DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It’s onwards and upwards for people whose careers survived the Great Recession in Michigan or for  those just starting out.

Boyd Falconer, managing director of the Michigan division of recruiting firm DHR International, thinks there’s plenty of reason for optimism for any job seeker in 2013.

“It’s all good, I think 2013 will be a positive year,” Falconer said, adding that Michiganders have even more reason to smile than people in other states.

“I’ve been bullish on Michigan for the past couple of years anyway, the state economy is No. 6 in the country — it’s a hard fact, people are starting business here,” he said. “Who would have thought someone was going to come to Michigan and manufacture watches or bicycles? It’s happening. I’m very bullish and excited about Michigan.”

Falconer said science, engineering and finance offer the hottest job prospects for new grads or mid-career switchers. Health care continues to be hot, and retail, hospitality and manufacturing offer plenty of jobs for people with all levels of skill and education.

More than 70,000 new software development jobs have become available since 2010, Falconer said. Best yet?Average compensation for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science working in their chosen industry is $90,000 — and the expectation is another 30 percent hiring spike in the industry.

“If you’re going into college, why would you not seriously consider that?” Falconer said.

Median pay for people working as accountants is about $62,000, Falconer said, which is similar to marketing and finance specialists. And marketing specialist positions are expected to increase 41 percent by 2020.

“These are phenomenal numbers,” Falconer said. “If you’re a graduate this year you’re in a better position than graduates last year — things are looking good.”

Statistics show people adept with numbers fare the best in this could-become bullish hiring market. But if that’s not the industry you’re in right now, Falconer said there’s no reason to lose hope.

“We’re at a point now, there are some variation in statistics, but the number of positions being filled by people not coming from that industry are 50 percent,” he said. “It’s significant, don’t give up hope yet, things are getting better, it’s slow, but the market is welcoming of a career change candidate.”

That may mean going back to community college to brush up on outdated skills, getting an associate’s degree in a new field or just reprogramming skills you already have. If you can’t find your dream position immediately, go for an unpaid internship, which could get your foot in the door of a favorite firm.

“It’s not a push for the reset button scenario, you’ve developed employable skills in whatever industry  you’re in,” Falconer said. “You don’t walk away from customer service skills, typically there are short courses that are required, they can be as short as 6 months, you could knock out an associate’s degree in 18 months.”

Think about the hospitality industry, which is starting a mini-boom in Michigan as people are traveling and spending money again, with new hotels planned for hot spots like Ann Arbor and Royal Oak.

“If you have that customer service DNA, you can do well,” Falconer said.

Retail is another option as stores that are opening or getting back on track fill positions from managers to floor staff.

“On the candidate side: Be first, get as much experience as early as you can, cram as much learning as you can, and apply first so you’re at the top of the queue (when a job becomes available),” Falconer said.

And then there’s the Michigan stand-by that teetered on the edge of extinction in 2009: manufacturing.

“This is where Michigan is going to punch above its weight for the next decade or more,” Falconer said. “That’s good for those who are coming out of construction, it’s a great leap to make to the shop floor. If you’re more of a tech school graduate, that’s definitely your best bet. Leaders right up to the governor are pushing manufacturing and doing it well. Michigan is a center of excellence for manufacturing.”

Overall, Falconer, a native of Australia, said just about anyone willing to work hard and do what they have to do in terms of training, staying on top of a job search, and making contact with employers, can be hopeful about finding a job in 2013.

“Michigan and Australia have a fight for the underdog (mentality), love to back the underdog, love to make something awesome out of something struggling — that resonates with the Michigan population and the Australian population, I feel such energy and enthusiasm out there.”

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