(ARA) - Despite less than stellar job growth over the past few years, college graduates remain in demand. In fact, employers plan to hire 19.5 percent more 2011 college graduates than they did in 2010, which is up nearly 6 percent since 2009-2010, according to a recent Job Outlook study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). But today's job market is not your parents' job market. Huge demographic and employment trends are changing the way America works, and would-be employees will need to remain flexible.
Here are some tips to help you stay on top of the career market:
* First, expect to change jobs numerous times in your career. In today's career world, job stability does not always equal job security. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports that the average person born in the latter half of the baby boom has held an average of 11 jobs, and that three-fifths of those job changes occurred between the ages of 18 and 27.
"The U.S. economy is fundamentally changing, and employees can no longer expect to work their way up the company ladder," says Patti LoPresti, campus president at Everest College-Portland.
* Second, know where the jobs are. "Our nation is experiencing huge demographic and economic changes, which are creating major shifts in the types of jobs available today," says Veronica Tarango, director of education at Everest College-West Los Angeles. "Students should prepare themselves for a changing job market."
In particular, even though the U.S. economy is expected to grow by 10 percent between 2008-2018, these jobs will not be evenly distributed across all industries, according to Bureau of Labor statistics. In fact, projections show a substantial decline in manufacturing positions, while service-providing industries are expected to add 14.5 million jobs to the economy in the coming years.
With many baby-boomers set to retire in the coming decade, and a growing youth population, many service-related professions from teaching to elder care are going to see significant growth.
"One of the fastest growing sectors in the coming decade will be the health care sector," notes LoPresti. Projections indicate that about 26 percent of all jobs in the coming decade will be in the health care industry, which is expected to add approximately 4 million jobs to the U.S. economy. "This is one of the reasons that we specifically target many of our degree programs to the field of health care training
," adds LoPresti.
* Third, consider going back to school for additional career training
. Today's job market requires that employees keep their skills current, and as a result, more and more adults are going back to school. "Students come to us to keep their skills up-to-date or get the credentials they need to advance in their careers," says Tarango. "They find that it is increasingly necessary in today's changing job market."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' occupational projections show that jobs requiring some form of post-secondary education will have greater growth through 2018 than those without. The greatest job growth is expected to be in careers that require an associate degree, which is expecting to see job growth of 19 percent. Job projections are also higher for careers that require post-secondary vocational credentials, at an estimated 13 percent, than those requiring only on-the-job training, which are expected to see only 8 percent growth.
"Employers understand that a one- or two-year program can give new employees exactly the mix of academic learning and hands-on experience they need to excel in today's changing job market," says LoPresti.