Just in time for "back-to-school," Washington state offers a glimpse into the future demand of more than 800 professions over the next eight years. Will your job still be sought after when today's high-school kids graduate college?

Share story

If you’ve always had a dream of working with dogs and have been considering paying for animal training school by taking one of the many iron and rebar-related construction jobs in the Seattle, I have some good news for you. But if you’ve dreamed of a career running a printing press and wanted to work your way up in the book binding and finishing business, well, you’d better sit down — we have to talk.

These are just two over-simplified, extreme cases where the results of the Employment Security Department’s just-released Employment Projections report can help you decide your career — just in time for the back-to-school rush. The report is divided into predictions for periods of two, five and 10 years, starting in 2013, and focused on 12 regions across the state.

If you are one of the lucky few job seekers who fit into the narrow first scenario above, the stars may be aligned for you in the Puget Sound region, as construction-related jobs are expected to see the greatest increase in new jobs (most between 5 and 7 percent, annually) through the second quarter of 2016. Iron workers are expected to be most in demand, at 7.7 percent growth per year. Meanwhile, for the long-range period, from 2018 to 2023, animal trainers took the top spot in average annual growth, at nearly 4.5 percent per year. Who knew?

On the bottom end is (no surprise) the printing industry in the Seattle-King County area, with a plunge in demand of nearly 4.8 percent in demand for book binders through 2016 and a drop of more than half a percent for press operators between now and 2023.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Fortunately, the Seattle-King County area has more than just a handful of occupations to choose from. In this latest edition of ESD’s report, more than 800 occupations are listed. Statewide, most occupations show a positive demand in all 12 divisions, with an average annual growth from 2013 through 2023 projected at 1.8 percent — from as high as 1.94 percent growth in Seattle-King County to a low of 1.43 percent for the Kitsap, Clallam and Jefferson tri-county area.

Some other key data points for job growth through 2023 include:

  • After taking a huge hit during the Great Recession, Seattle’s construction and extraction industries are expected to see the largest increase by share of employment (0.11 percent).
  • The top three most sought-after “hard skills” will be food preparation, bilingual and quality assurance.
  • The fastest growth is projected for skills related to information technology.

As many college and high-school students are planning their next semesters, and possibly thinking about which career path to choose, the easily searchable ESD report is available for free as a PDF document on the ESD site, along with the Learn About an Occupation function. While there won’t be a test on the subject, the report should be required reading for anyone planning on starting a career within the next eight years.