Hot Jobs

Ready to ditch your crummy cube and pink-slip worries for something better? Consider these high-flying companies that aren’t just surviving, but thriving.

We may have suffered through an ice-cold economy for more than two years, but the job market is finally beginning to thaw. And for some industries, there isn’t just a slight warming: White-hot growth is fueling the need for new (and well-paid) workers. After talking to experts in industry, government, and education, we unearthed eight sectors of the economy that are expected to see significant growth over the next decade. What’s more, we found more than 30 Minnesota companies of all sizes that will help lead the way, with growth and great perks. Want a job that’ll last? Use the next few pages as your career guide.

So you like telling people what to do…

Choose: Consulting

Companies that want to work more productively and profitably hire consultants to help improve their performance. So perhaps it’s no surprise that consultants are expected to be in high demand over the next decade: Employment management and technical-consulting service jobs are forecast to grow by more than 60 percent. It’s a lucrative gig, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median wages can go well beyond $80,000, not including profit-sharing and performance bonuses. Send your resumé to:

BI Consulting Group

BI Consulting is a small firm with a big impact. With just 35 employees at its Eagan headquarters (along with a couple dozen others in the United States), the company provides services focused on Oracle software and support, with a client list that ranges from Abercrombie & Fitch to UPS. The company’s ever-expanding roster of customers is expected to fuel growth of 20 percent annually over the next five years. And how’s this for a company perk? The annual team-building work for all employees occurs not in stuffy conference rooms, but in warm-weather locales like Cancun.


Accenture’s enormous consulting and technology workforce (200,000 employees worldwide, including 1,500 in its Minneapolis office) means that workers can pursue varied and meaningful career paths without ever leaving the company. Accenture, which has consulting expertise in both management and technology, continues to grow—with some 200 Minnesota hires during the 2010 fiscal year and more to come—and employees enjoy flexible work schedules, maternity and paternity leave, adoption assistance, and even sabbatical options, making it a particularly family-friendly option.


Deloitte’s broad collection of accounting and consulting services has helped the company weather difficult times well—and adding to the 737 employees in its Minneapolis office has helped it stay poised for future growth. Beyond a generous benefits package, perks include a family resource center to help workers with children or aging parents, sabbatical programs, and a unique “workplace of the future” office design. Plus, proving you really can be all things to all people, the company has earned numerous awards over the years as a great company for young workers, women, and employees with diverse backgrounds.

RBA Consulting

This Wayzata-based technology-and-consulting-services company is one of the fastest-growing small companies in the state, and its ambitions are lofty: The company plans to double its 110-strong Minnesota workforce over the next three years. The firm’s workers stay sharp with plenty of professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement, and Minnesota employees and their spouses can earn credits to take family vacations at a northern Minnesota lodge. Top performers can snare ownership shares—which, if the company’s fortunes continue to skyrocket, could earn them a pretty penny.

So you want to help others age gracefully…

Choose: Eldercare

Thanks to the rapidly graying Baby Boomer generation, America will soon be swimming in seniors. And those new elders will need a full menu of services. But you don’t have to wait for the Boomers to age to find a job. Today’s demand is high and the benefits are many: Salaries range from nursing assistants earning $13 to $19 an hour to occupational therapists and geriatric nurses that net annual salaries close to $75,000. Program administrators and directors can expect even more. Send your resumé to:

Presbyterian Homes & Services

With 4,400 employees and 30 locations in Minnesota, Presbyterian Homes and Services offers a vast array of care options for the state’s growing senior population, from senior-living facilities and home-care programs to the metro area’s Meals on Wheels program. All Presbyterian Homes employees receive healthcare and retirement-savings assistance, and financial assistance for occupational certification and college-degree programs is also available to workers. In the next five years, a spokesperson says, the company plans to hire some 1,500 new employees. Is this the place to spend the Golden Years of your career?


In anticipation of baby boomers retiring, Ebenezer, a partner with Fairview Health Services, is planning to build 12 new senior developments in the next five years. According to Tom Roycraft, a marketing and public-relations manager, this growth spurt means that Ebenezer will add hundreds of new employees to their existing workforce of 1,200. Jobs will range from caregivers to housing managers, activities coordinators, and more.


Caring for others is at the core of Ecumen, a nearly 150-year-old organization focused on providing housing and independent-living services for seniors in the Midwest. Ecumen’s 3,600 Minnesota employees are eligible for many benefits, including a caregiver leave program that provides PTO for employees who must care for a family member with a serious medical problem. Hiring is predicted to remain strong in the next half-decade, particularly in at-home care and housing services.

