cent between 2006 and 2016. The number of network systems and data communications analysis is also forecast to increase 53 per cent, he added.

The healthcare sector too was expected to add three million new wage and salary jobs by 2016, spurred, in part, by the huge population of baby boomers, who require more and more healthcare services as they age.

As per BLS predictions, employment in the engineering sector was expected to grow 11 per cent by 2016, of biomedical engineers by 21 per cent, environmental engineers by 25 per cent and industrial engineers 20 per cent.

"We are already seeing growth in some of these areas, despite the recession. The trend toward 'green' technologies is creating jobs in engineering and computer science. Further, more jobs may be created by health care reform, if Congress is able to get a bill passed," Challenger added.

In the survey, CS/Information Technology and engineering emerged as the most-recommended field of study. While IT was selected by 16 per cent of survey respondents, engineering was favoured among 15 per cent of human resource executives, and medicine/health care at 14.3 per cent.

The legal profession was at the bottom of the list, selected by just 1.4 per cent of respondents. Slightly more than two per cent felt their own career of choice (human resources) would be worth pursuing in college.

"The areas recommended by human resource executives, while appearing to be relatively specialised 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," the firm said.

Yoshita Singh in Chicago
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