Future Work – Texas Border Business
Texas Border Affairs
What will Texas jobs and workforce look like in the future? The underlying driver is, of course, industry expansion patterns. We recently addressed this issue using our databases and models.
We started with our long-term projections for the Texas economy by detailed industry, then used our occupational system to translate that into results by occupation. This model uses extensive surveys conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s also largely localized for every county in the state and adapts to changes in technology (although there are always surprises on that front).
Every industry involves a mix of jobs across a spectrum. A manufacturing plant, for example, may need managers, accountants, engineers, skilled workers of several types, truck drivers, maintenance personnel, office workers, and many other categories. To obtain estimates of total demand, our occupational system also takes into account the number of people leaving various occupations due to retirement or other reasons.
The categories with the largest number of new jobs are concentrated in restaurants and retail trade. Even with recent labor-saving technology in this area, this pattern is common given the “person-to-person” nature of these segments. Of the top 30 occupations, eight are in this field (including fast food workers, cooks, retail clerks, and cashiers, among others). Logistics is another high growth sector, including material movers, storekeepers and laborers as well as truck drivers. There will also be a substantial need for home health aides (with nearly 140,000 needed in Texas by 2030), registered nurses, orderlies and physician assistants. Strong demand is also predicted for managers, software developers, janitors, customer service representatives, security guards, salespeople, landscapers, accountants and construction workers.
Considering the fastest growth in percentage terms (as opposed to absolute numbers), rapid expansion is predicted in renewable energy jobs such as wind turbine service technicians and solar installers. Several medical professions are also on the list, including nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and massage therapists. Technology-focused professions such as information security analysts, data scientists, and statisticians will also be needed. Trainers, pet groomers, manicurists, and skin care specialists will experience notable growth.
These jobs cover a wide range of educational requirements and reflect the diversity of our vast business complex. There is a growing trend toward jobs that require some type of professional or technical certification that can be obtained in a relatively short period of time (and often as an option available in high school). Not surprisingly, the long-standing general correlation between educational attainment and lifetime earnings remains firmly intact.
As the population ages and baby boomers retire, it will be difficult to find people to fill positions. The future belongs to those who are prepared. Be careful!
Dr. M. Ray Perryman is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Perryman Group (www.perrymangroup.com), which has served the needs of more than 2,500 customers over the past four decades.