The job market is constantly changing, and jobs naturally experience growth or decline. Before you choose your career path, you need to understand what a job outlook is and whether it is a smart choice to look for work in a particular field.

Finding your first job right out of college can be intimidating, especially if your skills and qualifications bring you to industries with big corporations and scores of talented people. The key is not to narrow yourself down to very specific entry-level positions. If you understand the career for a number of different industries, you can find the job that is the right fit and will benefit you on your path to success.

Job Outlook Definition

The job outlook is the change in the number of people that are employed in a certain occupation over a selected period of time. The period of time is usually two, five, or ten years.

Economics professionals are in charge of predicting how much the rate of employment will either increase or decrease between the base year and the target year. This estimated job growth is important when you’re looking for career options within the industry you’re interested in. Apart from the salary and your interest in a particular field, you should also look into how the job you want is expected to perform in the next few years.

What is a good job outlook percentage?

The job outlook percentage is determined by comparing the job growth of all occupations over the same period of time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) determines this percentage by usually estimating the growth an occupation is supposed to have within ten years.

Any percentage that is higher than average is supposed to be good for the field. These are the job outlook percentages, according to BLS:

  • 14% or more increase (grow much faster than average)
  • 9%-13% increase (grow faster than average)
  • 5-8% increase (grow as fast as average)
  • 2%-4% increase (grow more slowly than average)
  • 1% decrease or increase (have little to no change)
  • 2% decrease (considered decline)

Why You Need to Consider the Job Outlook of a Career

When considering a certain job, there are many things—such as compatibility, qualifications, the industry, the responsibilities—to take into account. Another decisive factor in career research is the job outlook. If you find that a job suits you, but the employment rate is expected to decrease in the following years, it might be time to consider other options.

Another way to understand your career outlook in any industry is to know what skills and qualifications you bring to the table. While you may have a solid education, you will also want to make sure that you have a set of transferable skills that will further your career in the right direction. Remember, there are many high-paying associate degree jobs with a good outlook, too, which you can land with the right skills.

Knowing the job outlook of occupation is also valuable when you’re considering changing your career pathway. It’s good to look both into your current and desired job growth. If your current career’s employment rate is expected to decrease, then you should consider a career change and make sure that it has a positive job outlook.

What Are Your Options if the Career You Are Interested in Has a Poor Outlook?


It can be demoralizing to find out that the career you want has a poor job outlook. However, that shouldn’t be the case. Although economists are good at predicting it, the growth of a particular career can increase and decrease unexpectedly due to a variety of factors.

Additionally, you can opt for slightly changing the course of your career. Here are some ways to achieve that.

1. Consider getting a field-specific certificate

Getting a certificate can help you master the skills needed for a specific job. Certificates are oftentimes focused on equipping you with knowledge and skills to make you more employable.

If you’re considering changing your career, finishing a certificate program can help you quickly gain the field-specific skills you need. In addition, they usually last up to two years, so you would get back in the job market quickly. You can choose to follow two of the certificate programs, graduate and undergraduate, both of which are short-term programs with a focus on the technical area of a subject.

2. Find industries where your skills are in demand

Having a certain degree doesn’t mean going for one job only. There are many different industries that may require someone with your skills to complete a certain job.

For instance, if you have a Computer Science degree, you may think that you need to look for a job within a company that manufactures computers or creates software. This can be a great position, but a computer science degree can also be applied to almost any industry because high-level computer skills are in demand for corporations, retailers, small businesses, and even government positions. The same can be said about information technology degrees and cybersecurity degrees.

3. Think outside the box

Thinking outside of the box, in this case, translates to considering job options outside of a traditional worldview. In today’s world, you can choose to work in a range of industries depending on the education you have.

Just because you studied for years to become an accountant doesn’t mean that you must work as an accountant for the rest of your working life. There are many jobs suitable for people who are trained for one specific job but find themselves looking for more. In the case of qualified accountants, they can also easily find jobs as auditors, analysts, and managers in a range of industries.

