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Navigating the Future

NIC hosts speakers focused on career development By Gerry McCray, North Idaho College

Navigating the Future

Inflation is running rampant. Housing prices are high. Wages are rising everywhere.

All of these can make the daunting task of choosing a career path more difficult, but North Idaho College hosted two speakers looking to impart wisdom to jobseekers as part of National Career Development Day on November 16 at the Edminster Student Union Building on NIC’s main campus in Coeur d’Alene.


Career consultant Ann Nakaska discussed career opportunities of the future, while Idaho Department of Labor economist Sam Wolkenhauer focused on what economic trends might mean for those currently in high school or college.  

Employers are already fighting over workers, and with population numbers in decline, job openings will continue to climb, Wolkenhauer said.


“There's going to be opportunities everywhere,” he affirmed. “Stuff is going to be more expensive. Markets are going to hate it, but the one beneficiary of this, unequivocally, is going to be workers, young people, trying to choose careers because you're going to have no shortage of job opportunities.” 


When desperate for labor, employers tend to offer higher wages to new employees in a sensation known as wage compression, in which new employees make similar wages to long-term employees, resulting in dissatisfaction, Wolkenhauer said.


“It’s basically like coiling a spring on wages,” he said. “When it gets let loose, wages start growing very, very quickly.” 


Wolkenhauer said that while the service industry and low-skill jobs pay well now, wage compression will eventually shoot traditionally higher paying jobs even further, and he would advise against bypassing higher education.


“Long term, the best paying jobs will continue to be those that require college credentials or some sort of career technical credential,” Wolkenhauer said. “Wage compression is going to uncoil everything, and that educational premium, the need for education, is still going to be very strong.”


Nakaska said higher education can be used with any industry to create unique job opportunities—for example, combining law with the tech industry to train lawyers who specialize in digital privacy, or using an education in business administration in the health-care industry to create candidates for hospital managers. 


“We can take any one of these careers and combine it with another industry,” Nakaska said. “… I really hope that you combine whatever job you're doing with an industry that you love.” 


For more information, contact NIC Assistant Director of Career Services Gail Laferriere at 208.769.7700 or gail.laferriere@nic.edu.  


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