From Healthcare to Education, These Are the Hottest Jobs of 2022 and Beyond

·8 min read
Megan and Ty DeWitt are travel nurses based in Charleston, South Carolina.
Megan and Ty DeWitt are travel nurses based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Once upon a time, workers in America found good jobs, settled in, donned their suits and uniforms and walked, drove, bussed or trained every morning to their office cubicles, restaurants, hospitals or other workplaces, where they put in eight hours of labor and hoped for a yearly raise. Not anymore.

The workplace and job market has changed drastically over the past 50 years, and some of the biggest changes have come as a result of the pandemic. The traditional working way in the U.S. has been upended—from where we work and what we wear to how many hours we log. Workers are in the driver’s seat in many ways—job postings on Indeed.com were 53.5 percent above pre-pandemic levels this summer, and unemployment in the U.S. is at 3.5 percent, one of the lowest rates of the past 50 years. But it’s not all sunshine and flex time. We’re also working more hours (a total of 10–11 per day) than we have for decades and burning out and quitting faster than ever (a record-breaking 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs to find something new in March 2022).

“There’s not just a ‘Great Resignation,’” says Laura Putnam, author of Workplace Wellness That Works. “People quit their jobs and start new ones, and if that new one doesn’t fit what they’re looking for, they’re ready to leave to find one that does.”

Work in 2022 and beyond is likely to include more flexible hours, a combination of in-office and remote work, workplaces that look and feel more like home, and more attention to a company culture that matches personal values. “Workers have more leverage to go out and ask for what they want,” says Glassdoor lead economist Daniel Zhao. That means, for one thing, working from home: 9 percent of all job searches on Indeed.com now include the phrase “remote work,” compared to 2.5 percent in 2019, says Nick Bunker, director of economic research in North America for Indeed’s Hiring Lab. In a survey by workspace provider IWG, more than half of millennials (workers ages 26–41) said they’d quit if asked to return to in-person work full-time.

Employees also want flexibility in working hours and time off. Some 67 percent of workers now feel empowered to take advantage of flexible working arrangements, compared to 25 percent before the pandemic, according to ADP Research Institute.

What’s more: They want a workplace that’s more inclusive. “Employers realized that from an equity standpoint, not everyone is coming from the same place. They need to make more effort to bring people up,” says Priscilla Koranteng, chief people officer at Indeed. Following a renewed racial justice movement after the death of George Floyd in 2020, companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index hired as many as a dozen new diversity chiefs per month, almost triple the rate of the previous 16 months, according to executive recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates.

Both employers and employees have “learned a lot about how to navigate the new world of work,” Koranteng says. “We’ve learned how to create more inclusivity, how to be agile. I’m very optimistic.” So, what does the future hold for working Americans? And how does that compare to years past? We take a look.

Related: What People Earn 2022: What Everyday Americans Are Making

Some Things Don't Change Fast Enough

Wages: In 1945, men made an average of $2,079 while women made $980. Today, those numbers are, for men, $58,656 and, for women, $48,828.

Related: The World of Work Then & Now

Health Care Is Hot

Jobs for nurse practitioners—registered nurses who’ve had additional schooling so they can perform physical exams, order labs and prescribe medicines—are predicted to grow 52 percent by 2030. Median pay: $123,780 per year.

Some of the demand is “about how difficult that job has been during the pandemic and the burnout workers are feeling,” says Glassdoor’s Daniel Zhao.

Parade talked with travel nurses Megan, 29, and Ty DeWitt, 33, based in Charleston, South Carolina, who each make $89,000 a year helping fill some of that demand at hospitals across the country: “We fill staffing needs in hospitals across the U.S. by working short-term contracts. We love the flexibility and freedom that this job provides and enjoy having the ability to travel while we work and time off between contracts.”

Calling All Educators

Today, the job outlook for elementary school teachers is expected to grow.

Then: One of the jobs with the best outlook in the 1940s (the early years of the baby boom) was teaching, a career offering excellent immediate employment opportunities. In 1946, teachers earned from $1,875 (in small towns) to $2,900 (in major cities)—that would be $28,000 to $44,000 in 2022. Now: Median teacher pay is $61,350.

