The bread and butter of the careers business is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is compiled every two years by the U.S. Department of Labor. The new edition has just hit the Web. (If you prefer the printed version of this tome, you can get yours from JIST in March.)
Meanwhile, a major part of this reference is about the future demand for all 280-odd jobs it lists. So I thought it would be interesting to see what they are predicting for writers and editors. Looks like the news isn't bad. But it's not a virtual employment bonanza, either.
Employment of writers and editors is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition is expected for writing and editing jobs because many people with the appropriate training and talent are attracted to the occupation.
Employment change. Employment of writers and editors is expected to grow 10 percent, or about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2006 to 2016. Employment of salaried writers and editors is expected to increase as demand grows for web-based publications. Technical writing, blogging, and other writing for interactive media that provide readers with nearly real-time information will provide opportunities for writers. Print magazines and other periodicals increasingly are developing market niches, appealing to readers with special interests, and making Internet-only content available on their websites. Businesses and organizations are developing newsletters and websites, and more companies are publishing materials directly for the Internet. Online publications and services are growing in number and sophistication, spurring the demand for writers and editors, especially those with Web experience. Professional, scientific, and technical services firms, including advertising and public relations agencies, also are growing and should be another source of new jobs.
Job prospects. Opportunities should be best for technical writers and those with training in a specialized field. Demand for technical writers and writers with expertise in areas such as law, medicine, or economics is expected to increase because of the continuing expansion of scientific and technical information and the need to communicate it to others. Legal, scientific, and technological developments and discoveries generate demand for people to interpret technical information for a more general audience. Rapid growth and change in the high-technology and electronics industries result in a greater need for people to write users’ guides, instruction manuals, and training materials. This work requires people who not only are technically skilled as writers, but also are familiar with the subject area.
In addition to job openings created by employment growth, some openings will arise as experienced workers retire, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. Replacement needs are relatively high in this occupation because many freelancers leave because they cannot earn enough money.