Your next big thing: Alive and kicking

Written by Jim McElgunn

Opportunities aren’t spread evenly across the economy. Year after year, a few industries stand out in rankings of the fastest-growing companies, such as the PROFIT 100 and PROFIT HOT 50, as startup hotbeds. Here are four that promise to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Services for energy producers

China and India will drive rapid growth in energy demand even if other countries cut back. That’s why the International Energy Agency forecasts that global demand will grow as fast from 2005 to 2030 as it did from 1980 to 2005 — 55% over 25 years.

HR/Staffing services

Falling unemployment will intensify the labour crunch, leaving employers clamouring for help in finding the staff they need. Human Resources and Social Development Canada predicts especially acute shortages in senior management, engineering, health care, energy production, and home building and renovation.

Marketing services

Companies are hungry for new ways to target jaded, Web-savvy consumers. The Canadian Marketing Association predicts ad spending will grow 23% in Canada from 2007 to 2011, to $23.3 billion, with jobs in digital media tripling to 200,000.

Software development

About 1.5 billion people will be on the Net worldwide by 2011, forecasts JupiterResearch. Combined with trends such as explosive growth in social media and mobile Web access, you can see why International Data Corp. forecasts 25% growth in global software sales from 2007 to 2010, to US$327 billion.

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