Occupations With Jobs in Many Industries

So what do you want to be when you grow up? Not sure? Join the club. Reality is, most of us don't know. By the time most college students start their junior year in college, and are required to declare a major, they still aren't entirely certain which career path they'll pursue upon graduation. Even after you obtain your first job, chances are you'll make a career change 5 to 7 times during your lifetime. If you're not sure what you want to be when you grow up, we suggest considering occupations with jobs in many industries. Preparing for an occupation that offers career opportunities in many industries provides the flexibility and mobility to easily change careers and apply your skills in many settings. For example, certified public accountants have financial and business skills that are sought after by employers in just about every industry world wide. Accountants can work in banking, medicine, retail, athletics, food services, real estate and more. They can also fill a number of positions, including controller, auditor, financial analyst, consultant, chief financial officer, or even CEO.

Below we'll explore occupations that provide workers with the highest level of career mobility, including occupations in business and finance; computer, technology and mathematics; management; and office administration. But before we move forward let's define what exactly we mean by "occupation". Simply put, an occupation is a group of jobs where workers perform similar tasks. For example, jobs for workers who develop design plans for commercial and residential structures are grouped together under the occupation of "architect".

Industry Can Make All The Difference
There are many factors, such as education, experience and location, that influence career prospects and opportunities. However, industry tends to be one of the biggest factors impacting a workers career options. The industry you choose to work in will often determine how much you can make, your work schedule, whether or not you'll receive benefits, job security, and future career advancement.

  • Work schedule. Whether you work a 4 day week, 5 day week, a 6 day week will depend on the industry you work in. Whether you work all day, in the mornings, at night, or a combination of the three will also depend on the industry you choose to work in. For example, nurses working for hospitals often work 16 hour shifts, 3 days a week. Educators who work in the public school system can look forward to a traditional 9 to 5 job, working 5 days a week. But they only work 9 months out of each year – typically with summers off.

  • Earning potential. Some industries are more lucrative to work in than others, even within the same occupation. Financial analysts that work in investment banking can earn well over $150,000 a year. Financial analysts working for insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions that service consumers, often earn a lot less.

  • Benefits. The ability to secure health insurance, dental coverage, retirement planning, and various other employer-provided benefits often varies from one industry to another. An accountant working with a big 5 accounting firm is likely to receive all of the aforementioned benefits. An accountant who gets a job with smart tech startup may be lucky to get part of his or her health insurance covered and is likely to receive stock options instead of a retirement plan or 401k.

  • Job opportunities. Larger industries typically offer a greater breadth of job opportunities and open positions compared to smaller industries. The more openings there are, the greater the likelihood of landing a job that pays wells and meets your criteria. As of 2013, there were over 14 million jobs in retail trade. By comparison, during the same time period, there were only 20,000 jobs in compensation and benefits management.

  • Location. Want to work in Petaluma, California? Or maybe St. Louis, Missouri? Want to have the choice of working wherever you want? Industry is also a factor when it comes to where you'll be able to work. Some industries, such as banking, only offer job opportunities in major metropolitan areas. Jobs in healthcare typically can be found in just about any city with a reasonable population.

  • Job outlook. Future job opportunities and employment forecasts vary by industry. Over the next 10 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that over 64,200 new jobs will be created for Dental Hygienists. By comparison, over 286,400 new jobs are projected for Pharmacists over the same time period. In contrast, manufacturing jobs are expected to decline over the next decade. Employment projections vary by both industry and industry sector.

Occupations with Job Options in Many Industries

Many occupations offer workers some career mobility. For example, while most architects focus on residential or non-residential building design, a smaller number of architects work in other industries, including bridge making, boat building, or cityscape. However, most occupations do not offer job options in many industries. We're going to explore those occupations that provide jobs across hundreds of diverse industries and offer workers maximum employment opportunities throughout their career. All occupations we'll identified have greater than 1,000 jobs across various industries.

Business and Finance
Finance, financial analysis and accounting are at the heart of any for-profit or non-profit business or organization that seeks to maximize profits and/or operational efficiency. This is why experienced, knowledgable business and finance professionals are in high demand. It's also why they're able to work in just about any industry they want.

While education requirements for business and finance professionals are typically high (minimum of bachelor's degree), so is the pay they can recieve once they're in a good position. As of May 2013, the median annual wage for business and finance professionals was substantially higher than the median annual wage for workers in all other occupations.

The following are the three business and finance occupations that offer workers job opportunities across the largest number of industries.

  • Accountants and auditors. With nearly 1.2 million workers nation wide, accounting and auditing is by far the largest employment sector within business and finance occupations. Accountants understand and speak accounting – the language of business. For this reason, they're a vital component of any financially sound and operationally efficient business or organization. They analyze financial records, prepare financial statements, track expenses, prepare tax statements, and provide financial advice. Accountants and auditors are employed in over 280 industries, with the largest number being employed in bookkeeping, payroll services, and tax preparation. Some of the highest paying job sectors for accountants include securities and commodity brokerage, motion picture, video production, and software publishing.

