Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

The 15 Most Promising Jobs for Employment and Pay Growth in 2021

ImageFlow / Shutterstock.com

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the U.S. job market, and its impact will likely be felt for some time.

After publishing 2019-2029 job projections in the fall of 2020 that did not capture the effects of the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued alternate scenarios that model how jobs might be impacted if COVID-19 continues to have a moderate impact on the economy versus a strong one.

Across all occupations, job growth is expected to be almost one percentage point lower in the moderate impact scenario (2.9% versus 3.7%) and close to two percentage points lower in the strong impact scenario (1.9% versus 3.7%).

Though long-term job growth is muted in those scenarios and many jobs may be negatively affected going forward, there are still others that offer stable opportunities. In this study, we rank the most promising jobs for employment and pay, using the below methodology.

Data and Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

We filtered a total of 808 occupations detailed by the BLS by those with greater than 10% projected growth in employment (according to the moderate pandemic impact scenario) over the next 10 years. We also filtered by occupations with 2019 mean earnings greater than $64,240 (which is the 75th percentile of annual earnings nationally). The remaining 40 jobs are the most promising for employment and pay.

To rank those jobs further, we considered four metrics: 10-year expected percentage growth in employment, 10-year expected growth in number of workers, 2019 average earnings and four-year growth in earnings from 2015 to 2019. Both the 10-year expected percentage growth in employment and 10-year expected growth in number of workers are from the BLS’ moderate impact scenario.

We ranked each occupation in those four metrics, giving each an equal weighting. We then found each occupation’s average ranking and used the average to determine a final score.

The occupation with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The occupation with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Following are the most promising jobs for employment and pay.

1. Nurse Practitioners

Happy patient in the hospital
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 52.3%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 110,500

Average earnings in 2019: $111,840

4-year change in earnings: 10.45%

2. Medical and Health Services Managers

Financial manager
Amnaj Khetsamtip / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 31.5%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 133,000

Average earnings in 2019: $115,160

4-year change in earnings: 8.57%

3. Information Security Analysts

Information security analyst
leo_photo / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 42.1%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 55,200

Average earnings in 2019: $104,210

4-year change in earnings: 11.75%

4. Physician Assistants

A black female physician prescribing pills to an older black male patient
Burlingham / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 31.2%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 39,200

Average earnings in 2019: $112,410

4-year change in earnings: 13.24%

5. Financial Managers

Woman with financial adviser
Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 15.3%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 106,800

Average earnings in 2019: $147,530

4-year change in earnings: 9.83%

6. Statisticians

Woman statistician
Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 35.4%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 15,100

Average earnings in 2019: $95,680

4-year change in earnings: 13.31%

7. Postsecondary Health Specialties Teachers

Soccer coach
ALPA PROD / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 20.0%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 50,900

Average earnings in 2019: $121,620

4-year change in earnings: 6.21%

8. Computer and Information Research Scientists

antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 19.1%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 6,200

Average earnings in 2019: $127,460

4-year change in earnings: 10.28%

9. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Man working on computer cybersecurity and password manager
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 11.0%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 50,700

Average earnings in 2019: $156,390

4-year change in earnings: 10.91%

10. Computer Network Architects

Female computer scientist
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 14.5%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 23,200

Average earnings in 2019: $115,110

4-year change in earnings: 11.65%

11. Nurse Anesthetists

Anesthesiologist giving patient anesthesia
TORWAISTUDIO / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 13.6%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 6,100

Average earnings in 2019: $181,040

4-year change in earnings: 12.97%

12. Psychiatrists

Psychologist or therapist
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 11.9%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 3,300

Average earnings in 2019: $220,430

4-year change in earnings: 13.81%

13. Actuaries

Accountant or actuary
Phovoir / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 17.4%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 4,800

Average earnings in 2019: $120,970

4-year change in earnings: 9.42%

14. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

Female lab scientist using microscope
Likoper / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 28.9%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 39,900

Average earnings in 2019: $98,770

4-year change in earnings: 5.38%

15. Operations Research Analysts

Man doing market research on white board
alphaspirit / Shutterstock.com

Projected growth percentage, 2019-2029: 25.0%

Projected growth in jobs, 2019-2029: 26,200

Average earnings in 2019: $90,600

4-year change in earnings: 7.63%

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations

Female doctor looking at X-ray or other imaging test
AshTproductions / Shutterstock.com

Across the 40 occupations that are most promising for employment and pay, 13 of them fall under the category of healthcare practitioners and technical occupations. Two closely related jobs – nurse practitioners and physician assistants – rank at the top, in the No. 1 and No. 4 spots, respectively.

Though average earnings for physician assistants are slightly higher than average earnings for nurse practitioners ($112,410 versus $111,840), the number of nurse practitioners is expected to grow more quickly over the next 10 years. The BLS predicts that there will be 110,500 more nurse practitioners in 2029 than 2019, or a growth rate of 52.3%.

In comparison, the 10-year expected percentage growth and growth in number of workers for physician assistants are 31.2% and 39,200, respectively.

The two highest-paying jobs across the 40 most promising for employment and pay fall in the category of healthcare practitioners and technical occupations. They are psychiatrists and nurse anesthetists. According to BLS data, the average salary for psychiatrists was $220,430 in 2019 while average earnings for nurse anesthetists stood at $181,040.

Computer and Mathematical Occupations

Merkushev Vasiliy / Shutterstock.com

Four computer and mathematical occupations rank in our top 10 most promising jobs for employment and pay, while an additional three rank in our top 40. The top-ranking computer and mathematical occupations include information security analysts, at No. 3, and statisticians, at No. 6.

From 2015 to 2019, average earnings for information security analysts and statisticians grew by 11.75% and 13.31%, respectively. Additionally, looking forward, the BLS expects that employment of information security analysts and statisticians will increase by 42.1% and 35.4%, respectively, over the next 10 years.

The five other computer and mathematical occupations that are most promising for employment and pay include:

  • Computer and information research scientists
  • Computer network architects
  • Actuaries
  • Operations research analysts
  • Network and computer systems administrators

Though earnings for these five occupations range from about $88,400 to roughly $127,500, all five jobs have seen earnings increase over the past several years.

According to BLS data, the four-year growth in earnings exceeds 7% for all five occupations. Though the BLS does not predict forward-looking pay estimates, it does estimate that employment will grow by at least 14% for all five occupations from 2019 to 2029.

Life, Physical and Social Science Occupations

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Six of the 40 most promising jobs for employment and pay fall in the occupational category of life, physical and social science. They include:

  • Medical scientists (except epidemiologists)
  • Biochemists and biophysicists
  • Economists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Urban and regional planners
  • Microbiologists

Across those six occupations, economists have the highest average earnings ($116,630), while biochemists and biophysicists saw the greatest four-year change in pay, with average earnings increasing by almost 16%.

Over the coming 10 years, employment in each of the six occupations is expected to grow by upwards of 11%.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BLS predicts that from 2019 to 2029, the number of epidemiologists in the U.S. will increase by 31.0%, the sixth-highest rate for this metric across all 40 occupations. The occupation of medical scientists (not including epidemiologists) follows closely behind, with an expected 10-year growth rate of 28.9%.

To note, this is SmartAsset’s second study on the most promising jobs for employment and pay. Check out the previous edition here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More