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Format: 04/16/2014
Format: 04/16/2014

News

Pittsburgh Magazine: Hot Jobs

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

By Anne Lutz Zacharias

 

Pittsburgh has experience in reinventing itself. When manufacturing declined and mills were closing back in the 1980s and later, the Steel City faced an identity crisis. Yet Pittsburgh still managed to keep a leadership position in steel while adding new layers of economic diversification that are still successful - high tech, biotech and more. (News flash: There are more jobs here now than at the height of the big-steel era.)

Yes, like everyone else in the country, we've tightened our belts, but Business Week ranks Pittsburgh No. 6 (right behind Boston) on its list of the best places to live during a recession. That's because nearly 30 percent of Pittsburghers now work in the usually recession-resistant medical and education sectors.

Old-guard companies such as Westinghouse have reinvented themselves, while scores of high-tech companies have sprouted from our universities' computer-science students. Even traditional energy has harnessed new technology to spawn a modern resurgence.

In some areas of the country, construction has tapered off, but in the downtown Pittsburgh area as well as out on the fringe of suburban growth, you can hear jackhammers and see new buildings on the rise.

Think there are no jobs to be had in Pittsburgh? Think again. "There are over 20,000 job openings [on the new job-search Web site Imaginemynewjob.com] and 30 percent pay $60,000 or more," says Jim Futrell, vice president for market research and analysis at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a longtime advocacy group for economic development in the region. In 2008, it launched Imaginemynewjob.com, a free job-search portal, which aggregates job listings from individual employers and search engines (such as Monster.com and hotjobs.com) within a 70-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh, putting them in one easy-to-find location.

Pittsburgh magazine culled through these job opportunities and identified 10 job categories that are in demand - yes, even in today's economy. Read on to learn which jobs in the Pittsburgh region are hot, hot, hot.

Health Care

It's no surprise that health care tops our list of hot jobs. The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance reports that about 15 percent of people here work in the health care industry - and nursing tops the list.

"Nurses are always at the top of the list because there are so many registered nurses that you need," says Linda Novak, director of human- resources development at West Penn Allegheny Health System. "It's the position we hire the most."

Nurses manage patient records via computer, handle medications, monitor vital signs and work with the doctor on the patient's care plan, explains Greg Peaslee, UPMC's senior vice president and chief human-resources and administrative-services officer. But most of all, "nurses must be empathetic - that's core," says Peaslee. "The inpatient nurse really is the primary caregiver for someone in the hospital."

UPMC expects to hire up to 1,500 registered nurses (R.N.s) each year for the next 10 years, and generally has about 200 R.N. openings at any given time.

Nurses usually make $40,000 to $80,000, says Lisa Bonacci, vice president of human-resources operations and services at UPMC, who adds that job flexibility is one of the great benefits of the profession.

"There is a very good prognosis for jobs in the future," says Peaslee, adding, "I think we will see more second-career people entering nursing."

Pharmacists, imaging technologists (MRI and CAT scan) and therapists (speech, occupational, respiratory and physical) are also hot jobs, say both Peaslee and Novak.

"Health care is such a dynamic area," says Novak. "You're not locked into the same position; there is a lot of lateral and upward mobility."

 

To read more, visit the Pittsburgh Magazine web site.

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