Telecommunication Industry Job Outlook
supplemental resource: Job Outlook by Profession
Despite increasing demand for telecommunications services, employment in the telecommunications industry is expected to decline. Job opportunities, however, will arise from the need to replace a significant number of workers who are expected to retire in the coming decade. With rapid technological changes in telecommunications, those with up-to-date technical skills will have the best job opportunities.
Employment in the telecommunications industry is expected to decline by 9 percent over the 2008–18 period, compared with 11 percent growth for all industries combined. Despite an increasing demand for wireless Internet, cable television, and mobile technologies, productivity gains will result in a reduced demand for workers. As telecommunications infrastructure becomes more reliable, for example, fewer workers will be needed to make repairs. Also, consolidation among organizations will lead to productivity growth across many occupational groups, as combined operations generally require fewer total workers.
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Households will demand more services such as wireless Internet, video-on-demand, and mobile- and Internet-based telephone services. Businesses will demand faster and more advanced telecommunications systems to improve communication and electronic commerce. These services are being supplied increasingly by all the competing sectors of the industry, as the lines become blurred between cable and satellite TV, and between wireless and wired phone and Internet systems. Employment, however, is projected to decline in both the wired and wireless sectors.
Wireless companies will continue to introduce new technologies and services and provide faster Internet access. Employment, however, is expected to decline by 1 percent over the projection period. Demand will decrease for installation, maintenance, and repair occupations as the rate of expansion of the wireless infrastructure slows, because upgrading existing equipment is less labor-intensive than installing new equipment. Some occupations, however, will not see such declines. Demand for customer service representatives will grow as these workers will be needed to accommodate an increase in customers. In addition, computer specialists will not see declines because these workers will be needed to develop new technologies.
Employment in wired telecommunications carriers is expected to decline by 11 percent. Fiber optic cables, which are more reliable than their copper-wire counterparts, are expected to account for an increasing portion of the wired infrastructure. This will result in fewer installation, maintenance, and repair workers, as malfunctions occur less frequently. Employment should decline in most other occupational groups as well, as wired services, such as landline phones and cable Internet, lose market share to their wireless counterparts.
Job openings are expected to arise in the telecommunications industry as a result of the growing number of retirements and the continuing need for skilled workers. Prospects will be best for installation, maintenance, and repair workers, many of whom are expected to retire in the coming years, as well as for customer service representatives, who tend to have high turnover, creating many openings. Opportunities in these occupations will be best for applicants with 2-year or 4-year degrees, as well as the necessary skills.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition
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