Crystal Care

In the recent past, family members started looking for a suitable place where you could spend the rest of your life once you reached a certain age. Not so much anymore. Research shows that more and more elders are spending their final years in their own homes. Making this arrangement work in an age of two-career families means that the demand for homecare services has never been higher. Crystal Care, a Richfield-based homecare service agency with 1,125 employees, is on the cutting edge of this trend. Salaries range from $10 to $15 an hour for homemakers and companions to annual salaries of $60,000 to $80,000 for RNs and $70,000 to $90,000 for therapists.


So you think you’re a creative genius…

Choose: Marketing & Advertising

We’re sure that the unpublished novel sitting on your hard drive is a bestseller waiting to happen, but if you need to pay some bills in the meantime, you don’t have to let your creativity go dormant in a paper-pushing office. Instead, consider a career in marketing or advertising, where you can help dream up a way to make the next thing into the next big thing. Solid 10-percent growth during the next decade and salaries for managers that touch $100,000? Sign us up. Send your resumé to:


With the help of clever campaigns for organizations ranging from Izze beverages to Target, Olson has been rocking double-digit growth nearly every year for more than a decade. Thanks to its rapid expansion, employees are filling nearly every corner of its hip Loring Park headquarters in Minneapolis, and the company expects to increase its 320-person roster in the coming years. Though the schedule is hectic, employees can stay sharp with the help of the 11 on-site fitness classes offered each week or work with the company’s wellness trainer to stay on track.

Carmichael Lynch

If the company’s enormous rooftop patio overlooking Target Field doesn’t make you swoon, its client list—which includes the likes of Subaru and Seventh Generation—might. The company expects to hire more than 35 people next year, and even part-timers get access to a comprehensive slate of perks, including extra time off in the summer, full medical coverage for domestic partners, and incentives to bike to the office.


Even its CEO acknowledges that the culture of Reach, an Eden Prairie-based marketing and technology company, is more likely to embrace beer pong than button-down shirts. But the party vibe hasn’t impeded its growth: The 40-person company (15 in Minnesota) is poised to add 15 people in 2011 and another 45 in 2012. Employees love that the company is small enough that everyone’s work makes a visible impact, and hierarchy is eschewed. They also love success: Even as companies froze salaries and slashed workforces during the recession, Reach members received raises and bonuses.


The company’s Minneapolis headquarters are distinctly comfier than most—employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to the office, and a Ping-Pong table and classic video-arcade games provide a more pleasant break than a water cooler. But make no mistake, this advertising and marketing firm is driven to succeed. With 125 employees in Minnesota and a client list that includes American Express and Forever 21, Space150 is poised to add at least 30 people this year.

So you want to roll in the dough…

Choose: Finance

The mantra “Greed is good” may have helped Wall Street topple the American economy, but we all need to make a buck, right? To make more bucks than most, consider a career in finance, where six-figure salaries are common for experienced financial analysts and managers, and bonuses and stock options can send already sky-high checks into the stratosphere. Plus, state job growth for financial analysts is expected to be 16 percent in the coming decade—twice as rapid as growth in other sectors. Ka-ching! Send your resumé to:

Thrivent Financial

Many companies took a financial beating during the past years’ financial meltdown, but Thrivent’s prudent management helped it increase both sales and assets in 2009. That growth has fueled hiring at its Minneapolis headquarters and beyond. The company expects to add up to 150 new employees in 2011 alone. Once on board, workers enjoy benefits like a nine-day flex program, telecommuting options, and an average of 20 vacation days per year.

Securian Financial Group

If only we all looked this good after 130 years: Securian, a finance and insurance company headquartered in St. Paul, has more than 9 million U.S. clients. The company plans to hire 200 workers in Minnesota in 2011, and the company’s notable perks, including a diversity program and performance-sharing plan, make the gig quite attractive. Securian also has a strong culture of corporate citizenship: Employees volunteered more than 5,000 hours in 2009, gave more than $1 million to United Way, and have awarded scholarships to more than 100 students.

ING Direct

Known primarily for its online presence, ING Direct’s St. Cloud site employs more than 500 people. Thanks to its mentality of saving versus spending, the bank is poised to add 350 employees in the next five years. Employees have access to retirement savings perks like matching 401(k) plans and pensions, get PTO for community service, and have access to an on-site wellness center.

Wells Fargo

With some 20,000 employees in the state, Wells Fargo is something of a financial behemoth in Minnesota. Touting its people as its prime asset, the bank invests in its workers through subsidized childcare options, volunteer programs, and exceptional health and retirement plans. As a result, internal surveys reveal that some 80 percent of employees say they like their work, far greater than the national average.

