Top 3 Careers to Avoid: According to 150 HR Execs

Listen up college kids! When global consultant group Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. surveyed 150 human resource executives, they didn't expect such delicious irony.

According to the survey (as published by, the top three careers they advised college freshmen to avoid are:

1. Law

2. Marketing/Advertising

3. Human Resources

At the very bottom of the list was the legal profession, selected by just 1.4% of respondents. Slightly more than 2.0% felt their own career of choice (human resources) would be worth pursuing in college.

"This recession may have many freshmen second-guessing career plans. Certainly those who were contemplating a future in financial services or home building may be looking for new options," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

So which degrees did the executives select as the best to pursue?

1. Computer Science & Information Technology

2. Engineering

3. Health Care

Computer science/information technology topped engineering as the most-recommended field of study. Instructed to select just one field from the 11 provided, 16% of survey respondents selected this field. Engineering was favored among 15% of human resource executives, while medicine/health care was recommended by 14.3%.

"It is impossible to predict what the job market will look like in four years," explained Challenger. "Young people entering college this fall could graduate into a job market that is still recovering from recession."

So what's the secret to career success in a recovering market?

According to Challenger, it's all about flexibility, "With so much uncertainty, it is best to seek skills that are flexible and highly transferable between various industries."

"The areas recommended by human resource executives, while appearing to be relatively specialized on the surface, actually provide future graduates with a great amount of flexibility to pursue careers in a wide range of fields that are emerging now or could emerge over the next two decades."

What's the outlook for government jobs?

Fewer than 5% of respondents recommended public service (government/non-profit) as the best career path to pursue. But Challenger noted, "The federal government could be a very fruitful source of jobs in the coming years, as many departments see their staffs depleted from retirements. However, despite the increasing need for replacement workers, the government has done little to streamline the hiring process or improve its image when it comes to being a great place to work."

But for those who choose one of the top-three recommended fields, there should be ample job opportunities regardless of the economy's health. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in the computer/IT and engineering sectors is expected to grow 22% and 11% respectively by 2016. While in the health care field, 3 million jobs are expected to be added by 2016.

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

Read Full Story