Examples of job outlooks

Here are some examples of job outlooks as provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Healthcare administrator job outlook

Healthcare administration is a stable healthcare position with a good job outlook. BLS foresees a tremendous growth rate (32%) in employment for the next decade for this profession. This growth is due to U.S. population aging. The increase in elderly individuals means that healthcare staff and services are in high demand and will continue to increase over the next ten years.

Management analyst job outlook

The employment of management analysts is projected to grow 14% over the next decade, a substantial growth compared to other occupations. More than 99,000 management analysts’ job openings are expected to open each year from 2020 to 2030, BLS reports.

Tax manager job outlook

A tax manager position falls under the category of a financial manager. And according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of these professionals is expected to grow 17% over the decade, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all professions.

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International trade specialist job outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees the employment opportunities for international trade specialists to grow by 22% through 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS attributes this growth to more industries using data and market research in their daily operations.

Corporate controller job outlook

A corporate controller falls under the category of a financial manager. And according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of these professionals is expected to grow 17% over the next ten years, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

What Is the Average Job Outlook?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job outlook is about 5 to 8 percent. The BLS uses this metric when displaying job outlook information to consumers, and it means that the employment for a particular profession is predicted to increase at an average growth rate compared to all occupations. Furthermore, BLS reports that the average growth for total employment is expected to grow 7.7 percent over the decade.

What Is Considered a Good Job Outlook?

Simply put, a good job outlook is considered one that is higher than the average outlook for all occupations. An expected growth rate of 9 to 13 percent is considered a good job outlook because it indicates an increase in job openings but at a slightly slower growth rate. And a projected growth rate of 14 percent or more means that a particular occupation is growing at a pretty good rate, which is great news for you.

What Job Has the Highest Job Outlook?

According to the BLS, the fastest-growing occupations are:

  • Motion picture projectionists (70% growth rate, 2020-30)
  • Wind turbine service technicians (68% growth rate, 2020-30)
  • Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers (62% growth rate, 2020-30)
  • Nurse practitioners (52% growth rate, 2020-30)
  • Solar photovoltaic installers (52% growth rate, 2020-30)

But, keep in mind that a high job outlook does not necessarily mean a higher-paying job. Consider and research other factors such as the median salary, bonuses, etc.

What job has the lowest job outlook?

Here are the fastest declining professions between 2020 to 2030, according to BLS:

  • Word processors and typists
  • Parking enforcement workers
  • Nuclear power reactor operators
  • Cutters and trimmers, hand
  • Telephone operators
  • Watch and clock repairers
  • Door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors, and related workers

Understanding the job outlook and how you can use it for your career is important. Apart from job growth, there are other things to take into account when searching for a job, such as the number of people applying for it, your education, the highest paying career with your degree, etc. It’s also good to keep in mind that if a job doesn’t have a great outlook, there are ways to make it in the industry without going for that specific job.

We hope this has helped you. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does job outlook matter when choosing a career?

Job outlook gives insight into the future demand for specific occupations. It helps you assess the likelihood of finding employment and potential growth opportunities in your chosen field.

How accurate are job outlook predictions?

Job outlook predictions are based on current trends and economic forecasts. While they provide a guideline, unexpected changes in technology, market demands, or policies can alter these predictions.

Should I solely base my career choice on a high job outlook?

While a good job outlook is beneficial, it’s essential to consider personal interests, skills, and values. A fulfilling career often aligns with one’s passions and strengths, even if the job outlook isn’t extremely high.

What can I do if my desired career has a poor job outlook?

Consider diversifying skills through certificates or exploring related industries where your expertise could be valuable. Additionally, adapting and being open to unconventional job roles within your field can offer alternative career paths.

Do high job outlooks always mean higher salaries?

Not necessarily. While job growth is positive, salary levels depend on various factors like experience, location, industry demand, and specialized skills. Some high-growth fields may offer moderate salaries.

How often do job outlook projections change?

Job outlook projections are typically updated every few years to reflect evolving economic conditions, technological advancements, and demographic shifts. However, major unforeseen events can prompt more frequent updates.

Can a poor job outlook be improved over time?

Yes, it’s possible. Industries evolve, and factors influencing job outlooks can change. Upskilling, gaining relevant experience, and adapting to industry changes can improve prospects even in fields initially deemed with poor outlooks.