Dear Career Advisor:
I am a regular reader of
your columns and I must say they are very helpful. I often look forward to your
responses to readers and I have seen where concerns and/or questions have been
answered. It’s my first time writing to you and I hope you can assist me as
well. I am a high school student completing the last few months before my
exams, which I must say I am happy about but, at the moment, I am also in doubt
and worried. I applied to a university already, but I haven’t received a
response as yet. I am also thinking of applying to other institutions but I am
at a narrow road because I really don’t know what courses I should consider or
which career path to choose. I am not sure what careers are in demand now. I
fear that by the end of my studies I might not find employment because of what
I studied. I would like something in government due to the benefits offered. I
would greatly appreciate getting your help in figuring things out.
This week we respond to
the second of your concerns: what careers are in demand now and whether you
will be able to find employment at the end of your programme of study.
Due to technological
advances and global demands, without a doubt there are jobs that have become
obsolete and others that in a few years will experience reduced demand. Each
year, organisations such as the Ministry of Labour and Social Security publish
data outlining career trends, declining careers, and “hot jobs”. With the high
cost of obtaining higher education, you will naturally want to know that your
investment will bear favourable outcomes. Therefore, keeping abreast of these
trends is useful.
Do note, however, that
while many of these predictions are based on current labour market information,
trends can change; jobs that are hot in one period might not be relevant a
Additionally, do not
choose a career or sector just for the compensation package or benefits
offered. Who says that those benefits will remain as attractive over time?
Importantly too, note that the seemingly well-paid job might not necessarily be
the right one for you. In the grand scheme of things, job satisfaction and
career fulfilment are of much greater significance than earnings alone. A
better predictor of your career pathway is the thoughtful evaluation of your
interests, skills, abilities, values, and capacity to learn.
You expressed fear that
you might choose a programme of study and in the end not be able to find
employment. Forgive me for using one of my favourite career mantras, but
“skills and competencies cut across industry lines”. While your academic or
training programme formally prepares you for the job market, it is the
application of your competencies that will help you to land a job, or create
your own employment. Therefore, while you study, focus on achieving excellence
and mastery in your endeavours instead of on the availability of jobs.
Follow the steps
indicated last week. Approach all your opportunities with an open mind, a
positive outlook, and with enthusiasm.
All the best!
Carolyn Marie Smith is
associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University
in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at