Parade spoke with Molly Anderson, 57, a former teacher who continues to make a difference in the education world. She makes $104,000 as an education programs consultant in Sacramento, California: “After 26 years as a high school business teacher, I now work for the California Department of Education. I oversee business and marketing education programs in the state. The best part about my job is working with teachers and advisers and helping them with resources, funding sources and opportunities, providing professional development and overall moral support.”

Food & Drink

Tending bar is a high-demand job with 32-percent job growth predicted by 2030.

Then: In 1970, bartenders at both hotels and restaurants averaged between $2 and $3 an hour. Now: The average bartender pay today is $26,350.

South Carolina bar manager, Jessie Leigh, 33, makes $49,000. “I run a cocktail bar in downtown Charleston and have been a career bartender for 12 years. My current manager position has given me more knowledge about different spirits and craft cocktails.”

Tech Is Booming

Tech jobs continue to top any list of hot, booming and in-demand careers, like information security analysts, who plan and implement security measures to protect companies’ computer networks and systems (median pay: $102,600). E-commerce jobs, fueled by the surge in online shopping, will probably stay strong, says Nick Bunker, because people may simply be less likely to go to stores. And that includes jobs like logisticians (median pay: $77,030), who analyze and coordinate supply chains, with expected 30 percent growth by 2030, says BLS.

People like e-commerce seller Theresa Cox, 58, make $95,000 a year selling things on line. Cox lives in Gilbert, Arizona. “I sell new and used items internationally, which helps pre-owned items find new owners, encourages sustainability and reduces the carbon footprint across the globe.”

In Menasha, Wisconsin, Selina Leitner, 26, makes nearly $10,000 a year working as a Turo host. Turo is a peer-to-peer carsharing app that allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles.

“Turo has been a fantastic means of earning passive income on a vehicle that I already own, while also fitting into my busy schedule,” Leitner says.

Boise, Idaho, Airbnb host Kristie Wolfe, 39, has made a business out of renting out living spaces. “Before making Airbnb my full-time career, I worked in a potato factory. I had three Airbnb rentals under my belt, but I heard the Idaho Potato Commission was getting rid of a six-ton model potato that they’d used to tour the U.S. They ended up gifting me the potato, and I spent $32,000 in construction to make it into a house and add a bathroom. It was a huge success and I’ve rolled the resulting income into additional unique builds.”

Even retirees are harnessing technology for later-in-life careers. Donna Jones, 65, works from her home in Brooklyn, New York, as a virtual personal assistant. She makes $22,000 a year. “As a retiree, I love the work I do helping professional men and women simplify their lives by completing tasks that never make it off their to-do list. For example, I make sure important milestones, meetings and appointments are added to their calendars. I research the best flights, hotel prices and activities. I purchase groceries online and find qualified contractors and suppliers for household management. I organize parties, schedule doctor appointments, research for the right holiday gift, purchase gift certificates and make restaurant reservations.”

Personal Care Is on the Upswing

Future: After two years of seeing every pore and wrinkle on Zoom, we’re all more aware than ever of how we look, which is why there’s a huge demand for personal care services, like facials, eyebrow grooming and haircuts. Jobs for skin-care specialists will grow 29 percent by 2030 (median pay: $37,300 per year), while jobs for barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists will increase 19 percent by 2030 (median pay: $29,970 per year). And don’t forget the importance of all that human touch we missed out on for so long: Jobs for massage therapists will grow 32 percent (median pay: $46,910/year).

Flashback: Working Women

In a 1940 chart of major professional occupations, the number of women working as engineers, accountants, dentists, architects and veterinarians was “too few to show on the chart.” That year, women dominated teaching, nursing, social work and librarian jobs, although they held their own as musicians, the one category in which the number of men and women employed was roughly equal. The median wage for working women in 1945 was $980 compared to $2,079 for men—or 47 cents for every dollar men earned. Today, in the first quarter of 2022, the median wage for full-time women workers in the U.S. was $48,828 per year—83 cents on the dollar to men.

Related: What People Earn 2022: What Celebrities Are Making