The field of technical communication in the United States is experiencing big changes, both good and bad. On the one hand, communicators who have advanced, specialized skills, as well as those with expertise in law, science, and technology, are in demand. On the other hand, in some geographic areas, it’s difficult for displaced technical communication professionals to find employment, especially in sectors that have been hard hit by economic challenges. An increasingly competitive global marketplace combined with the decline of traditional manufacturing in the US has led to layoffs and the outsourcing or off-shoring of many techcomm jobs.
That said, technical communicators with experience creating rich media, mobile interactive content, eBooks and apps, and those who write modular XML content, seem to be insulated from the decline. Traditional technical writers whose experience is primarily the creation of narrative documents or software product documentation have found it more challenging to find work, especially in geographic areas negatively impacted by recent economic challenges.
Despite the bad news, popular periodicals continue to consider technical writing one of the “best careers” for professional knowledge workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for technical writers (a major sector of the technical communication market) will increase by 18 percent, or 8,900 jobs, by 2018.
Our March 2012 infographic, produced by Corey Ercoli for The Content Wrangler, presents a small subset of the results of a recent survey of technical communication managers conducted by marketing research firm, Metri-Mark. The results indicate there is a strong sense of optimism among managers of technical communication departments that participated in the survey. Most managers say they are well paid for their work and continue to receive substantial annual raises in salary. They also receive a variety of benefits and perks. Take a peek at the infographic and let us know what you think. How does your compensation stack up?