U.S. Bancorp

Plenty of banks have cut back—or gone under—the past few years, but the Minneapolis-headquartered U.S. Bancorp continues to grow. Known as a family-friendly company and a great workplace for members of the military, it has also been recognized by American Banker magazine for having some of the most powerful women in banking. Workers get access to a pension plan, 401(k) match, paid volunteer time, and tuition reimbursement.


So you want to save the planet…

Choose: Alternative Energy

With our plentiful plains, year-round sun, and rich croplands, the upper Midwest—especially Minnesota, with its highly educated workforce—is like alternative energy’s Saudi Arabia. Most desired in the growing world of clean energy production are skilled technicians who can install or maintain collection devices like wind turbines and solar panels—and they earn as much as $25 an hour. Engineers and executives take home close to $100,000 a year. Send your resumé to:


Converting the sun’s power into energy is the name of the game for Minneapolis-based TenKsolar, an independently owned designer and manufacturer of commercial, rooftop, solar-photovoltaic systems. Currently employing 50 engineers, operators, and business staff, the company plans to significantly expand its creative workforce: In the next five years, TenKsolar CEO Joel Cannon projects hiring between 500 and 1,000 employees.

Outland Energy Services

Good with your hands? Not afraid of heights? Outland Energy Services, a five-year-old Canby-based company, may be the employer for you. Many folks install turbines, but according to president and COO Steve Scott, Outland succeeds by helping eager “wind miners” keep their mills running. Robust growth is expected for this company of 150-plus employees; by 2016, over 250 engineers, technicians, and office workers will likely be hired. Benefits include stock options, tuition reimbursement, free health insurance for single employees, and travel.

Innovative Power Systems

Founded in 1991, St. Paul-based Innovative Power Systems is the granddaddy of Minnesota’s alternative-energy startups. The firm’s 20 employees design, install, and service solar electric, solar thermal, and large residential wind systems. Thanks to federal subsidies and increased consumer interest in their products and services, sales manager Jamie Borell estimates annual employee growth of 30 to 50 percent over the next five years. Benefits include flexible scheduling and union wages. Jobs include sales, marketing, accounting, project management, and installation.

Juhl Wind

The winds of change are shaping America’s energy horizon. The visionaries at Juhl Wind, a Woodstock-based developer and manager of community wind-farm projects, have positioned themselves to become one of the leaders of the new alternative-energy economy. Juhl has developed 15 wind farms, producing approximately 160 megawatts of wind power, with 16 new projects in development. Founder Dan Juhl estimates that payroll could double (from 19 employees to as many as 40) in the next five years. Needed most are project developers, technicians, and project managers.

So you want to heal the sick…

Choose: Healthcare

We’re not getting any younger. So it’s no surprise that healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development projects that the number of healthcare workers will increase by as much as 60 percent in the next 10 years. Employment options for well-credentialed workers abound, and full-time RNs can expect to take home around $70,000 a year; qualified med-tech managers and engineers can expect six figures. Send your resumé to:


As one of Minnesota’s largest networks of hospitals and clinics, HealthPartnersemploys some 10,000 healthcare professionals. Employee benefits include a strong healthcare package with free dental and eye care, and innovative options like the Healthy Benefits wellness program which includes classes on stress and weight management, smoking cessation, and high-cholesterol. The organization hires between 300 and 600 new employees each year.


Sometimes bigger is better. Formed in 1986 by merging six of the east metro’s largest healthcare providers, HealthEast has grown to become an independent-care system of hospitals, clinics, and outpatient services. HealthEast employs 7,400 in Minnesota, adding 900 employees in 2009 alone. According to Vivian Tanniehill, HealthEast’s director of workforce acquisition, hiring will increase as baby boomers retire. Highest-demand positions include RNs, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and lab and pharmacy workers.


For more than six decades, Medtronic has developed technology designed to treat debilitating chronic diseases. The multinational company, known for its generous benefits package and worker loyalty, has its headquarters in Minneapolis and more than 8,000 employees in the state. Many of Medtronic’s product lines, including cardiac defibrillators, neurostimulators, drug pumps, and pacemakers, serve an aging audience that grows larger every year, meaning that the company will need to keep hiring to meet demand.

Allina Hospitals & Clinics

It may be that just about any kind of healthcare professional can find a job at Allina. The regional network of hospitals and clinics employs 23,000 workers in Minnesota. Its employees drive ambulances, fix meals, deliver babies, take temperatures, and enter data, among other duties. Unique perks like an employee wellness program attract new hires, while a sense of mission help keep longtime employees on board. Hiring remains strong, according to David Kanihan, Allina’s director of marketing and communications: Just a few months ago, the company was looking to fill 900 positions.