  • Management analysts. More commonly referred to as management consultants, management analysts specialize in analyzing business operations (including financial structure, industry, marketing, etc.) and then making recommendations for improvements. They also develop actionable plans and designs to help business owners and managers achieve their operational and strategic goals. Management analysts are employed in over 200 industries, with the largest number of analysts (almost 30%) being employed in management and technical consulting services. Other industries that employ management analysts include higher education, federal government, and computer systems design. At a median annual wage of $80,000 a year, management consulting is among the top paid of any business and finance occupations.

  • Human resources managers. Human resources managers are responsible for recruiting, hiring, and training employees. They're also tasked with administration of employee benefits, reviewing resumes and interviewing job candidates, processing employee related paperwork, and conducting new employee orientation. Human resources managers are employed in over 260 industries, with nearly 20% employed by employment service companies. Most medium to large corporations employ human resources managers or specialists.

Table 1: Business and finance occupations found in many industries.
Occupation Employment Annual median wage
Accountants 1,170,000 $65,000
Management Consultants 568,000 $80,000
Market Research Analysts 430,000 $61,000
Human Resources Managers 427,000 $57,700
Purchasing Agents 285,000 $60,000
Employee Development Specialists 225,000 $57,000
Logisticians 120,000 $74,000
Compensation Specialists 82,000 $60,000
Event and Convention Planners 74,000 $46,000
Budget Analysts 59,000 $70,000
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) OES survey. Figures rounded to the nearest thousand.

Computer, Technology and Mathematics
Our world revolves around technology. Go to a restaurant, a mall, a movie, or even a public bathroom and you're sure to see peoples' faces glued to a digital communication device, or smart phone. Digital communication and computer technology are also an intricate component of business operations. Consequently, there seems to be a never ending list of computer and technology related occupations and employment opportunities for workers with the requisite skills.

Given the high level of education and/or skill required for a career in computers, technology and mathematics professionals, wages for these workers are relatively high when compared with those for workers in all occupations. In fact, many computer and technology occupations have a median wage more than double the median for all occupations.

The following are the three computer, technology and mathematics occupations that offer workers job opportunities across the largest number of industries.

  • Software developers. With the advent of digital technology and rapid adoption of hand held smart devices, the demand for custom applications that enable users to perform specific tasks on their digital devices has skyrocketed – as has the demand for technology professionals that can develop these applications. Software application developers are among the highest paid and in-demand of computer workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 150 industries employed application software developers and over a third of all jobs are in systems design. Some of the more popular industries where application developers can be found include insurance, telecommunications, and software publishing, among others. Pay for application software developers ranges from $71,000 a year on the low end, to over $118,000. Other top paying industries include aerospace, e-commerce, motion picture, and parts manufacturing.

  • Computer support specialists. As their name suggests, computer support specialists provide technical support to computer users. Computer support specialists help customers, employees and other computer users resolve issues and problems relating to software and hardware systems. Computer support specialists are employed in over 250 industries. Just over 20% of computer support specialists work in computer systems design. The top paid computer support specialists work in medical manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing and R&D.

  • Computer systems analysts. The main task of a computer systems analyst is to recommend and provide computer hardware and software updates for businesses and organizations. They also help organizations develop sound IT practices, train system users, and research new technologies. Computer systems analysts are employed in approximately 180 industries, with nearly a third working in computer systems design. Pay for computer systems analysts ranges from $67,000 to $94,000 a year. Top paying industries include natural gas distribution; aerospace manufacturing; and construction, mining and agriculture machinery.

Table 2: Computer, technology and mathematics related occupations found in many industries.
Occupation Employment Annual median wage
Application Software Developers 644,000 $93,000
Computer Support Specialists 541,000 $47,000
Computer Systems Analysts 507,000 $82,000
Network Administrators 362,000 $74,000
Computer Network Support Specialists 165,000 $61,000
Computer Network Architects 142,000 $95,000
Database Administrators 115,000 $79,000
Web Developers 113,000 $63,000
Information Security Analysts 78,000 $89,000
Operations Research Analysts 73,000 $75,000
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) OES survey. Figures rounded to the nearest thousand.

Any successful business or organization relies on effective managers. Managers help lead organizations to success by implementing sound and proven management and leadership principles. Management professionals are among the top paid workers in the United States. As of May 2013, the median annual wage for management occupations was nearly three times higher than the median annual wage for all occupations. However, high pay doesn't come without hard work and sacrifice. To become a manager requires experience, knowledge, skills and, more often than not, a college education.

