Job Requirements 2015

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recently refreshed a study that forecasts job trends over the next ten years.  That study not only forecasts growth over the next decade, but it also provides insights into the requirements of those jobs.

In this article, we're going to examine data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook differently than was done in Hot Jobs.  We'll start this discussion with a brief overview of the study.  Then we'll look at two common job requirements:  work experience and education.  Finally, we'll examine how these requirements align with both the job growth projections as well as salaries.

Education, Work Experience, and Training

The 2014 - 2015 version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook was released on January 30, 2015.  The study is a composite of information gathered from three sources:  the Current Employment Statistics (CES), the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), and the Current Population Survey (CPS).  The data in these studies includes employment, earnings or wages, as well as demographics.

We've already published lists of the top job types, in terms of growth, in our Hot Jobs article.  Here we're going to look at the demographic data from the study, including the typical level of education needed, work experience in a related occupation, and the training needed to attain competency in a position.

Education

The first demographic slice of data we're going to examine is education.  Specifically, we're going to look at educational requirements along two dimensions: new jobs, and median wages.

The first table shows both the projected numbers of new jobs created from 2012 to 2022 as well as the percentage increase in jobs

New Jobs by Education

Education Thousands Of Jobs % Of Jobs
High School Diploma or Equivalent 4,630.2 29.6%
Less Than High School 4,158.3 26.6%
Bachelor's Degree 3,143.6 20.1%
Postsecondary Non-Degree Award 1,337.2 8.6%
Associate's Degree 1,046.0 6.7%
Doctoral or Professional Degree 638.6 4.1%
Master's Degree 448.6 2.9%
Some College, No Degree 225.0 1.4%

While it's interesting to note, it's not surprising that, nearly 60% of these new jobs do not require a college degree.  However, the following table demonstrates there can be some very significant differences in wages earned.

Median Annual Wage by Education

Education Annual Wages
Less Than High School $27,388.06
Some College, No Degree $38,162.50
High School Diploma or Equivalent $38,168.06
Postsecondary Non-Degree Award $40,276.15
Associate's Degree $51,539.18
Bachelor's Degree $66,970.42
Master's Degree $68,455.64
Doctoral or Professional Degree $86,231.23

Wages by EducationExamining the above table carefully appears to reveal what looks like an error; however, the table is correct.  Those jobs that require some college pay about the same as those that require a high school diploma or equivalent.

It's also interesting to note that jobs requiring a Bachelor's degree pay 75% more than those requiring a high school diploma.  This reinforces the real value of a college education.

Work Experience and Training

In the same way job postings often spell out the education required to hold a position; they may also identify prior work experience.  The Occupational Outlook Handbook identifies two types of experience:

  • The work experience in a related occupation
  • The on-the-job training required to attain competency in the occupation

New Jobs by Work Experience

Years Of Experience Thousands Of Jobs % Of Jobs
None  13,872.2 88.8%
Less Than 5 Years  1,495.5 9.6%
5 Years or More  259.8 1.7%

Once again, it's not surprising that most of the jobs created over the next decade (88.8%) do not require any previous work experience.

Median Annual Wage by Work Experience

Years Of Experience Annual Wages
None $46,283.84
Less Than 5 Years $56,552.46
5 Years or More $87,949.63

It's also not surprising that as the required years of experience increases, so does the median wage of the job.  Interestingly, the More Than 5 Years median wage ($87,950) is nearly 100% higher than those jobs requiring no experience ($46,280).

The final bit of demographic data we're going to examine has to do with the amount of training required to reach competency in a given occupation.

New Jobs by Training Needs

Training To Competency Thousands Of Jobs % Of Jobs
None  6,211.7 39.7%
Short-Term On-The-Job Training  5,745.0 36.8%
Moderate-Term On-The-Job Training  1,910.6 12.2%
Internship/Residency  669.9 4.3%
Long-Term On-The-Job Training  572.1 3.7%
Apprenticeship  518.2 3.3%

The above table continues to confirm the information seen earlier.  The majority of the jobs created over the next ten years require high school diplomas, no real work experience, and no significant training to be considered competent.

Median Wage by Training Needs

Training To Competency

Annual Wages

Short-Term On-The-Job Training $30,578.48
Moderate-Term On-The-Job Training $40,014.98
Apprenticeship $45,861.33
Long-Term On-The-Job Training $47,405.90
None $63,251.85
Internship / Residency $78,326.43

The median wage trend in the above table seems intuitive; as training moves from short term to longer terms, the median wage increases.  The one data point that breaks this pattern is "None," which is the second highest median wage at just over $63,000.  Let's take a closer look at that information to see why this is occurring.

No Training Needs by Education

Education Thousands Of Jobs % Of Jobs
Bachelor's Degree  2,389.2 38.5%
Postsecondary Non-Degree Award  1,041.4 16.8%
Associate's Degree  1,021.6 16.4%
High School Diploma or Equivalent  741.3 11.9%
Doctoral or Professional Degree  493.3 7.9%
Master's Degree  395.0 6.4%
Some College, No Degree  110.1 1.8%
Less Than High School  19.8 0.3%

The above table provides us with insights into why the training needs category of "None" pays so well.  We're drilling down into the category of "None," and looking at the education needed.  Here we see that over 85% of those jobs require a college degree.

Summary

It's important for anyone going to school, or thinking about switching professions, to understand the job patterns predicted over the next ten years.  Some of the lessons learned from these data include:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting nearly 16 million jobs will be created between 2012 and 2022.
  • Nearly 60% of the jobs created do not require a college diploma.  Unfortunately, the median annual wage of those jobs is roughly half the salary of the jobs requiring a college degree.
  • Jobs that require even just a couple of years of experience will pay nearly twice as much as positions that require no previous experience.

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