20 Hot Job Tracks When Baby Boomers Retire
Thinking about a career in teaching? Special-education programs are crying for qualified instructors. You're a salesperson by nature? Consider the burgeoning market for electronic information. U.S. News talked to dozens of experts in 20 professions to pinpoint the "jobs for the future" profiled in the following pages. (For folks taking different paths, we also highlight salaries for other job titles.) One thing most of these promising careers have in common: Computer savvy will give you the edge.
ACCOUNTING: Forensic Accountant White-collar crime continues its climb--as does the need for gumshoe accountants. Losses from insurance fraud may run in excess of $100 billion annually; the Securities and Exchange Commission's investment fraud caseload is up 60 percent in the past five years. Number crunchers with a Dick Tracy bent are called in by law firms, government agencies and companies to sniff out phony insurance claims and improper securities trading, for example. Many small accounting firms now sleuth exclusively. One, Campos & Stratis of Teaneck, N.J., has expanded from 23 offices worldwide to 36 since 1990. Price Waterhouse has hired more than 500 forensic accountants in the past four years and expects to add 100 this year.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $35,000--$60,000 SENIOR: $55,000--$80,000 PARTNER: $95,000--$300,000
TRAINING. An accounting degree is preferred, but firms may hire regulatory agents, bankers and economists. Training is often done in house.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Environmental accountant. Firms must assess the costs of environmental programs compared with the costs of inaction--like lawsuits.
WHAT ACCOUNTING JOBS PAY PAYROLL CLERK: $20,500--$24,750* CREDIT ANALYST: $26,500--$33,000* BILLING MANAGER: $27,000--$32,750* SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR: $36,500--$45,000* CORPORATE TAX MANAGER: $68,000--$108,000+ CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: $235,000--$300,000
Note: Average salaries for 1996. *At firms with $150 million plus in sales, +$250 million plus, Å$500 million plus. Sources: American Inst. of Certified Public Accountants, Campos & Stratis, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Price Waterhouse, Robert Half International
ADVERTISING: Media Planner Not long ago, the people who decided where ads should go had to choose among television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Now add cable and the online services, electronic publications from the Wall Street Journal to Woman's Day and World Wide Web sites on every imaginable interest--888 of them now accept advertising. The media planner, who generally works for an advertising agency, studies research about which consumers are watching, reading or logging on to what and huddles with the creative ad designers to work out an advertising campaign. Fallon McElligott, an agency in Minneapolis whose clients include Lee jeans and Holiday Inn, has 32 media planners, 15 of whom have been hired in the past two years.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $28,000--$33,000 MIDLEVEL: $60,000--$80,000 TOP: $100,000 and up
TRAINING. A bachelor's degree is required in liberal arts, psychology or a related field; many employers really want a master's in business, advertising or communications.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Account-planning researcher. This member of the team serves up the data media planners rely on.
WHAT ADVERTISING JOBS PAY JUNIOR ASSISTANT: $23,800 ART DIRECTOR: $52,000 CHIEF COPYWRITER: $56,000 MEDIA DIRECTOR: $58,000 SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: $71,000 CREATIVE DIRECTOR: $90,000 CHAIRMAN/CEO: $129,000
Note: Average salaries for 1995. Sources: Adweek Salary Survey, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Virginia Commonwealth University Ad Center
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT: Editor A handful of years ago, when digital editing of film and video began to replace splicing and dicing, some feared that the speed and ease of working on a computer would put many editors out of work. Instead, their ranks are swelling. Translating images and sounds into bits and bytes means that scores of variations are possible for each scene. On a blockbuster film, it's not unusual for dozens of editors to work around the clock to satisfy a perfectionist director's need to see many possible combinations of shots. It takes only a few clicks of the mouse to try that final scene from several angles, and with five differently hued sunsets.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $35,000 MIDLEVEL: $65,000 TOP: $90,000 and up
TRAINING. Experience on the computer counts far more than a degree. Many have started as a production assistant and cajoled a friendly editor into teaching them the editing skills.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Digital animator. Studio execs say there's a dearth of people who are both artistically talented and technologically literate.
