Although the U.S. unemployment rate is near a 10-year low, not all jobs are created equal in the post-recession economy. Some professions and industries are pulling ahead of the pack when it comes to compensation and benefits, while millions of Americans continue to struggle with stagnant pay and limited job prospects.
So how does one find a lucrative job with plenty of career prospects? It helps to focus on three industries, according to a new study from employment site Glassdoor.
About half the jobs with the best prospects for 2017 tend to be found in technology, health care and finance, the study found. These careers are highly skilled professions that typically require college degrees or specialized training, which emphasizes the increasing opportunity divide between Americans with college degrees and those who didn't progress beyond high school.
And because these jobs are resistant to automation, they're likely to continue providing a good income and career prospects for years to come.
"These positions won't be automated anytime soon," said Glassdoor spokeswoman Allison Berry. "They're all very highly skilled and require people to dig into what they are working in, whether that's a data scientist or a pharmacy manager."
Less-skilled occupations are increasingly feeling the impact of automation as companies turn to robots for manufacturing work, for instance. That trend is likely to expand into other industries. The World Economic Forum predicted last year that automation will cause 5.1 million job losses over the next five years.
A few jobs that don't require college degrees made the full list of the top 50 jobs for 2017. They include executive assistant (No. 28) and dental hygienist (No. 48).
Read on to learn about Glassdoor's forecast for the best 11 jobs in 2017.
11. Marketing manager: $90,000
These managers help companies formulate and carry out marketing plans, which can range from strategic efforts to engage customers to running social media programs. The job typically requires a bachelor's degree and experience in marketing.
Glassdoor found more than 3,800 openings for the role, which is in demand at companies across a range of industries.
10. Solutions architect: $125,000
These technology professionals work on developing and documenting technical designs, typically for a company or its clients.
Tech experience is essentials, as well as good interpersonal skills since solutions architects work with different teams of employees from both within and outside their companies. There are currently about 2,200 job openings for solutions architects.
9. UX Designer: $92,500
Short for user experience, UX designers consider how software or tech products feel to users, such as whether consumers are confused by how to navigate a product or if there are other issues.
Glassdoor found almost 1,700 job openings for the role, which usually require a related degree such as computer science and graphic design and programming skills.
8. Strategy manager: $130,000
These managers work with corporations to solve strategic issues and generate business growth. Professionals in this field typically have an MBA or advanced degree related to the field they're working in, as well as experience working in consulting or in an industry.
Glassdoor found more than 1,100 job openings across fields such as health care and retail.
7. Database administrator: $93,000
This technology worker oversees database programs for corporations in a wide range of industries. Workers in this field typically have a degree in computer science, info tech or a related field, as well as experience working with database programs.
Glassdoor found about 3,800 job openings for the role.
6. HR Manager: $85,000
The boost in corporate hiring since the recession has prompted a boom in a related field: human-resource managers. These professionals oversee hiring, training and reviewing employees.
Scoring a job as an HR manager typically requires a related degree, such as a master's in human resources management, as well as good people and communication skills. Glassdoor found more than 4,300 openings for the job.
5. Analytics manager: $112,000
While not a well-known role, analytics managers are increasingly important to corporations, since the position involves analyzing data and creating new strategies for increasing revenue and efficiencies.
Aside from good communication skills, the job requires knowledge of analytics software, programming skills and a degree in a STEM-related field such as math. Still, some professionals may be able to enter the field through tech-related bootcamps that can get them up to speed.
Glassdoor found that the role has almost 2,000 open positions.
4. Tax manager: $110,000
Taxes aren't only here to stay, but they're growing more complicated every year. That's why this job is in high demand. Glassdoor noted that there are more than 3,300 open jobs for this role.
To qualify for the job, workers need a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or a similar field, as well as a CPA or other certification and experience in public accounting.
3. Data engineer: $106,000
At the core of many data strategy teams are data engineers, who design and build programs that can create large datasets. Those sets of data are then analyzed by data scientists to help companies tailor their businesses for efficiencies or find new strategies.
Data engineers typically have an advanced degree in computer science or a related field, as well as experience working with large datasets. Glassdoor found almost 2,600 job openings for the field.
2. DevOps Engineer: $110,000
DevOps engineers work where developers and operations merge, meaning they help develop programs that streamline or automate operations. Hiring companies generally want candidates with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, as well as experience automating servers and programming skills.
1. Data scientist: $110,000
For a second year in a row, data scientists have scored the top slot in Glassdoor's annual survey of the year's best job. These professionals are increasingly in demand across America's corporations, thanks to the huge amount of data that companies are collecting through the internet.
A background in a STEM field is preferred, such as computer science, yet some workers are finding lucrative roles in the profession by attending a data-science bootcamp. These training courses help workers jump into a fast-growing role, which currently has more than 4,100 openings.
Best of the rest
12. Occupational therapist: $72,000
13. Audit manager: $98,000
14. Electrical engineer: $78,000
15. Nurse practitioner: $100,000
16. Software engineer: $101,000
17. Corporate recruiter: $60,000
18. Supply chain manager: $100,000
19. Finance manager: $116,000
20. Mechanical engineer: $76,000
21. Communications manager: $82,000
22. QA manager: $92,000
23. Controls engineer: $75,400
24. Nurse manager: $77,000
25. Compliance manager: $100,000
26. Mobile developer: $85,000
27. Systems administrator: $68,000
28. Executive assistant: $56,000
29. Technical account manager: $66,000
30. Hardware engineer: $108,000
31. Intelligence analyst: $62,400
32. Product manager: $107,000
33. Professor: $70,000
34. Physician: $200,000
35. Compensation analyst: $70,000
36. Civil engineer: $65,200
37. Research engineer: $92,850
38. Accounting manager: $82,000
39. Information security engineer: $100,000
40. Manufacturing engineer: $70,000
41. Security analyst: $70,000
42. Business operations manager: $93,000
43. UI designer: $80,000
44. Pharmacy manager: $130,000
45. Supplier quality engineer: $80,150
46. National sales manager: $90,000
47. Business intelligence developer: $83,000
48. Dental hygienist: $66,000
49. Physical therapist: $70,000
50. Construction project manager: $85,000