Forty-four respondents made open-ended comments at the end of the survey when asked, “Where do you see any other future growth possibilities for ergonomists?” These respondents identified some sectors not mentioned in the survey, such as nanoergonomics (nanotechnology and ergonomics), forensics, aerospace, utilities and geriatrics, and some topics not mentioned, such as
space tourism, “green” endeavors, and “smart” homes. Two respondents
predicted growth within the Department of Defense in human-systems integration but noted that not enough human factors people know the area well. Two respondents commented that the profession is becoming diluted by practitioners from other disciplines and that it would eventually be swallowed by a related discipline.
This was a fairly short survey, and the results should not be regarded
as anything more than an indication of the sentiment of Society members. However, the good news is that this sentiment appears to be more positive than negative, and there seems to be a basis for optimism within the discipline. Interestingly, respondents noted growth in opportunities for ergonomics in nontraditional sectors, such as health care and consulting, with much less growth in the traditionally strong industrial sectors. This finding may
reflect the broader economic changes afoot in the U.S. economy;
the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 20% decrease in manufacturing
and mining jobs compared with a roughly 70% increase
in health care and professional and business services and a 90%
increase in education (U.S. Department of Labor, 2007).