Business Careers are Changing: What Degree You Need to Get Hired

As the global economy transfers manufacturing jobs overseas, the US economy is not simply depending on service jobs, it is depending on innovation. One would expect the technology or biomedical sectors to continually be in flux as new discoveries make old ways obsolete in just a few years time. However, it is important to realize that in the new global economy, almost every sector is forced to react to changing economic climates if they are to survive. Business careers are shifting with current trends and the business graduates who are forward thinking will be the ones getting jobs.

Business Pundit reported in February of 2011 that business majors are one of the fastest growing and highest paying majors. Many industries are choosing to hire business majors with a specialization in their specific industry because they place high value on business acumen. However, success in business today means innovation and design. A 2007 survey revealed that when recalling the last time they saw a product that they just had to have, 7 out of 10 American consumers said it was because of the design. Furthermore, 47% of rapidly growing businesses rank design as their number one success factor. However, Mary Neumeier writes in Bloomberg Businessweek that “…products – technological or otherwise – are not the only possibilities for design. Design is rapidly moving from posters and toasters to include processes, systems, and organizations. Design is the accelerator for the company car, the power train for sustainable profits. Design drives innovation, innovation powers brand, brand builds loyalty, and loyalty sustains profits. If you want long-term profits, don’t start with technology, —start with design.”

Brand does indeed build the loyalty that sustains profits. In fact, many forward thinking leaders in business are finding social media the key to a loyal base. Normal consumers are often keeping tabs on the brands they love through dozens of social sites like Twitter or Facebook. In turn, many brands are encouraging the trend by optimizing their marketing and PR strategies to welcome such behavior. As of June 2011, 43 percent of US companies and 47 percent of companies worldwide claim they are successfully gaining new customers through social networks.

Forward thinking business majors can incorporate innovation into any field of business they choose. Although, keeping up with current trends also includes knowing which fields of business are projected to grow. U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best Careers in 2011, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, includes nine careers in the business and finance category. They include:

Accountant – Projected accountant and auditor employment growth of 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, adding 279,400 more positions. A bachelor’s degree is the first prerequisite. To work as a public accountant, you will probably need to become a certified public accountant. Most states require at least 150 hours of related of coursework before you become eligible to take the exam. That’s one reason why many aspiring accountants choose to get a master’s degree in accounting.

Actuary – Actuaries held 19,700 jobs in 2008, and that figure should grow by 4,200, or more than 21 percent, over the next decade. You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree with a strong finance or math concentration. Consider majors in mathematics, statistics, economics, or even a degree in actuarial science, which is offered by about 100 schools.

Financial Advisers – Projected growth rate is more than 30 percent between 2008 and 2018. Advisers must develop and maintain sophisticated skill sets. Expertise is central to an adviser’s appeal to potential clients. A bachelor’s degree is necessary, and an advanced degree can be an effective marketing tool. Obtaining and maintaining the certified financial planner designation is recommended, as is membership in the Financial Planning Association or other industry groups.

Financial Analyst – Employment of financial analysts is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018. A bachelor’s degree is a must—preferably in finance, business administration, accounting, statistics, or economics— and many financial analysts pursue a master’s degree in finance or business administration. A license may be required, but most are sponsored by an employer.

Logistician – Employment should increase by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018. You’ll need to start with a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business, supply-chain management, process engineering, or industrial engineering. As logisticians rise into the management ranks, many get an M.B.A. or certification in various specialties.

Meeting Planner – The Labor Department projects that the number of meeting planner jobs will jump 16 percent, thanks to the growing importance of meetings to increasingly global companies. A bachelor’s degree is generally the preferred academic education. Some schools offer meetings management degrees, but real-world experience may be the most important factor in getting a job.

Public Relations Specialist – Employment of public-relations specialists is expected to increase by more than 66,000 jobs, or 24 percent, between 2008 and 2018. Most PR specialists have bachelor’s degrees in communications, journalism, public relations, or relevant fields.

Sales Manager – Employment of sales managers is expected to increase by 51,800 jobs, or 15 percent between 2008 and 2018. A college degree is mandatory – and a master’s degree in business administration is sometimes preferred – but this is a profession that tends to value experience over education.

Training Specialist – Employment is expected to jump by 50,500 jobs, or more than 23 percent, to 267,000 jobs by 2018. Requirements vary widely among those who enter the field. You’ll most likely need a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field, with classes in training and development. Internships will be helpful in finding your first job.