WHAT ENTERTAINMENT JOBS PAY ACTOR (SPEAKING PART): $500/day* MUSICIAN (REGIONAL ORCHESTRA): $400/wk* BALLET DANCER: $610/wk* CHOREOGRAPHER (FILM): $3,000/wk BROADWAY DIRECTOR: $80,000+ PRESIDENT (PRODUCTION CO.): $153,700
Note: Average salaries for 1995-96. *Minimum rate, +plus royalties, includes bonus. Sources: Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, American Federation of Musicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Edgewise Communications, Hope Reports, Motion Picture Editors Guild, Screen Actors Guild, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers
CONSULTING: Management Consultant Gone are the days when outside experts advised top managers what to reorganize and then moved on. Downsized companies need more guidance; management consultants today find solutions to problems at all levels of a company--and move in to see the changes through. A consultant might devise and implement a scheme to attract new customers in Tokyo, for example, or to update a client's computer system, a task that could take as long as two years. Many consultants are busy now with the year 2000 problem: that the "00" designating the year in certain computer programs will be recognized as 1900 instead of 2000. From 1989 to 1994, the number of management consultants in America nearly doubled, to 120,000. The consulting firm Ernst & Young has boosted recruitment by 25 percent in the past year.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $60,000 MIDLEVEL: $80,000 TOP: $1,000 and up
TRAINING. A bachelor's in business, accounting, computer science; an M.B.A. in labor relations, finance or management is a plus.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Coach. This mentor/taskmaster/motivational speaker/therapist is brought in by downsizing companies to counsel victims.
WHAT CONSULTING JOBS PAY ANALYST (ENTRY): $30,000--$70,000 STRATEGIC PLANNER: $68,112--$95,959* CONSULTANT: $50,000--150,000 SENIOR CONSULTANT: $90,000--$250,000 SENIOR PARTNER: $150,000--$500,000
Note: Average salaries for 1996 including bonuses. *Median for 1995. Sources: Association of Management Consulting Firms, Coach University, Consultants News, Ernst & Young, Institute of Management Consultants, National Bureau of Professional Management Consultants, Stevens Institute of Technology
EDUCATION: Special-education Teacher If teaching in a regular classroom is not for the faint of heart, working in special education seems to require near superhuman mettle. The stress of teaching students with physical, emotional and mental disabilities partly explains the shortage of qualified instructors. The last time a census was taken, during the 1992-93 school year, 28,000 positions were either vacant or filled by teachers without the appropriate certification. Meanwhile, the number of kids in need is heading higher. Twenty years ago, 3.7 million students attended special-ed classes; by 1994, more than 5.3 million students did.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $25,200 MIDLEVEL: $38,700 TOP: $51,100
TRAINING. Special-ed teachers must obtain state licensing and a bachelor's degree in education. Licensure varies by state; some require a master's degree in special education.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Bilingual teacher. As the number of non-English-speaking students rises precipitously, so does the need for teachers fluent in languages.
WHAT EDUCATION JOBS PAY ELEMENTARY TEACHER: $36,400 SECONDARY TEACHER: $37,800 HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR: $42,500 ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR: $48,310 PROFESSOR: $65,440 ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL: $60,900 HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: $69,300 SUPERINTENDENT: $94,200
Note: Average salaries for 1995-96. Sources: American Association for Employment in Education, American Association of University Professors, American Federation of Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Educational Research Service, Nat'l. Association of Elementary School Principals, Nat'l. Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education, Nat'l. Education Association
ENGINEERING: Chemical Engineer Pharmaceutical companies will spend $12.9 billion in 1996 seeking the next wonder drug--almost twice what they spent in 1990. Overall, private research-and-development budgets hit $99.3 billion last year, up 21.7 percent in five years. Much of that investment pays chemical engineers, who put the right shade of rose in lipstick, the mouthwatering taste in fat-free cheesecake, the air--synthetic rubber--in Air Jordans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand in R&D will grow by 5 percent a year until 2005. At Pfizer Inc., chemical engineers make up 20 percent of the manufacturing work force in this country.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (MEDIAN) ENTRY LEVEL: $41,150 MIDLEVEL: $63,600--$73,383 TOP: $86,650
TRAINING. A chemical engineering degree. Engineers with other specialties may be tapped if they have a science background.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Software engineer. Last year, sales of software in North America hit $7.53 billion--and there's no ceiling in sight. The pros who design and upgrade programs are a white-hot commodity.
