Which will be the best jobs to apply for if Romney wins the election, and who will be hiring if Obama is reelected? Although this is somewhat speculative, making career choices with election results in mind is not without merit. The candidates advocate different economic policies, after all, and if promises are kept, each will implement changes that will affect the job picture for various industries.
Flickr photo by Tom Lohdan
If Obama Remains President
At least one recent report on jobs indicates that at this point in the Obama presidency much of the job growth has been in the low-wage service sectors. That's not good news, but if that's where the jobs are, the tipped positions are likely to have the most income potential, as explained in a previous post here on how to get a raise without asking for one. But as the economy recovers there will probably be other industries that rebound, and more positions that have higher wages and decent benefits.
In his convention speech, President Obama promised "a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy..." Those promises suggest good prospects for career opportunities in the "green" industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently developed a definition of green jobs in order to start compiling data on these positions.
Their definition includes employment in energy auditing, green construction, the wind energy industry, and the fast-growing field of solar power. Some of these jobs will pay better than others, of course. Careers in solar power include being an atmospheric scientist and studying weather patterns in order to properly locate solar power arrays for maximum efficiency. The median annual wage for an atmospheric scientist is $87,780. More physicists will be needed to help develop better solar cells, and they average $106,370 per year.
Obama also said at the convention, "Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education." Given this goal, if Obama is reelected, it makes sense for those who would like to teach to consider a career teaching science or mathematics. Positions should be easier to find and the average wage for elementary school teachers is a bit over $51,000 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who pursue their interest in math a bit further can work as mathematicians, perhaps in one of the emerging "green" industries. The BLS notes that the average annual wage for mathematicians was $99,380 per year as of 2010.
Given that the requirement to buy health insurance under Obama's health care law kicks in in 2014, a career in the health insurance industry might offer some job security -- as long as Obama remains in office to see that this mandate is implemented. Somebody has to sell all those millions of policies that will soon be purchased, and others will be needed to process the inevitable increase in claims filed as well. The long-term risk with these jobs is that the United States government might someday provide health care to all citizens, and so eliminate the necessity of private health insurance. An insurance career in an area that provides the experience necessary for a government position might be a good idea for those going in this direction.
If Romney Is Elected
What if Mitt Romney wins the election? In Romney's Republican National Convention speech, he promised, "North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables." That bodes well for those pursuing careers in the domestic oil industry. Already some oil rig workers make thousands of dollars per week in North Dakota. Given that Romney started the line with "North America" rather than "the United States," it seems that tapping into Canada's oil reserves is part of his plan, so some job seekers might want to head further north.
Romney also promises to increase defense spending, therefore careers in the various industries that supply the military might offer job security if he is elected. Weapons positions involving design pay more than production jobs. There are also high-paying positions in military sales. The average annual wage for guided missile sales managers, for example, is $90,650 according to the BLS.
Good Jobs in Either Case
Whoever wins the election, tax preparers are likely to remain in high demand because of the complexity of the tax code. Legislation that truly simplifies it is unlikely since both Republicans and Democrats routinely use tax law for political and social purposes rather than as a means to raise revenue equitably to pay for government operations. BLS statistics show the average wage of tax preparers at just around $39,000 annually. Collecting those taxes as a government employee can be more lucrative, with the annual wage of tax examiners and collectors at $49,000 per year.
Becoming an accountant is perhaps one of the better career choices regardless of who is in office, in terms of both job numbers and wages. The BLS, in its job outlook forecast for accountants predicts a 16 percent increase in these positions by 2020. Accountants make a mean annual wage $70,130, with 10% making over $109,000 per year.
Readers who are on the verge of picking a college major or choosing a career may want to wait until after the election... or just plan to work in the industries where job growth is likely regardless of who is in Washington.