Home > Uncategorized > An Examination of Jobs of the Future Shows Little Need for Massive Numbers of College Graduates

An Examination of Jobs of the Future Shows Little Need for Massive Numbers of College Graduates

Diane Ravitch’s Labor Day blog post featured a link to a recent Bureau of Labor spreadsheet that displayed “Occupations with the Most Growth” forecasted between now and 2024, and it doesn’t provide any evidence that the workforce will be requiring more college degreed workers and offers little evidence that the STEM programs are needed to prepare workers of the future.

2014 National Employment Matrix title and code Employment Change, 2014-24 Median annual wage, 2016(1) Percent of
2014 2024 Number Percent Growth
Total, all occupations 150,539.9 160,328.8 9,788.9 6.5 $37,040
Personal care aides 1,768.4 2,226.5 458.1 25.9 $21,920 4.68%
Registered nurses 2,751.0 3,190.3 439.3 16.0 $68,450 4.49%
Home health aides 913.5 1,261.9 348.4 38.1 $22,600 3.56%
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 3,159.7 3,503.2 343.5 10.9 $19,440
Retail salespersons 4,624.9 4,939.1 314.2 6.8 $22,680  
Nursing assistants 1,492.1 1,754.1 262.0 17.6 $26,590 2.68%
Customer service representatives 2,581.8 2,834.8 252.9 9.8 $32,300
Cooks, restaurant 1,109.7 1,268.7 158.9 14.3 $24,140
General and operations managers 2,124.1 2,275.2 151.1 7.1 $99,310 1.54%
Construction laborers 1,159.1 1,306.5 147.4 12.7 $33,430
Accountants and auditors 1,332.7 1,475.1 142.4 10.7 $68,150
Medical assistants 591.3 730.2 138.9 23.5 $31,540 1.42%
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 2,360.6 2,496.9 136.3 5.8 $24,190
Software developers, applications 718.4 853.7 135.3 18.8 $100,080 1.38%
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 2,441.3 2,566.4 125.1 5.1 $25,980
First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers 1,466.1 1,587.3 121.2 8.3 $54,340
Computer systems analysts 567.8 686.3 118.6 20.9 $87,220 1.21%
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 719.9 837.2 117.3 16.3 $44,090 1.20%
Maids and housekeeping cleaners 1,457.7 1,569.4 111.7 7.7 $21,820
Medical secretaries 527.6 635.8 108.2 20.5 $33,730 1.11%
Management analysts 758.0 861.4 103.4 13.6 $81,330 1.06%
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers 1,797.7 1,896.4 98.8 5.5 $41,340
Receptionists and information clerks 1,028.6 1,126.3 97.8 9.5 $27,920
Office clerks, general 3,062.5 3,158.2 95.8 3.1 $30,580
Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products 1,453.1 1,546.5 93.4 6.4 $57,140
Stock clerks and order fillers 1,878.1 1,971.1 92.9 4.9 $23,840
Market research analysts and marketing specialists 495.5 587.8 92.3 18.6 $62,560 0.94%
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers 890.1 978.6 88.5 9.9 $31,480
Electricians 628.8 714.7 85.9 13.7 $52,720
Maintenance and repair workers, general 1,374.7 1,458.1 83.5 6.1 $36,940

As the chart above indicates, there are only four of the fast growing jobs that clearly require a college degree: registered nurses; software developers, applications; computer systems analysts; and market research analysts and marketing specialists. Combined, these jobs consist of 9.08% of the growth, with more than half of the number of new jobs resulting from the demand for more registered nurses.

And the most distressing news is that the lion’s share of the new jobs are low wage jobs: only four of the high growth jobs have salaries above $80,000 (see bold red rows) and only three others have salaries above $60,000 (see bold green rows). Given the number of jobs that require no college degree, this ending is unsurprising.

What does this mean for public education? It strikes me that instead of focussing on preparing all children for college we should be focussing on preparing more children for the workplace they will be entering by providing them opportunities to enter the workforce earlier if they so desire and we should be focussing more on the medical professions and careers than careers in technology. 20% of the growth in new jobs is in the medical field while only 2.6% is in computer related fields.

In the broader picture, though, it is clear that if we ever hope to restore middle class jobs we need to increase the minimum wage. If the minimum wage for a 40 hour per week job was increased to $15 per hour the average annual wage would be $31,200…. and 11 of the jobs on this list, those in bold, are forecast to earn less than that figure in 2024. How will we ever reduce poverty unless we pay more for the “jobs of the future” that will be needed no matter how much STEM education we provide in schools?

 

 

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