WHAT ENGINEERING JOBS PAY ENGINEERING SERVICES (ENTRY): $39,100 CONSTRUCTION (10 YEARS): $48,750 AEROSPACE (10 YEARS' EXPERIENCE): $50,000 PETROLEUM (10 YEARS): $64,050 PROFESSORSHIP (25 YEARS): $64,800 ENVIRONMENTAL (25 YEARS): $74,350 CONSULTING (25 YEARS): $76,850 ELECTRIC/GAS UTILITIES (25 YEARS): $85,350
Note: Median salaries for 1996. Sources: Amer. Inst. of Chemical Engineers, Business Software Alliance, Engineering Workforce Comm. of the Amer. Assn. of Engineering Societies, Nat'l. Science Found., Pfizer, Pharm. Research and Mfrs. of America, Software Publishers Assn.
FINANCE: Business Systems Analyst A recent survey by the American Bankers Association found that 84 percent of banks are gearing up to get customers online (instead of in one). As all sorts of financial institutions move toward serving clients by modem, they first must bring outdated computer systems into the interactive age. The business systems analyst--part strategic planner, part technician, part diplomat--works with managers and computer vendors to arrive at the most suitable hardware and software combo. Keeping up with new products is a big part of the job; programs aimed at bettering productivity alone are coming out at the rate of 88 a month.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $40,000--$58,000 MIDLEVEL: $65,000--$75,000 TOP: $85,000--$90,000
TRAINING. Familiarity with computer systems is a must. Some project management, finance, math or accounting helps.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Compliance officer. A few rogue traders have awakened foreign banks to the need for oversight. Compliance officers ensure that the rules are being followed.
WHAT FINANCE JOBS PAY FOREIGN-EXCHANGE CLERK: $23,000--$28,000 CREDIT ANALYST: $48,000--$68,000 COMPLIANCE OFFICER (ASSISTANT VP): $60,000--$72,000 SENIOR FINANCIAL ANALYST: $60,000--$78,000 ASSOCIATE, CORPORATE FINANCE: $68,000--$97,000 VICE PRESIDENT (PROJECT FINANCE): $95,000--$145,000 PORTFOLIO MANAGER: $110,000--$160,000*
Note: Average salaries for 1996. *Does not include bonuses. Sources: American Bankers Association, Bank of America, IDOM Inc., The KPA Group, SofTrends
FRANCHISING: Cleaning Business From time-starved two-income families to the burgeoning crowd of seniors who have retired their dust mops, Americans are signing up en masse for regular maid service. Merry Maids now has a network of more than 1,000 franchises, up from 350 in 1990. Companies, too, would rather contract out the dirty work. Commercial cleaning operations hold four spots on Entrepreneur's list of the 30 fastest-growing franchises. ServiceMaster saw revenues grow nearly 25 percent last year, for example--partly because of successful marketing of disaster restoration (heavy-duty mopping up after floods, fires and hurricanes). Start-up costs are often low--$3,000 to $50,000, depending on the market.
HOT TRACK EARNINGS. Like most private companies, very few franchises disclose profits. Experts say profit margins may range from 15 to 30 percent on sales that vary even more wildly. A small-town home-cleaning operation might do $50,000 a year in volume; a few office contracts in the Northeast could mean several million dollars.
TRAINING. Some 90 percent of franchisees worked elsewhere first--many in management positions. Some sales and marketing experience is key, as is a willingness to take financial risks.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Specialty foods. Drive-through gourmet-coffee shops like Quikava, stores serving up fruit smoothies (Frullati Cafe) and bread and pretzel bakeries (Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, Great Harvest Franchising, Gretel's Pretzels) are particularly hot businesses.
WHAT FRANCHISES EARN* FEWER THAN 10 EMPLOYEES: $75,000 IN BUSINESS FIVE YEARS OR LESS: $120,000 IN BUSINESS MORE THAN FIVE YEARS: $196,000 BUSINESS SERVICES/COMPUTERS: $177,000 FAST FOOD/RESTAURANT: $182,000 10 OR MORE EMPLOYEES: $299,000
*Note: Average net pre-tax earnings for 1995, based on Franchise Times survey of 1,000 franchise owners across various industries.
HEALTH CARE: Information Specialist Someday soon, a patient with several doctors will have a single medical record that each can access by computer. The time and costs involved in keeping paper records are one incentive for health care providers to computerize. Another is the coming surge in elderly patients, who typically have several physicians struggling to coordinate care. Besides inputting data, information specialists manage insurance reimbursement and help physicians conduct statistical research. In four years, 56 percent of these jobs will be vacant for lack of candidates, predicts the American Hospital Association. And so far, only 20 percent of records have been computerized.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $24,000 MIDLEVEL: $36,000 TOP: $64,000
TRAINING. An associate's or bachelor's degree in health information management, plus national certification by exam.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Pharmacist. In the next few years, pharmacists expect to spend less time dispensing drugs and more time counseling patients, especially the elderly.
