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Service industry fills some of dot-com void

By Jennifer Riley

May 18, 2003 9:00 p.m.

Since the sky-high market of online start-up companies hit rock
bottom, analysts and job searchers nationwide have waited for
another field to boom and provide the next flurry of high-paying
jobs.

But with industries wounded and basic service-related jobs on
the rise, no single field has replaced technology to corner the
market on success, according to the Career Center.

The markets that have remained strong and are currently hiring
with good pay are the skilled service industries, such as
technology advancement and engineering companies.

“There really is no next dot-com at this point, but a
variety of industries are offering promising amounts of well-paying
positions,” said Joyce Haraught, employee and corporate
relations manager for the center.

Both skilled and unskilled service jobs are numerous, said
Carolina Bank, the Labor Center’s coordinator for public
progress.

As production labor is moving overseas, more people are turning
to the service industry for positions, increasing competition.

“There is so much professionalism because of competition
that these days you see college graduates working at Enterprise
Rent-A-Car,” Bank said.

She went on to say the increase in labor has also opened up new
service-related jobs, especially in computer programming, call
centers and union work on labor rights.

Despite the escalating competition, there are some industries
that have remained stable throughout the economy’s
hardships.

“Computer science, engineering, medicine and corporate law
are all pretty solid, well-paying jobs,” Bank said.
“Computer science is especially promising since we use
computers for pretty much everything now.”

With the rapidly growing use of laptops, cell phones, palm
computers and wireless technology, it appears that the computer and
technology industry will remain fairly steady, Bank said.

“While there isn’t one strong area jumping out of
the woodwork, as far as student interest is concerned, the hot
business fields are real estate and investment management,”
said Mary Albright-Smith, career management director for the
Anderson School at UCLA.

Hot jobs for graduate students generally operate on a more
competitive level, Albright-Smith said. For graduates, Wall Street
and Fortune 500 finance are highly desirable, although competitive,
positions.

Given the strong entertainment industry of nearby Hollywood,
entertainment is also a common field of interest for students in
Los Angeles, according to Albright-Smith. This industry encompasses
many business and writing-related positions on top of jobs for
actors.

Haraught also noted that the engineering field is another
reliable source of jobs.

“I have a hunch that companies will be in the market for
high-paying engineering employees,” she said, “But
there are currently a wide variety of companies hiring over a broad
range of fields.”

Albright-Smith said while companies are hiring, they do not need
to publicize for recruitment because the competition among job
applicants is high.

“My advice for job applicants is not to let yourselves
fall into the trap of who’s hiring,” Albright-Smith
said. “Find a successful company in the field that you are
interested in, know what you have to offer, and sell yourself
well.”

Ultimately, she said, when it comes to choosing what field to go
into, a student should define success not by income but by
passion.

“Pay should not be a primary goal in selecting a
position,” Albright-Smith said. “Find a job you are
passionate about and make sure you love doing the work you
do.”

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