In 2010, the average U.S. worker had been with his or her employer for 4.4 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a far cry from the 20-year tenure that’s been the American worker’s ideal since time immemorial, and it’s an indicator of an uncomfortable reality — jobs just don’t last like they used to.
While it may not always be possible to stay with the same employer for a few decades, it’s still possible to stay with one profession over the long haul. No matter how the job market changes, and no matter what new technology people become infatuated with, there are certain vocations that will never go away. These jobs serve ongoing, fundamental needs, and they’re immune to market forces.
Click ahead to see what some of these jobs are.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 12 January 2012
Sometimes, an illness has symptoms that require more than just chicken soup and bed rest. It’s at those times you call in the heavy artillery and bring the full force of the pharmaceutical industry to bear.
Your doctor can prescribe powerful medications to wipe out your symptoms, but you’ll need a pharmacist to dispense the goods. It’s a good living that brings with it a median annual wage of $111,570, and it’s a good bet that the job will continue to exist for as long as people get sick.
Mathematics is one of the basic building blocks of the universe, as anyone who’s seen the John Travolta space epic “Battlefield Earth” knows. Unless that changes, it will always be necessary to consult someone whose knowledge of the subject goes beyond adding, subtracting and multiplication tables.
Such a person is the mathematician, whose skills can be applied to a vast range of subjects, including computer science and physics. Mathematicians earn a median annual salary of $99,380, although they can earn still more in the field of scientific research
Some people have a knack for managing their personal finances. Many of us, however, will always need a little help, thereby guaranteeing the ongoing viability of a career as a financial planner.
Financial planners help their clients manage assets and liabilities, insurance and investments, and pension funds and cash flow. Sometimes, a knowledgeable financial planner is all that stands between a client and unmitigated financial disaster.
The median annual wage for a financial planner is $64,750. However, wages vary widely from state to state, and a financial planner working in New York state can earn $136,310, almost twice the median.
If you anticipate the arrival of April 15 with a mixture of dread and nausea, then it’s a good bet that you already know what an accountant does. However, on the off chance that you don’t, an accountant is someone licensed to help clients determine how much money they owe the government.
The mean annual wage for the profession is $61,690. However, it’s possible to earn about $15,000 more than that by practicing in the District of Columbia or in the state of New York. One can expect this vocation to exist for as long as there are taxes – and that’s certainly forever.
Making a living as a writer takes more than just the ability to turn a phrase. It takes dedication and moxie. It also requires the ability to laugh off rejection letters, criticism and “helpful suggestions” from the peanut gallery that a real job might now be in order. However, writers who aren’t discouraged will find a rewarding career ahead of them if they stick it out.
There are many different fields in which the writer can find a steady paycheck, such as technical writing. However, those who long to write creative material can find a median salary of $55,420 a year to do so.
Unsurprisingly, the greatest opportunities for an above-average salary exist in the Los Angeles area, seat of the entertainment industry. The mean annual wage there is $100,060, and the region will offer work to aspiring writers for as long as network executives can’t write their own buddy sitcoms.
Recession or no recession, computer programmers have generally had very little trouble finding work. As long as computers are a central part of professional and personal lives, there will always be a need for programmers, no matter the economic climate.
The only conceivable scenario in which computer programmers might have a hard time finding work is one in which people tire of technology and innovation. Until then, computer programmers can find work that will provide them with a mean annual wage of $74,900.
The holy grail for many teachers is a tenured position at a respected university. This arrangement offers two things that many teaching positions don’t — stability and a living wage. Due to budget cuts, many American public schools have had to cut teaching positions, but as long as people don’t know things, they will need someone to teach them, so the jobs are always going to be out there, even if the situations aren’t always ideal.
The median annual wage for a teacher in the U.S. is $29,820. This may seem to some people a paltry and insulting sum of money that will buy lots of Ramen noodles and little else. However, teachers who stick it out and win a position at a university can earn a mean annual wage of $71,440. With that kind of money, they can buy all the fancy gluten-free rigatoni they want!
The construction worker is nothing less than an American archetype. This laborer has been depicted in every artistic medium, from Norman Rockwell paintings to photos of men in undershirts eating lunch atop a skyscraper. Indeed, the construction worker was been a key component in crafting the American landscape, from the rustic farmhouse to the Manhattan skyline.
The construction business is affected by how the market performs, so in economic downturns there is less work to be had than during boom times. However, there will always be renovations, repairs and upkeep to guarantee that work is out there in one form or another. The job offers a mean annual wage of $33,590.
Chemical engineers have expertise that’s needed in such fields as technology, energy and medicine. However, their skills don’t stop there, and there are many chemical engineering jobs to be found in the manufacturing of cosmetics, food and beverages.
The chemical industry may not be the most politically correct, but it’s next to impossible to imagine consumers going without products that contain chemicals. For that reason, chemical engineering is a job with long-term prospects. It has a mean annual wage of $94,590.
If you have that special flair for whipping up something fabulous every time you enter a kitchen, there may be some money in it for you. Restaurants have famously high rates of turnover, and while this may be a bad thing for the owners, it’s a good thing for an aspiring chef looking for work.
As long as there are people who love to eat but hate to cook, and as long as the restaurant retains its status as the leading proponent of employee churn, there will always be a need for chefs. The position has a mean annual wage of $44,780.