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Fastest-Growing Jobs for Young Professionals in America – 2020 Edition

A young worker wearing a beige shirt and ponytail sits at a desk with their back facing the viewer; we see the view over their shoulder of their desk and laptop screen filled with faces of colleagues on a video call. SmartAsset analyzed various data sources to find the fastest-growing job for young professionals.

Entering the workforce as a young person can be difficult. For many people who are fresh out of college, it’s particularly challenging to determine exactly which industries are likely to hire someone so young and with such little professional experience. But securing gainful employment is the first step in building a savings and establishing a career. That’s why SmartAsset endeavored to find the fastest-growing jobs for young professionals.

To do so, we compared the number of young professionals employed in an occupation in 2015 with the total number of young professionals employed in that job in 2019 in order to find the percentage increase. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s 2020 study on the fastest-growing jobs for young professionals. Read the 2019 version here.

Key Findings

  • Young professionals seek STEM and finance jobs. Four of the top 10 occupations for young professionals are categorized as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs. They include information security analyst, physician assistant, biological scientist and chemist and materials scientist. Three other jobs in the top 10 – purchasing managers, market research analysts and fundraisers – fall under job categories related to business and financial operations.
  • In top jobs, young professional growth outpaces overall growth. Across 17 of the top 20 jobs in our study, the four-year change in the number of young professionals joining an occupation exceeds the four-year change in total employment for that occupation. The three exceptions are architectural and engineering managers, logisticians and nurse practitioners.

1. Information Security Analysts

In an age where every business takes secure computing seriously, it makes sense that there are more jobs available to deal with firewalls and other technological security measures. There were 17,000 young professionals employed as information security analysts in 2015 and 46,000 in 2019, a jump of 171%. Total employment in the profession has grown by 79% during that time period.

2. Computer Control Programmers and Operators

Computer control programmers and operators is a job that the BLS classifies within in the production, transportation and material moving industry. Those employed in this job are responsible for programming and operating the machines that make items such as car and computer parts. The number of workers ages 25 to 34 employed in this field went from 15,000 in 2015 to 36,000 in 2019, a jump of 140%. The field as a whole grew by 23%, so it’s clear that companies are especially looking to young people to fill these roles.

3. Physician Assistants

A physician assistant is the only job in the top 10 of our study that requires education beyond a bachelor’s degree, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of young professionals from taking on the role. There were 29,000 young professionals ages 25 to 34 in this position in 2015 and 56,000 in 2019, a jump of 93%. Furthermore, 42.75% of all PAs in 2019 were young professionals, higher than all other jobs in the study.

4. Writers and Authors

Despite what you may have heard, there are still jobs available for those who are good with a turn of phrase. In 2015 there were 34,000 young professionals working as writers or authors. By 2019 that had grown to 58,000, resulting in a growth of 71%. Employment in the profession overall only grew by 8% over the same time period.

5. Biological Scientists

If you’re a young professional who loved dissecting frogs in freshman biology, you may consider moving towards becoming a biological scientist. There were 19,000 young professionals between ages 25 and 34 working in this field in 2015. By 2019 this figure had increased by 68% to 32,000. The field as a whole has grown over this period by 21%.

6. News Analysts, Reporters and Correspondents

Though the journalism industry is certainly volatile, it remains an important part of our society, and many young professionals are drawn to it. There were 32,000 young people working in this job in 2019, an increase of 60% from 20,000 in 2015. According to 2019 data from the BLS, young professionals now make up more than 34% of working news analysts, reporters and correspondents.

7. Purchasing Managers

A purchasing manager is the person at a company who buys the goods and services that company needs to operate. This occupation had 28,000 young professionals working in 2015, but by 2019, that had increased by 57% to 44,000. Young professionals made up only 19.38% of the occupation as a whole in 2019, the lowest percentage across the top jobs in the study.

8. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

Market research analysts and marketing specialists are the people who help companies promote their products and services to consumers. With an increased focus on digital marketing in recent years, it’s a great job for young professionals. In fact, the number of young professionals in this field increased by 54% between 2015 and 2019, from 83,000 to 128,000.

9. Fundraisers

A fundraising position is a good option for a young professional who thinks they might be good at organizing events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization. There were 19,000 young professionals working as fundraisers in 2015. By 2019 that number had jumped to 29,000, a 53% uptick.

10. Chemists and Material Scientists

Chemists and materials scientists can work in a range of roles, from doing research to making the materials that go on to be part of many consumer goods. There were 23,000 young professionals working as chemists and materials scientists in 2015. That had increased by 52% to 35,000 by 2019.

Data and Methodology

To find the fastest-growing jobs for young professionals, SmartAsset looked at employment data from 2015 and compared it to that from 2019. We considered only occupations that require a bachelor’s or advanced degree and filtered out any occupation that employed fewer than 15,000 people between the ages of 25 and 34 in 2015. We also filtered out any occupation with “other” and “miscellaneous” in the title due to lack of specificity. To rank the occupations, we looked at the percentage change in young professionals employed in each occupation from 2015 to 2019.

All data, including earnings data, comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment data is reported to the nearest thousand and growth is estimated based on that reporting.

Tips for Managing Your Money as a Young Professional

  • Trusted advice from a fellow professional. If you are a young professional, it is never too early to start thinking about making your money last – and an expert advisor can help. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.
  • It’s never too early to sock away funds for retirement. One of the best ways to plan for retirement is to use a workplace retirement plan as soon as you enter the workforce. If your job offers a 401(k) or similar plan, make sure to take advantage of it.
  • Looking to relocate? Don’t buy if you’re not ready. If you’re seeking new housing arrangements as you embark on your career, first take a closer look at your finances. Figure out whether you should rent or buy to ensure that you are making an informed decision.

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