The Best Animal Lover Jobs for 2016 and Beyond?
By Paula Fitzsimmons
Working for animals is a labor of love. If your career aspirations involve protecting some of this planet’s most defenseless creatures, there’s probably little that can keep you from your goals.
Including job forecasts.
I’m not a huge fan of basing career choices solely on statistics, and here are a few reasons why . . .
• What good is choosing a career based on a trend or statistic if it doesn’t bring you satisfaction?
• There are no guarantees that a job on this year’s – or this decade’s – “best” or “hottest” list will remain there indefinitely. Economies, trends, and markets change.
• High-growth fields attract a lot of attention – which in turn could cause the market to become over-saturated.
• Even if a field has plateaued or is growing slowly, organizations still need to hire people to get the work done. Workers retire and resign; new jobs are created.
Fewer openings mean you’ll have to learn ways to stand apart from your competition and learn to adapt.
That said, forecasts can also be useful as a general guideline. If the US Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook or other job reports continue to say that a job is trending down cycle after cycle, it’s a sign to pay attention. It doesn’t mean you can’t still work in the same field – animal care, fundraising, communications – but you may need to tweak your specific career choice.
For instance, as long as animals remain in our lives, there will be a need for people to work in the health care field – but who’s to say what the need will be specifically for say, pet massage therapists? Fields, jobs, organizations, and markets evolve.
Let’s take a look at projections for animal-related careers, and general careers that often translate into animal protection work.
I’m using some of the data from the recently-updated Occupational Outlook Handbook, compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Something to keep in mind: Their job outlook percentages are based on projected growth rates for 2014 through 2024. The average growth rate for all jobs is seven percent.
Writing: At first glance, the BLS forecast for writers and authors looks dismal. Even though the field is growing slower than average (at two percent), it’s still growing. Which means there is still a need for writers.
Writing spans a wide field that encompasses an assortment of niches – self-publishing, nonprofit writing, copywriting, article writing, and technical writing, to name a few.
Depending on your niche and skills your success rates will vary. On one hand, newspapers are on the decline, but writing content for online venues has expanded.
Possible employment scenarios for animal lovers: Writing freelance magazine articles for animal welfare & conservation magazines; writing blog posts and other content for nonprofit organizations; self publishing a book.
Good read: “Writer, Author . . . Animal Lover”
Public relations: Every nonprofit and business wants to be seen in the best possible light. The proliferation of social media has created more opportunities (and need) for organizations and businesses to connect with members, donors, customers, supporters, and the public. These organizations need people with experience in public relations, marketing, and communications.
The BLS shows public relations is growing as fast as average, at six percent.
Possible employment scenarios for animal lovers: Marketing director for a companion animal food company; digital communications expert for an animal nonprofit; public relations consultant for a conservation organization; outreach coordinator for an animal rescue.
Veterinary care: The animal healthcare field is hot. According to the BLS, the veterinary technologist and technician field is projected to grow much faster than average . . .at a whopping 19 percent.
The projected growth rate for veterinarians is all excellent; it’s growing faster than average at nine percent.
Companion animal sitting & boarding: The BLS has a category called Animal Care & Services, which is projected to grow at 11 percent, a faster than average rate. It lumps an assortment of careers together – including groomers, pet sitters, and animal caretakers – so it’s hard to ascertain the pet sitting fields specific long-term outlook.
But based on reports and articles, including “Why One Recession-Proof Industry Just Keeps Growing”, published in Forbes, it’s safe to say this market will continue to grow.
For more insights on the pet sitting field, check out the “2015 Pet-Sitting Industry Forecast”, which you can download for free on the Pet Sitters International website.
Fundraisers: As long as nonprofits need money to operate and do their good work, they will be in need of fundraising and development professionals. The BLS shows the need for fundraisers is growing growing faster than average, at nine percent. This is consistent with what I’ve found – job postings for fundraisers is one of the most common.
Possible employment scenarios: Grant writer for animal sanctuary; events coordinator for an animal rescue; big donor director for an animal protection agency.
Let job forecasts and statistics serve as guide, but don’t become so immersed in them that you lose your focus. There is always room for passionate animal advocates working in numerous fields – even if it’s not spelled out specifically in a forecast.