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Service Industry Worker

Service Industry Worker

Service industries consist of jobs where a service is provided. Most people are either employed in a service industry or in a goods-producing industry. Some industries that are involved with service include childcare, customer service, food service, maintenance and housekeeping, legal advice, finance, education, and health care. A person who is in some way responsible for the manufacture or assembly of an object is considered to be part of a goods-producing industry. Many businesses and organizations employ persons from both of these sectors. The automobile industry, for example, employs many engineers whose work is directly related to the product being manufactured. Within the same industry, however, there are many service-oriented employees such as customer service representatives, administrative assistants, and human resources personnel.

It is expected that employment growth in service-providing industries will grow at a rate that is faster than the United States average. Business, health, and education services are expected to account for most of this growth. In the healthcare industry, an increase in the number of older adults combined with an expansion in the use of medical diagnostic services will add over 3 million jobs between 1996 and 2006. The educational services industry, fueled by a need to hire new teachers, will add almost 2 million jobs during the same ten-year period. Higher-skilled employees in computer and data processing services will be needed to fill about 1.3 million jobs from 1996-2000.

Education and Training

The education and training requirements for service industry careers can vary from none at all to a doctoral degree. Those professions with the highest growth projections may require at least a bachelor's degree, and these occupations may offer higher than average pay and lower than average unemployment rates. Conversely, most occupations that do not require a college degree are expected to see slower than average growth and lower wages than those that require a college degree, but this is not universally true. Some occupations, such as automotive mechanic and carpenter, do not require a college degree, yet offer higher than average earnings.

Career path: Although a high school diploma may not be required to enter a position in a service industry, in order to advance, it may be desirable. With more experience and education, persons should be able to advance to better paying positions in the service industry.

On the Job

The working conditions will vary according to the nature of the particular service industry but will often include a high number of interactions with people during the day. The location of the work may vary. For example, while many childcare workers are self-employed and may work out of their own homes, chefs and cooks usually work in a restaurant kitchen, and customer service representatives may work in an office setting.

Math on the Job

Depending on the particular service industry, skills in accounting, bookkeeping, and business administration may be used and will help in advancing within the industries. Childcare workers will need to keep records on individual children as well as bookkeeping and payment information. Chefs will need to be able to use proportions to calculate quantities in large recipes. Customer service representatives will need strong problem solving skills.