The following are the three management occupations that offer workers job opportunities across the largest number of industries.

  • General managers. As their name suggests, general managers assume a large range of managerial responsibilities relating to the general management of businesses, organizations, departments and regional offices. Some of their main responsibilities include P&L, budgeting, forecasting, developing policies, marketing and developing general business plans for the future. General managers are employed in over 290 industries. General managers work at restaurants, grocery stores, corporate offices, oil companies, utilities, and manufacturing firms, among others. General managers make from $55,000 a year, on the low end, to over $175,000 a year.

  • Financial managers. These professionals are responsible for the financial health of a company. They are involved in and/or manage all money-related tasks including budgeting, investments, cash flow analysis, financial statement analysis, insurance, raising capital, expenditures and tax planning. These professionals are employed in over 260 industries. The largest percentage of financial manager (about 15%) work for banks and other credit issuing financial institutions. Financial managers can make anywhere from $82,000 to $166,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top paying industries for financial managers include investment advising, venture capital, and portfolio management.

  • Sales managers. These professionals manage teams of sales representatives. They often recruit and hire their own team members. They set sales goals and quotas, assign territories, and are respoonsible for overall team performance. Sales managers are employed in roughly 250 industries. Anywhere that goods and services need to be sold to consumers and wholesalers, you'll find sales managers. They work in corporate management, for grocery chains, product wholesalers, automotive dealers, insurance companies, and more. On average, sales managers earn between $56,500 and $187,000 a year. Top paying industries include security and commodity brokerage, computer manufacturing, apparel, merchant wholesaling, and research and development.

Table 3: Management occupations found in many industries.
Occupation Employment Annual median wage
General Managers 1,975,000 $97,000
Financial Managers 500,000 $113,000
Sales Managers 353,000 $109,000
Administrative Services Managers 270,000 $83,000
Chief Executive Officers 249,000 $172,000
Marketing Managers 174,000 $124,000
Human Resources Managers 111,000 $101,000
Public Relations Managers 54,000 $99,000
Training and Employee Development Specialists 28,500 $99,000
Benefits Managers 18,000 $102,000
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) OES survey. Figures rounded to the nearest thousand.

Office Administration and Support
Office and administrative support staff can be found working in just about every business and organization in existence. This would explain why there over 12 million workers employed in office and administrative support occupations. While wages among office and administrative support workers vary, on average, these workers earn more than the median annual wage for workers of all occupations. Minimum entry-level requirements for office and administrative support positions include a high school diploma or equivalent. Most workers in this occupation learn their trade through on-the-job training.

The following are the three office administration and support occupations that offer workers job opportunities across the largest number of industries.

  • Office clerks. These professionals perform various tasks to help ensure an office runs smoothly and efficiently. They file documents, take calls, order supplies, and can even help prepare presentations. Their responsibilities will vary from employer to employer, and from industry to industry. As of May 2013, there were nearly 3 million office clerks employed in the United States across 290 industries. The two industries that employ the most office clerks include employment services and local government. Office clerks typically make between $22,000 and $54,000 a year. Postal service is one of the highest paying industries for office clerks.

  • Customer service reps. Customer loyalty is the key to long-term profitability. Superior customer service is the key to long-term customer loyalty. And skilled customer service representatives are the key to superior customer service. Customer service representatives support a business's customers by responding to questions and addressing concerns. Their daily routine usually involves answering phone calls, responding to emails or working directly with customers one on one. There are over 270 industries that employ customer service representatives and there are over 2.3 million employed in the United States. About 10 percent of customer service representatives are employed by telemarketing firms and other business support companies. They also work for travel companies, insurance companies, and reservation services, among many other industries. Wages for customer service representatives ranges from $20,000 to $50,000 a year.

  • Secretaries and administrative assistants. These professionals perform administrative and office support functions for executives and supervisors. Specific responsibilities will vary by employer but typical job duties might include creating spreadsheets and presentations, filing documents, performing research, coordinating schedules, word processing, and communicating with other staff. Secretaries and administrative assistants are employed in over 280 industries. Over 10% of administrive assistants and secretaries work in elementary and secondary schools. These workers earn between $23,500 and $50,000 a year. The highest paid positions are typically found with the federal government, telecommunication companies and research and development.

Table 4: Office administration and support occupations found in many industries.
Occupation Employment Annual median wage
Office Clerks 2,830,000 $28,000
Customer Service Representatives 2,390,000 $31,000
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants 2,160,000 $32,900
Bookkeeping 1,590,000 $36,000
Administrative Assistants 755,000 $50,000
Data Entry 208,000 $29,000
Payroll Clerk 171,000 $39,000
Human Resources Assistants 137,000 $38,000
Procurement Clerks 68,700 $39,000
Computer Operators 67,500 $39,000
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) OES survey. All figures rounded to nearest thousand.
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