The local employment picture continues to shine, with plenty of job opportunities for those with limited experience in some fields and escalating wages for many high-tech jobs, according to the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s 2000 Occupational Outlook.
The 12th annual survey of 485 local employers by the Workforce Partnership, the regional job training agency, confirmed what is apparently the strongest job growth environment in decades.
“The economic situation for San Diego can be characterized with strength and stability for the foreseeable future, especially for skilled and degreed workers,” said Larry Fitch, president of the Workforce Partnership.
Nearly all employers surveyed, 97 percent, said they intend to either increase or maintain the current levels of staffing. Of that group, 48 percent forecast a rise in employment, while the remaining 51 percent expect staffing levels to remain stable.
As was the case in recent years, the fastest-growing occupations were generally found in the high-tech sector.
Gary Moss, the Workforce Partnership’s labor market information coordinator, said among the fastest-growing jobs are computer engineers, database administrators and multimedia specialists.
The Occupational Outlook concentrates on 30 separate job titles each year and includes research from two previous years, bringing the total contained in the report to about 100 occupations.
Each job analysis includes such data as the education, training and skills required; the career ladder available; the existing and projected hiring market; and the hours and wages.
For example, computer engineers, also referred to as systems analysts and systems engineers, are in high demand and face little competition in the job search, according to the report.
The new job growth rate for these positions is 66 percent, well above the county’s nearly 18 percent growth rate for all jobs through 2004. That translates to an expected addition of 2,440 new jobs for this occupation.
Good Pay As Well
The salaries for this type of work are also well above the average scale for most jobs. Even new hires with no experience are earning a median salary of $31,200.
For those with some experience, the median rises to about $36,000, and after three years with the same firm, the median salary rises to about $45,000.
Besides jobs in the high-tech sector, the other fast-growing sector are jobs in the construction industry, according to the survey.
Among the jobs employers are having difficulty finding qualified people are heating and air-conditioning mechanics, plumbers, roofers and painters.
But Moss noted the growth projected last summer could be stilted should the Federal Reserve Board continue to increase interest rates, as has been predicted for next month.
The Outlook report also found a surprising number of openings for traditional blue collar jobs, such as sheet metal workers and tool and die makers.
Moss said employers in most industries are expecting new hires to possess computer skills, but are also placing increased emphasis on soft skills such as communications, problem-solving and the ability to work in teams.
In tandem with these expectations is a trend among an increasing number of employers demanding employees continue learning new skills after they are hired.
“As technology and business change the way we operate in our jobs, employers are asking their employees to continuously upgrade their skills,” Moss said.
The 2000 Occupational Outlook is available at the Workforce Partnership’s six career centers and at local high schools and libraries.