6 Jobs That Thrive When the Economy Falters
Each day, as our tattered economy shreds a bit more, you may wonder, "Is anyone out there actually doing well?" Yes, experts say, some careers are in demand -- particularly those that will help reshape businesses and thereby revive the economy.
According to executive search firm CTPartners' 2009 "Hot Jobs" report, as government rescue plans unfold and companies are restructured, sought-after experts will be in disciplines like risk management, restructuring and financial engineering. "Wall Street in turmoil" will be hiring for a number of positions, according to the report. Meanwhile, Lynne Sarikas, director of the MBA career center at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration, points to other hot spots for jobs. Read on for a closer look at six of them:
1. Restructuring Officers
While restructuring may be a dreaded word, it's often essential to setting a workplace straight after a major shakeup. Restructuring officers lead companies through bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions, or other major reorganizations, and can command hefty pay. At a Fortune 1000 company, a restructuring officer could earn $750,000-$1 million in cash and the same value in restricted stock, says Simon J. Francis, a partner with CTPartners.
2. Turnaround Experts
Like it or not, our economy has to be turned around. Newly hired CEOs and CFOs at private equity companies that buy distressed assets are "turnaround experts," explains Francis. They provide strategies to improve operational and financial performance, reorganize balance sheets, develop refinancing options and implement operational changes to regain profitability. A CEO could make $500,000-$1 million plus 3-5 percent equity, and the CFO could make $500,000-$750,000 plus 1-2 percent equity, Francis says.
3. Distressed Asset Managers
These professionals are financial fix-it gurus. They handle a troubled company's assets, including refinancing, general partner substitution, legal action, loan restructuring, recapitalization and compliance. Not surprisingly, pay beats that of your typical handyman's -- potentially around $1 million a year or more, according to CTPartners.
4. Bankruptcy Attorneys
As bankruptcy increases, this field will grow, says Sarikas of Northeastern University. Bankruptcy attorneys advise clients on debt relief options and guide insolvent individuals and businesses through each phase of a federal bankruptcy filing, according to FindLaw.com. The median salary for an attorney* with 5-9 years of experience is $88,461.
5. Financial Analysts
Getting the most bang for your buck is more important than ever, and financial analysts can help. They assess the economic performance of companies and industries for firms and institutions with money to invest. The median salary for financial analysts* with 5-9 years of experience is $56,940.
"Companies need employees with strong quantitative and analytical skills to monitor and evaluate business results ... and to make recommendations. Companies will continue to try to do more with less, so understanding the results in detail will be critical," Sarikas explains.
6. Budget Analysts
Budget analysts keep a careful watch on where the money goes, a top concern nowadays. "Preparing the company budget will be critical, and with financial uncertainty it will be more challenging than ever," Sarikas says.
In private firms, a budget analyst's main responsibility is to examine the budget and find new ways to improve efficiency and increase profits. In nonprofit and governmental organizations, which typically aren't focused on profits, analysts search for the most efficient way to distribute funds and other resources among various departments and programs. Budget analysts* with 5-9 years of experience earn a median salary of $55,305.
Whether or not these career options appeal to you, they underscore how vital it is for workers to stay in demand in any job market. If you're looking for new work, experts suggest tapping skills you already have and reconfiguring them. "Keep your skills up and go with the trend," says Barbara Safani, president of New York-based Career Solvers, a career-management firm.
You don't have to be a "turnaround expert" -- just a more marketable version of yourself.
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