WHAT HEALTH CARE JOBS PAY DIETITIAN: $25,064 STAFF NURSE, RN: $36,140 SPEECH THERAPIST: $37,284 NURSE PRACTITIONER, RN: $49,200 PHARMACIST: $51,480 PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT (PRIMARY CARE): $53,963 PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT (SURGICAL): $56,264 OPTOMETRIST: $68,510
Note: Median salaries for 1995. Sources: Amer. Assn. of Medical Assistants, Amer. Health Information Mgmt. Assn., Amer. Hospital Assn., Amer. Pharmaceutical Assn., Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Group Mgmt. Assn.
HUMAN SERVICES: Case Manager An AIDS patient lives alone. Her friends and family visit as often as they can but not often enough to take care of the grocery shopping and trips to and from the doctor. Increasingly, that becomes the province of these social workers, who assess the needs of their clients and line up the necessary counseling, education, medical help or legal aid. Besides the chronically ill, clients range from the elderly to children with severe emotional disabilities. Insurers, health care organizations and individuals all see hiring case managers as a way to organize care and thus keep the costs down. Managed-care organizations, most of which now have case managers on staff, control over 70 percent of the group-health-insurance market--a 23 percent jump since 1992.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $17,000 MIDLEVEL: $21,000--$30,000 TOP: $52,000
TRAINING. An undergraduate degree in social work is required. Top-paying jobs go to those with a graduate degree. Students must pass a written test to receive a state license.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Residential counselor. Group homes are multiplying to assist the mentally ill as the government continues to shut down mental institutions.
WHAT HUMAN SERVICES JOBS PAY RESIDENTIAL COUNSELOR: $32,500 PROBATION OFFICER: $36,400 MANAGED-CARE SOCIAL WORKER: $39,600 MENTAL HEALTH SOCIAL WORKER: $39,600 FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SOCIAL WORKER: $44,000 INDEPENDENT PRIVATE PRACTITIONER: $49,700
Note: Average salaries for 1995. Sources: AIDS Services of Austin, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Association of Social Workers, National Organization for Human Services Education
INFORMATION SERVICES: Webmaster From Auburn University to Z Technologies, every organization in every industry seems to crave a presence on the World Wide Web. The number of Web sites in April 1996--145,000--represents a sixfold increase over the previous year. At smaller companies, the webmaster tapped to maintain a site may handle the creative as well as the technical duties--designing graphics and writing content. But the main job is to keep the system humming--to clear up the wreckage when the server crashes, say, and no one can reach the site.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $35,000 MIDLEVEL: $70,000 TOP: $100,000 and up
TRAINING. Novell has just launched the first training program, conducted in one-to-five-day sessions at its education centers. The job is so new that background matters less than computer skills and agility online.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Cyberlibrarian. Corporate America's greed for online information has created a need for specialists to find and analyze data.
WHAT INFORMATION JOBS PAY PROGRAMMER (JUNIOR): $34,000 PC SUPPORT SPECIALIST: $35,000 PROGRAMMER/ANALYST (SENIOR): $43,000 DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR: $45,000 JAVA PROGRAMMER (INTERNET): $60,000--$80,000* SOFTWARE DESIGNER (SENIOR): $67,000 ELECTRONIC-MARKETING MANAGER: $80,000--$100,000* CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER: $150,000--$200,000*
Note: Median salaries for 1996. *Average salaries for 1996. Sources: American Society for Information Science, Christian & Timbers, E-Span, Novell, Source EDP, WebCrawler, Wyse Cohen
LAW: Intellectual Property Jobs are admittedly tight these days for lawyers in many fields. But pirates of original works in video, audio, print and now digital formats are giving intellectual-property specialists plenty of work. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, biotechnology advances, industrial designs and trade secrets all fall within their purview. The specialty is growing as technology makes it easier for thieves to rip off unlimited copies of computer software and electronic information, and as the market for these illegal wares expands. Congress is considering updating U.S. copyright law to reflect this reality. Membership in the intellectual-property section of the American Bar Association has nearly doubled over the past decade, to 13,689.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $49,300 AVERAGE: $312,600 TOP: $600,000
TRAINING. Many in the field boast a technical degree in engineering or science, along with the J.D.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Corporate lawyer. It's true that many companies have laid off attorneys. But lawyers with years of experience in securities and transactions are in short supply.
