Although the U.S. economy has recovered much of the ground it lost in the recession, many Americans say they aren't feeling the benefits.
One reason: an increasingly bifurcated job market in which a small segment of the nation's workforce enjoy high pay and opportunities for advancement, while the majority struggle with stagnating income and less attractive career paths. Only 16 percent of U.S. jobs are in what career site Indeed.com calls "opportunity jobs," or those that both pay well and have held up against inflation.
In other words, the bulk of employment in the U.S. is failing to provide what most workers would consider two essential qualities for a "good" job. Most people are stuck in middle-tier jobs where opportunities are shrinking and income growth has slowed, or in unskilled work where there are plenty of jobs that pay extremely low wages, said Indeed chief economist Tara Sinclair.
"There is a small group at the top that's getting ahead, with high salaries, wage growth and lots of jobs if you have those skills where employers are fighting over you," Sinclair said. "We call this the paradox of opportunity, since employers say they can't find as many people as they want, even though these are really great jobs."
These opportunity jobs make up 35 percent of job postings on Indeed, she noted. Yet employees aren't applying for them in the numbers that employers need, mainly because of qualification issues. Most such jobs require a college education, for example, yet only about one-third of Americans have a college degree.
In addition to higher pay and strong income growth, opportunity jobs score well on a number of other fronts, such as good benefits, a high satisfaction rating from employees and a low risk of automation, Sinclair added.
The gap between employer demand and qualified Americans suggests that employers need to invest more in training workers to be prepared for these jobs, such as teaching employees how to write software.
"The old model of identifying someone in the mail room and grooming them -- that worked and it's kind of broken down," Sinclair said. "Employers keep ratcheting up the pay because they are competing over a small skilled workforce, and maybe some of that would be better spent identifying people they can train for the roles."
Read on to learn about the top 11 careers identified by Indeed.com as providing high pay and solid salary growth. The ranking is based on the quantity of job postings in careers that offer both a good salary and income growth that meets or exceeds the rate of inflation over a 10-year period.