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Dennis McCafferty -- In New York, employment staffing strategist Deborah Wainstein's work is taking on a poignant tone. Since the September 11 destruction of the World Trade Center towers, she's been called into Manhattan to assist disaster-displaced executives with finding new jobs. The desperation is heartbreaking, she says.

A New York City-sponsored employment fair in October for those suddenly out of work brought 10,000 jobseekers. Wainstein has attempted to help dozens of professionals who -- with years of steady, accomplished job history -- haven't updated their resumes in years. They're often educated technology talents who are willing to fill a receptionist's slot for now. One is a Yale-graduated computer analyst reduced to looking for relatively unchallenging, data-input work.

In all cases, they're determined to get back into the job market--somehow--and rebuild their careers. This comes just as our nation tries to put the pieces back together again.

"In the beginning, there was nothing but shock and fear," says Wainstein, founder/president of New York-based Priority Staffing Solutions. "No one knew where to go if their company was destroyed or went out of business. But New Yorkers come together in these times, and we're seeing a sense of hope out there."

The keyword is 'hope,' something Careerbuilder would like to offer. With the four-week jobless claim average recently rising to 463,000--the highest since Dec. 14, 1991 -- there's been much talk of gloom and doom. But Careerbuilder recently spoke to experts who pinpointed growth professions and industries in times of uncertainty and world conflict. Here's what they consider to be the most in-demand jobs out there:

1. Data/Software Technology

Believe it or not, many tech career niches look very encouraging, says Bob Senatore, executive vice president of Woodbury, N.Y.-based Comforce Corporation, a $500 million consulting/staffing company. In times of conflict, tech data recovery and disaster avoidance are big growth areas. There are high demands for those who can anticipate disaster, analyze a company's preparedness and design a data disaster avoidance plan.

"It's not just about seeing whether a database is up and running after a building burns down," says Senatore, whose company's clients include Microsoft, Boeing and Compaq. Database administrators are seeing, roughly, positions available at $125 an hour. There are also needs for data operators, architects and data security consultants. Software security professionals are also seeing sharpened increase in demand, at generally $65 to $90 an hour, given fears of terrorism assaults on cyberspace.

2. Biomedical

This industry was growing rapidly before Sept. 11, and, now clearly even more so. There have been 121 venture investments in biomed since January, totaling $1.5 billion, according to Venture Wire. "Now, we're seeing biological warfare on TV all day long," Senatore says. "So, in addition to the demand for gene advancements and breakthroughs to cure age-old diseases like before, there's a surge of need for people to work on antidotes." Chemists can expect at least $50 an hour, and lab technicians can start at $20.

Similarly, nurses and hospital technicians are also in demand. "Even before the disaster and the panic over bioterrorism, we had a lot of boomers getting older," says Tom Thrower, general manager of Management Recruiters' Western U.S. flagship headquarters in Oakland, Calif. "There's a direct relationship between aging and health. Your body wears out."

3. Telecom

While clearly up-and-down, the public sentiment "stock" value of the cell phone -- once often maligned as a distracting, annoying sign of the times -- has increased significantly since being used so effectively during the hijackings. In fact, victims on United Flight 93 from Newark, N.J. overtook hijackers and emerged posthumously as heroes. They decided to go after the terrorists in flight after getting word from loved ones on cell phones that the hijackers were targeting large, significant buildings and causing massive deaths. So don't expect that demand for cell phones -- especially those that can access data, e-mail and other digital needs away from an office--will decrease. Those who can program such devices can expect $100 an hour, Senatore says. Also in telecom: Apprehension about flying has prompted a boom in the teleconferencing segment.

As horrible as the tragedy of September 11 was, some small amount of good lies in the jobs to be found in the growth of these sectors. Look forward, not backward, to making good come of the attacks, and you can find a job to help you do so.

Dennis McCafferty, of Alexandria, VA, is a full-time staff writer at USA Weekend magazine ( To gain insight on career success and other topics, he has interviewed newsmakers such as George W. Bush; Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal; Web founder Tim Berners-Lee; and Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg.

(c) 2002

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