WHAT LEGAL JOBS PAY FIRST-YEAR ATTORNEY (LAW FIRM): $49,300 GENERAL ATTORNEY (FEDERAL GOV'T.): $67,900 PATENT ATTORNEY (FEDERAL GOV'T.): $76,300 CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: $141,700 CHIEF JUSTICE (U.S. SUPREME COURT): $171,500 PARTNER (LAW FIRM): $375,900*
Note: Average salaries for 1995. *Total compensation. Sources: Altman Weil Pensa, American Bar Association, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jenkens & Gilchrist, the National Law Journal
LAW ENFORCEMENT: Crime Analyst Start with a map of all the burglaries in a neighborhood. Then overlay their times and days of the week, plus the addresses of local offenders. Result? An analyst armed with computer-mapping software might find out in minutes when and where the perpetrator is apt to strike next. An estimated 30 percent of the nation's police departments already rely on computer-mapping software. And most at least use a database or spreadsheet program to analyze thousands of pieces of data in minutes to discover the links between crimes that often lead to suspects. The International Association of Crime Analysts says the demand for these technical whizzes has risen 10-fold in 15 years.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $25,000--$29,000 MIDLEVEL: $32,000--$34,000 TOP: $40,000--$48,000
TRAINING. Besides knowing how to put a computer through its paces, analysts often have a grounding in statistics or criminology. Civilians can hold these jobs, but police training gives an edge.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Bail enforcement agent. A "bounty hunter" typically is hired by bail bondsmen or insurance companies to locate bail jumpers and stolen property. Business promises to be brisk as long as jails and prisons are overcrowded.
WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT JOBS PAY POLICE OFFICER (ENTRY): $26,581 SPECIAL AGENT, FBI (GS-10): $33,762--$43,888 INTELLIGENCE ANALYST (GS-13): $52,867--$68,729 POLICE CHIEF: $91,700 CRIME LAB DIRECTOR (MAJOR FACILITY): $100,000--$120,000
Note: Average salaries for 1996. Data are for 1993, the latest available, and for cities of 1 million or more.
MEDIA: Interactive Specialist The industry that looks for marriage prospects between telephone, television and computer is about to spawn even more new ways to do everything from shop for clothes to receive news. WebTV, for example, lets couch potatoes dial into the Internet on the TV screen; Gateway 2000's Destination computer lets folks watch their favorite sitcom even as they pull up pertinent Web sites. Experts expect countless jobs for hardware and software designers at firms that manufacture "convergent" technology. Content developers are needed, too: Companies that create the entertainment and other programming will be doing $10 billion in business by the year 2000, up from $500 million last year.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $30,000 MIDLEVEL: $50,000 TOP: $150,000 plus
TRAINING. Communications and graphic design skills are critical, as are computer skills, of course.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Circulation director. Since ad revenues have been dropping, many magazines, in particular, have emphasized boosting circulation.
WHAT MEDIA JOBS PAY TV REPORTER: $24,765 RADIO NEWS DIRECTOR: $27,015 ONLINE CONTENT DEVELOPER: $35,000 TECHNICAL WRITER: $37,400 MAGAZINE ART DIRECTOR: $44,200 TV NEWS ANCHOR: $47,340 MAGAZINE SENIOR EDITOR: $56,700 NEWSPAPER EDITOR: $71,000 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: $73,400
Note: Median salaries for 1996; magazine figures are averages. Sources: Association for Interactive Media, Editor & Publisher, Folio, Newspaper Association of America, University of Missouri School of Journalism, Wyse Cohen
MEDICINE: Reproductive Endocrinologist As has been true of so many baby boomer preoccupations, menopause is about to become a Big Deal. If all that estrogen-replacement therapy isn't enough to keep reproductive endocrinologists frenzied, consider that couples will make 2 million office visits this year after failing to conceive a child, up from 1.35 million in 1988. Although the infertility rate has remained steady at about 9 percent of couples, many more women are postponing motherhood; the average time required to conceive doubles with every five years' delay. And recent advances offer couples more options. Besides traditional in vitro fertilization, a couple whose problem is a low sperm count might have a single sperm injected into an egg. An older woman might choose to use a healthy egg from a donor. The reproductive endocrinologist settles on the best method, performs the egg retrieval and implants the embryo.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $110,000--$150,000 MIDLEVEL: $185,000--$248,000 TOP: $637,000
TRAINING. A residency in obstetrics-gynecology and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Orthopedic surgeon. High-tech advancements have made joint-replacement surgery much more successful. All those aging boomers are bound to come calling.