So you want to feed people…

Choose: Food Products

Everybody’s got to eat, so it makes sense that even in the most trying of times companies that produce food are some of the healthiest in our economy. That’s particularly true in Minnesota, where employers focused on the design, production, and manufacturing of food products are some of the most economically viable in the state. Think employee longevity and loyalty, strong benefit packages, competitive salaries, and an opportunity to blend science with sustenance. Send your resumé to:


Chances are there’s at least one box of cereal in your kitchen. According to Linda Fisher, consumer communications manager for the Malt-O-Meal Company, cereal can be found in 90 percent of U.S. households, making it a $7.2 billion-dollar industry. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Malt-O-Meal employs some 1,700 workers nationwide, representing a significant piece of the breakfast pie. In fact, one out of every 10 bowls of cereal consumed in the United States is one of MOM’s products.

General Mills

Looking for an employer with deep Minnesota roots? Look no further than General Mills, a multinational food producer that began in 1866 when Cadwallader Washburn built a flourmill on the banks of the Mississippi River. Today, General Mills employs more than 5,500 workers in Minnesota. Cereal is still at the company’s core, but expansion into international products like Wanchai Ferry frozen dumplings helps keep the Mills turning. Hiring continues to move at a healthy pace, with increased emphasis on engineering, marketing, sales, and sourcing.

Merlin Development

If you dream of sharing your brownies with the world, you’ll quickly discover that there’s more to creating a best-selling food product than finding space on a grocery store shelf. Since 1989, Merlin Development, a Plymouth-based food-product development and research firm, has been helping tiny- to-Titanic-sized companies ready their food products for national distribution. Merlin employs just nine full-time workers, but its number of consultants and contractors nearly doubles under deadline or when projects pile up, says company founder Leslie Skarra. Benefits include a flexible office environment and an opportunity to think creatively while working with the industry’s biggest names.


They’re not just making bacon at Hormel. The 120-year-old Austin-based firm has grown from a pork processor into an international producer of meat-based food products, including such popular brands as Chili Master Chili, Compleats Microwave Meals, and Bacon Bits. Hormel’s nearly 8,000 Minnesota employees can expect entry-level salaries ranging from $45,000 to $50,000, competitive benefits, and an environment that was recently recognized as one of the best places to work for recent grads by one ratings service. In the next half-decade, Hormel officials estimate they’ll hire around 260 salaried workers in Minnesota.

So you’re a computer geek…

Choose: IT

If Java and Python conjure visions of computer languages instead of Starbucks and serpents, you can write your ticket in the information-technology industry. Employers are clamoring for people with expertise in computer systems, says Andy Ditlevson, associate director of career services at St. Cloud State University. “I’ve been talking to Minnesota employers who say they’re not just short now, but they expect to continue to have a tough time finding good candidates,” he says. Send your resumé to:

Nerdery Interactive

We wouldn’t be surprised if Nerdery Interactive’s employees prefer working overtime to going home: From a free breakfast bar and delivered lunch to chair massages at its Bloomington headquarters, this organization of self-proclaimed web nerds has perks rivaling those at Google. Think you’re ready to tap one of the company’s kegs on Friday afternoons? The firm will be adding about 100 people to its 160-person staff next year, focusing on web development for advertising and marketing agencies. Workers say they thrive in an environment where ideas are respected, management is approachable, and a fridge containing Red Bull is always just a few steps away.

Harbinger Partners

Tired of feeling like a meaningless cog in a gigantic corporate machine? Harbinger Partners, a St. Paul-based IT staffing firm, may be the perfect solution. With just 33 employees in Minnesota—all who report directly to the company president—it’s impossible to get lost in the shuffle. Harbinger plans to add at least a dozen positions in the next five years, and every employee works from a client office or from home. Loyalty is richly rewarded: Salaried employees can purchase stock after just six months, and instead of useless anniversary trinkets, employees get rewarded in cold, hard cash—$5,000 after five years, $10,000 after 10.

GNET Group

If the folks at GNET seem to use the word “family” a lot, it may be because the entire company probably isn’t much bigger than the crew you had around the table at Thanksgiving dinner. But things could soon change for the St. Paul-based company, which provides business intelligence and performance management consulting services: Its 16-person staff is poised to grow by more than 60 percent in 2011 alone. In addition to standard benefits, employees can also take advantage of flextime.