Editor's Note: Raising the profile
This month, Safety+Health features the latest results of our annual Job Outlook survey. Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond.
As has been the case for several years, most respondents reported that they consider their jobs “stable” or “relatively stable.” This dovetails with a NIOSH report from 2011 that predicted an upcoming shortage of environmental, health and safety professionals.
Prompted by a past S+H poll question that asked “Was safety and health your first career choice?” and received an overwhelming number of “no” responses, we asked the question in this year’s survey – and found that the percentages were similar.
But the survey responses also indicate that many of you, regardless of the path that got you there and the frustrations you encounter, find the field extremely rewarding. When I think about friends, family and acquaintances, I know of few who would say what one Job Outlook survey respondent said: “I love the field and I love my job – I cannot imagine doing anything else!”
So at a time when many recent college grads are struggling to find jobs, it stands to reason that a profession offering good prospects for employment – as well as the ability to “make a difference” – should have a higher profile among young people than it currently does.
In its 2011 report, NIOSH stated that “Employers and providers should work together to determine how best to improve knowledge of programs among students in the early years of college and before they reach college.” In this month’s article, Associate Editor Ashley Johnson explores what some universities with EHS programs are doing to raise the profile of the profession. And to illustrate why so many safety pros consider EHS a field worth pursuing, she shares the stories of how some current pros got their start, and why they believe they made the right choice. If you’d like to share your own story, comments are always welcome.