WHAT MEDICAL JOBS PAY PEDIATRICIAN: $129,085 FAMILY PRACTITIONER: $129,148 PSYCHIATRIST: $132,477 INTERNIST: $139,320 NEUROLOGIST: $164,295 DERMATOLOGIST: $176,948 GENERAL SURGEON: $216,562 ANESTHESIOLOGIST: $240,666 RADIOLOGIST: $247,505 ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: $301,918
Note: Median salaries for 1995 for doctors in group practice. Sources: Endocrine Society, Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Medical Group Management Association, National Institutes of Health
SALES: Information Services Rep As companies large and small continue to plunk modem-equipped PCs on employees' desks, their investment in online and CD-ROM information will reach $23.5 billion in 1996, nearly double the level of five years ago. In the year 2000, predicts Lorraine Sileo, a senior analyst at SIMBA Information Inc., businesses will spend $27.2 billion to feed their hunger for electronic information. Sales representatives are needed to explain why the product or technology in question--a legal database, say, or an online news retrieval service--meets a company's needs better than that of the competition.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $35,000 MIDLEVEL: $60,000 TOP: $100,000 and up
TRAINING. Some companies hire new computer science graduates, but many prefer three to five years of sales experience in the field.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Wireless salesperson. More than 10 million new customers signed up for cellular service in the past year, and 64 percent of adults who don't currently subscribe expect to in the future.
WHAT SALES JOBS PAY SALES REP (ENTRY): $39,800 SENIOR SALES REP: $68,300 MAJOR ACCOUNT REP: $71,200 NATIONAL ACCOUNT REP: $76,100 DISTRICT SALES MANAGER: $83,700 NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER: $85,600 REGIONAL SALES MANAGER: $92,300 TOP SALES EXECUTIVE: $122,700
Note: Median compensation for 1996 for individuals earning salary plus incentives. Sources: Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, Dartnell, Gale Research Inc., Lexis-Nexis, Sales and Marketing Executives International, SIMBA Information, UMI
SCIENCE RESEARCH: Drug Developer When it hit the market in 1987, the genetically engineered hepatitis B vaccine ushered in a new era of drug development. The highly efficient recombinant DNA technology that produced the vaccine--mixing DNA from different species--has reinvigorated drug companies' interest in research. U.S. firms are now developing 125 medicines and vaccines--many of them through genetic engineering--for infectious diseases like AIDS, hepatitis C and Lyme disease. That represents a 33 percent increase over 1994; some experts predict a herpes vaccine within a decade. Small biotech firms are doing most of the hiring.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $60,000--$90,000 MIDLEVEL: $100,000--$140,000 TOP: $150,000--$300,000
TRAINING. A B.S. or M.S. in molecular biology for entry-level work. Medical training with postdoctorate work or a Ph.D. in immunology or pharmacology is required at higher levels.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Genomics. Funding has exploded for research on the links between genes and illness and on testing for hereditary diseases.
WHAT SCIENCE RESEARCH JOBS PAY MEDICAL SCIENTIST: $36,800 CHEMIST (B.S.): $37,752--$44,000 CHEMIST (PH.D.): $55,000--$60,000 GEOLOGIST (B.S.): $55,500* GEOLOGIST (PH.D.): $74,652* BIOTECHNOLOGIST (B.S.): $59,800
Note: Median salaries for 1995. *For 1996. Sources: Abbott, Langer & Associates, American Chemical Society, Astra Pharmaceuticals, Bureau of Labor Statistics, MedImmune, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, University of Maryland Hospital
TECHNICAL SERVICES: Computer Technician Last year, at a plant near Chicago, computer-chip maker Motorola interviewed 40,000 hopeful computer technicians, hired 4,000--and still ended up short. Why are the techies who install, maintain and fix the nation's computers such a hot property? The hardware is multiplying much faster than the work force, and the job has grown far more complex. Ten years ago, it was enough to master the nuts and bolts--how to repair a circuit board, say. Today, even before anything breaks, technicians are called upon to "fix" systems by upgrading disk drives or monitors. They're expected to foil viruses and to set up networks. And they're needed on all fronts, from retail to manufacturing and engineering.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $21,000 MIDLEVEL: $30,500 TOP: $40,000 and up
TRAINING. On-the-job training or a two-year associate's or vocational degree in electronics is the typical preparation.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Medical technician. The number of jobs for EEG (brain scan) and radiological (X-ray) technicians is expected to grow more than 50 percent over the next 10 years.
