Thursday, January 12, 2006

Best Jobs of 2006?

According to US News and World Report, quoted on Yahoo! Finance, librarianship is one of the 16 best jobs to have in 2006.

As much as I've loved this career, US News may have a hard time convincing the freshly-minted MLS's who are detailing their struggles to find meaningful work on the nextgenlib or newlib listservs.

Thanks to Wei Bender of OCLC Marketing for passing this news item to me.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but: "The need for librarians, unfortunately, may decline because search engines make it easy for patrons to find information without a librarian's help." Would you invest in a masters' degree for a "declining" profession?

Miss Anon

Andy Havens said...

The article does say that "The need for librarians... may decline..." but that's the gross number of jobs. If you check the link to the US Department of Labor page:

You'll see the following:

"Employment of librarians is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations over the 2004-14 period. However, job opportunities are expected to be very good because a large number of librarians are expected to retire in the coming decade. More than 3 in 5 librarians are aged 45 or older and will become eligible for retirement in the next 10 years, which will result in many job openings. Also, the number of people going into this profession has fallen in recent years, resulting in more jobs than applicants in some cases."

If you look a bit further down, you'll also find the following:

"Jobs for librarians outside traditional settings will grow the fastest over the decade. Nontraditional librarian jobs include working as information brokers and working for private corporations, nonprofit organizations, and consulting firms. Many companies are turning to librarians because of their research and organizational skills and their knowledge of computer databases and library automation systems. Librarians can review vast amounts of information and analyze, evaluate, and organize it according to a company's specific needs."

That second section may be, in the long run, more important than the first. In my former life in Legal Marketing, I had a number of conversations with professionals in the growing field of Knowledge Management (KM). A number of folks in academia and business were looking to librarians and library sciences programs to help them set up or improve their nascent KM programs.

There are very few established fields that are used to dealing (in a systematized way) with ontology, cataloging, searching, reference and information management as librarians. As more and more organizations store more and more content/data, knowing how to "deal with it" becomes more and more important. Librarians can help with that.

So... between the wave of Boomer retirees coming up and other industries picking off folks who can help design, manage and run various knowledge and data systems... I'm still very bullish on librarianship. You just have to be (as in any career in the 21st century) creative and canny about what you want to do with your degree and your experience.