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VOL. 128 | NO. 189 | Friday, September 27, 2013

Local Companies Tap Into Fast-Growing Sectors

By Michael Waddell

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Some of the fastest-growing jobs in America are also thriving locally, and Memphis companies such as Stellar Home Care, Vaco Memphis and Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care Associates are tapped into these hot employment sectors.

Personal care aides, human resources professionals and skin care specialists are among the 10 fastest-growing jobs, according to a recent study by 24/7 Wall St. comparing employment figures published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for hundreds of occupations from 2002 to 2012.

Other professions cited as rapidly increasing in numbers are petroleum engineers, music instructors and composers, interpreters and translators, massage therapists and personal financial advisers.

Personal care companies, including Stellar Home Care, are seeing substantial growth across the country, with 10-year job growth estimated at 118 percent.

Stellar provides personal assistance for 320 clients in West Tennessee and assists with activities for daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming, light housework and preparing hot meals.

“The home care business is one of the fastest-growing in the country,” said Stellar president Carter Kirk. “We have an aging population that is living longer, and the number of baby boomers has impacted the marketplace. Our company is growing each year, and we are seeing quite a few new people coming into the business.”

In the past four years, Stellar has grown from 210 employees to more than 260. And the company sees about 20 percent turnover rate compared to an industry average of 25 percent, mainly because personal care aides generally work long hours, and the emotional toll can be draining for some.

“Our clients are like family, and often they are not getting any better over time,” said Kirk, who pointed out long hours of being in high demand, including on weekends, can sometimes lead to burnout. “Twenty percent or more of our current roster are working between 60 to 80 hours per week.”

Another profession has seen a boost locally – HR specialist, a career that is growing at a 10-year rate of 134 percent across the U.S.

Vaco Memphis is a recruitment firm that specializes in job placement, and the company has a division that specializes in the HR industry. Human resources specialists’ duties involve recruiting, hiring and placing workers.

Executive recruiter Jessica Van Eyck focuses on placing people in HR and marketing positions, and her background also is in HR and recruiting.

“You must have the ability to make a connection with people. If you don’t have that, you are not going to be a good recruiter,” said Van Eyck, who previously was the corporate recruiter for Pinnacle Airlines.

She also sees the millennial generation as one factor for HR industry growth, as some characterize the estimated 40 million millennials as fickle toward their jobs and prone for more turnover, resulting in more work and more need for HR specialists across all industries.

“Another big reason HR is growing is that accredited universities are now offering specialized human resources degrees,” said Van Eyck, adding that starting HR salaries out of college in Memphis currently range from $35,000 to $45,000.

Van Eyck is seeing more senior-level HR positions coming available, as many general HR spots are often filled internally.

Skin care specialists are another group that has doubled in number over the past decade, with 10-year growth of 104 percent and a local company enjoying the boom.

Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care Associates in Germantown opened in 2008 and specializes in Mohs surgery, dermatology, aesthetics and a variety of other skin-care services.

“When I got into the industry, I did not realize how fast this profession was growing,” said aesthetician Jennifer Vafinis, who went to aesthetician school right out of high school and now assists owner Dr. Purvisha Patel in seeing patients with problems ranging from acne to rashes to skin cancer. “Nearly everyone looks in the mirror every day and cares what they look like, so there will always be a need for our services.”

The clinic opened a new location in Olive Branch in April to help meet more patient demand, and it will open a new medi-spa there at the end of this month that will offer a wide range of skin-care treatments for patients.

“We will do soothing facials, massages, makeup application and eyelash extensions, as well as more aggressive treatments like chemical peels and laser treatments,” Vafinis said.

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