WHAT TECHNICAL JOBS PAY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN: $19,000--$20,000 MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIST: $23,000--$24,000 ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN: $26,581 ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN: $29,000 MACHINE TOOL WORKER: $30,000--$40,000 AUTOMOTIVE MECHANIC: $31,900
Note: Average salaries for 1996. Sources: American Association of Medical Assistants, American Society of Radiologic Technologists, DeVry Institutes, Electronics Technicians Association International, International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, Jobs '96
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Customer Care Manager Today's gotta-be-reachable ethos has led to a proliferation of mobile phones, pagers and voice mail systems--revenues from mobile communications are expected to jump nearly 40 percent from 1995 to 1998. The companies battling for this business are putting customer care managers on the front lines. Not only do these pros spring into action when the cellular service breaks down, they also plug what the company is selling. When an order comes in for two additional phone lines, a manager has detailed knowledge of the purchaser's needs, of suitable services to pitch and of competitors' offerings. AT&T has hired 200 to 300 customer care managers in the past year.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $30,000--$50,000 MIDLEVEL: $55,000--$75,000 TOP: $75,000 and up
TRAINING. A B.A. in liberal arts, business, communication skills. A sales background helps.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Telecommunications lawyer. With the explosion of global trade and telecommunications, multilingual deal makers are needed.
WHAT TELECOMMUNICATIONS JOBS PAY JUNIOR TECHNICIAN (ENTRY): $25,000--$35,000 TECHNICAL SPECIALIST: $50,000 PROJECT MANAGER: $50,254* SENIOR ENGINEER: $89,875* STRATEGIC PLANNER: $96,607* SENIOR EXECUTIVE: $200,000
Note: Median salaries for 1995, including bonuses and profit sharing. *Average for 1996. Sources: AT&T, Management Recruiters Inc., MultiMedia Telecommunications Association, Network World, Rochester Institute of Technology
TRADES: Commercial-wiring Specialist Now that commercial builders are back from the doldrums, the folks who actually put up the office parks and shopping malls have more work than they can handle. Some $139.5 billion will go to new commercial construction in 1996, up from $110.6 billion three years ago. Qualified electrical workers are especially in demand, partly because wiring a building is a different ballgame now. Most not only need to know the red wire from the blue one but must have some degree of expertise in computers because of the huge demand computers throughout a building place on an electrical system. Most buildings now have computerized lighting systems, automated locks and antitheft devices, too. In some cases, the wirer is also responsible for the upkeep of a building's entire electrical system.
HOT TRACK SALARIES (AVERAGE) ENTRY LEVEL: $9.42 per hour MIDLEVEL: $14 per hour TOP: $23.55 per hour
TRAINING. Five years in an apprenticeship program, working with journeymen in the field. The program includes a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job hours and 1,000 classroom hours.
RUNNER-UP HOT TRACK. Computer control maker. Automated equipment is doing the manufacturing in many factories now. This person builds the equipment.
WHAT JOBS IN THE TRADES PAY: PER HOUR GENERAL LABORER: $9.70 CARPENTER: $13.77 WELDER: $13.79 ELECTRICIAN: $14.78 PIPE FITTER: $14.39 PLUMBER: $14.15
Note: Average pay for 1996. Sources: General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; National Electrical Contractors Association; National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee; PAS Inc.; Roger Herman, business futurist
[Photo profiles]: Jean DePalma, 37, Campos & Stratis, Teaneck, N.J. Salary: $75,000-$100,000 (including bonus) Later this year, DePalma expects to be called to Guam, where her firm will testify in court about damage claims from a recent typhoon.
Gary M. Smith, 37, Price Waterhouse LLC, Philadelphia Salary: $70,000-$95,000 (including bonus) Smith's average day: meet with a client about upgrading computers, bounce strategies off "team members," review industry trends.
