The digital revolution has forever changed how the American workforce operates, and the nature of the jobs it performs. With every generation, more and more desk-less job opportunities become available for all industries, with virtually no end in sight.
According to a 2015 CareerBuilder study, between 2010 and 2014, technical non-desk occupations increased – such as the green energy industry’s 22% growth in desk-less service and installation posts, and a whopping 47% boost in rotary drill operator positions.
Like many experts in the career information field, Dr. Laurence Shatkin foresees the desk-less job trend continuing. In an update to the book he co-authored with Michael Farr, 175 Best Jobs Not Behind a Desk, Shatkin’s research concludes that between 2010 and 2020, these types of jobs will increase 23.5% for First-Line Construction Supervisors and Extraction Workers, 33.70% for Nursing Assistants, and 21.80% for the steel industry.
Timing Is Everything
There are several reasons why this is becoming the age of desk-less careers, one of which being that technological advances such as innovations in field service software and IoT technologies are allowing companies to create smarter systems that increase productivity and improve customer service.
Another contributing factor is that Baby Boomers – who are sometimes challenged by new technologies – are retiring. This makes way for a new generation of workers who are not only much more willing and adept at embracing new advancements in technology, but believe by overwhelming majority that developments in technology increase job satisfaction.
The Dawn of A New Workforce
By 2020, this new generation of workers – the Millennials – will account for 46% of the workforce in the United States. Born between 1983 and 2000, this is the is the nation’s largest generation, with a new set of values in regard to career fulfillment.
What are these new values? Along with receiving training and support, and contentment within the workplace culture, The BirdDogHR.com whitepaper, “Talent Management Trends for 2017”, reports that an essential factor for Millennial job satisfaction is having the ability to better balance work and life. In fact, 88% of Millennials have turned down a promotion or resigned from a job in the past when they were not able to achieve that desired balance.
The Benefits Of Non-desk Jobs For Millennials
Balancing work and life successfully, which is associated with a fulfilling career among Millennials, aligns with the freedom and flexibility offered by many non-desk positions, as evidenced in a Harris Poll conducted for CareerBuilder in 2014, which shows 41% of those surveyed believe flexibility is a benefit of their non-desk job.
With a non-desk job, Millenials can also look forward to being less overweight than their desk-working colleagues, and satisfying another item high on their job satisfaction list – compatibility with workplace culture. According to the same Harris Poll, 33% of respondents counted themselves happier with their work environment by not having to deal with office politics.
Regarding compensation, while those working traditional desk jobs have an edge in earning higher salaries, 61% of desk-less workers say they earn – or are close to earning – their desired salary.
Let’s take a look at several high-paying, desk-less careers awaiting the Millennial workforce.
1. Service Technician
Field service technicians are mobile repair professionals that troubleshoot, assess, and repair equipment of all kinds, for product manufacturers or service organizations.
Key responsibilities include: providing on-site customer service, coordinate workflow and scheduling, file reports, install/repair/maintain equipment, diagnose and fix equipment, communicate with team members, and perform all functions in accordance with company policies and procedures.
According to Payscale.com, hourly average wages for this position ranges from $14 – $28, with Industrial Hydraulics on the higher end. Median average wage: $19.45.
There are many types of Inspection positions in Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Construction, Home and Building Inspection, Welding, Piping, Mechanical and more.
Duties vary dependent upon the type of inspection, but in essence, an inspector examines, tests, inspects, and otherwise assesses and reports upon products, materials, and structures. In some cases, the Inspector will recommend adjustments, or accept/reject finished products or materials that do not meet necessary specifications.
Hourly wages for Inspectors typically range from $16.30 – $58.96.
3. Dental Hygienists
BusinessInsider.com reports that medical professions after a degreed post-secondary education or doctoral degree are the among the most highly compensated careers in the non-desk category. Dental Hygienists are part of that group, averaging approximately $34.19 an hour.
This noble profession is on the front line of patient care, providing assessment, health care, maintenance, disease prevention and case management to those who are sick, injured, disabled, or in recovery. Nurses are registered, and deserve every penny of their average salary – $31.00 according to Nurse Journal – which is above national salary averages.
5. Occupational Therapy
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that occupational therapy will see a 27% increase in jobs from 2014 – 2024, which is faster growth, on average, than other occupations. This career requires a Master’s Degree. The Occupational Therapist can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, private homes, nursing homes, and more. The median pay per hour in 2016 was $39.38.
6. Solar Photovoltaic Installer
Assembling, installing, and maintaining rooftop and solar panels for other structures is a profession that has shown a 22% growth from 2010-2014. Median hourly wage is reported by BusinessInsider.com as being $19.04.
7. Wind Turbine Service Tech
This is another exciting green energy profession on the rise. This highly technical profession involves servicing all elements and systems within wind turbine equipment. Since it requires electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic skills, the hourly rate is $23.79, as per BusinessInsider.com.
8. Electric Power Line Service Personnel
While this job has shown a lower growth percentage than other desk-less posts, the hourly rate is considerable at $30.85. This job requires technical skills necessary to install and repair electrical power systems.
9. Mechanical Engineering Tech
This highly skilled career is centered around mechanical engineering. The Mechanical Engineering Technician will work with in cooperation with engineering staff or other professionals to develop, modify, test, or calibrate machinery. Median earnings as per Business Insider are $25.19/hour.
10. A Surprising Generation
For all their digitally-intensive behaviors and habits, Millenials are a thoughtful group with an unseeingly positive outlook on life and business. Despite an economy that has been less than rosy, 54% of them have optimistic views about economic conditions. And, the vast majority cite believing in the purpose of the company they work for as the reason they remain.
Truly, Millennials have the grasp of technology, the skills and education, and the self-awareness to embark on a career path that will be fulfilling, meaningful, and connected to the world in which they live.