Brad Dionne, 34, Merry Maids, Seattle Earnings: about 20 percent of sales (of often $1 million or more) Top franchise owner Dionne relies on door hangers, direct mail and referrals to keep growing.
Ana Rebecca Ruiz, 31, AIDs Services of Austin Salary: $27,100 "The hardest part is seeing people suffer. The relationships I've made are what keep me in the field," says Ruiz, who serves more than 60 HIV-positive clients.
Cheryl Pelter, 37, Kansas City, MO., Police Department Salary: $37,000 Pelter analyzes the paper that blizzards in and reports any patterns her eye and her computer pick up. Police training? A necessity, she thinks.
Dr. Jim Toner, 40, The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Norfolk, VA. Salary: $191,700 Toner is on call every third weekend and two nights each month to perform IVF when nature calls.
Patricia Howard, 33, Potomac Electric Power Co., Washington, D.C. Salary: $40,000 On any given day, you might find Howard wiring a new Pepco site or perched on a power-line tower making repairs. In the presidential campaign, the issue of personal character and honesty is now squarely before the electorate, where it belongs. How disappointing it is that the candidates are tiptoeing around a much larger matter of national character and honesty.
That thought came forcefully to mind in reading a powerful new book from Peter G. Peterson, Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old? Investment banker and public servant par excellence, Peterson has twice before awakened us with his alarums, first on economic competitiveness in the 1970s and then on budget deficits in the 1980s. His friend Warren Buffett calls him "our modern-day Noah."
Now in the 1990s, Peterson is trying again to shake us out of national denial. Everyone knows that we have a "problem" with Medicare and Social Security, and maybe someday (stifled yawn) Washington will have to fix it. Peterson persuasively argues that the problem is rapidly becoming the "Public Policy Issue No. 1" of advanced nations, that it is most urgent in America and that solving it demands immediate, significant changes not only in Washington but in our own lifestyles as well.
In essence, the nation committed itself to subsidizing the retirement and health care of its older citizens when they were a small proportion of the population, when they didn't live long beyond 65 and when our living standards were doubling roughly once every generation. Today, we face a different future. The whole nation will soon resemble Florida, where nearly 1 in 5 people is over 65. Average life spans stretch 14 years longer than they did when Social Security was created. Living standards rise roughly one eighth as fast as they did a generation ago. The generosity of our earlier commitments is thus seriously mismatched with our ability to pay for them.
Nor is that the worst of it. Most Americans pay more in Social Security and Medicare taxes than they do in income tax, but contrary to popular belief these funds are not set aside in a nest egg for the future. Instead, they are scooped up to pay for current retirees, and the surplus is borrowed by the Treasury to pay other federal government expenses. As a result, the Treasury is building a mountain of unpaid IOUs--unfunded liabilities of $17 trillion (!) that will fall due on our children and grandchildren.
Inevitably, Washington will default on its obligations, since it cannot pay out as much as it has promised. Young people know this. A survey found that they think they are more likely to see a UFO than a check from Social Security--and they are right. In theory, baby boomers might be saving enough to protect themselves as government benefits shrivel. In reality they aren't. A 1993 Merrill Lynch analysis found that half of all households (including baby boomers) had less than $1,000 in net financial assets, while corporate pension plans now cover less than half of all workers in the private sector and are dropping for younger ones.
"We are no longer the highly purposeful society we once were," writes Peterson. "We have instead become a choiceless society, a society that no longer confronts the tough trade-offs between today's consumption and tomorrow's higher living standards. ... Why did my generation permit this great shift in our national character?"
Next year, after the election dust settles, the White House and Congress need to agree quickly on a package that pares down the short-term growth of Medicare by at least $20 billion a year, an amount that can be reasonably absorbed without hurting seniors.
Then we should move on to the bipartisan commission that Bill Clinton and Bob Dole support, but with a stronger and broader mandate. (After all, Clinton already has ignored the Kerrey-Danforth commission that he set up for the same purpose in 1993.) This new commission should report to the country in two phases--first to educate us on the scope of the problem, then to report on its recommended solutions. It should address not only the long-term structural dilemmas of programs for the elderly but also ways to increase private savings. And it must have teeth so that, like the base-closing commission of the 1990s and the Greenspan Social Security commission of 1983, it compels politicians to act. One more thing: Commission members should be required to read this sledgehammer of a book from Pete Peterson.
This story appears in the October 28, 1996 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.