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The Workforce of Tomorrow

Education And Projected Job Growth

Although jobs are available at all levels of education and training, most jobs do not require postsecondary education or training. The economy will produce about nineteen million new jobs between 2004 and 2014, a 13% increase in employment. Much of the growth will be in occupations requiring less education than a bachelor's degree, as seen in Table 5.4, which lists the ten fastest-growing occupations and the level of education or training required for each. Many of these positions generally offer the lowest pay and benefits.

Figure 5.11 provides a list of twenty large-growth occupations that generally require less than a bachelor's degree for entry into the field but that offer high pay. Some of these occupations, such as registered or licensed practical nursing, require specialized training, but not a four-year college degree. Others, such as retail sales management and construction trades work (carpentry, plumbing, etc.) rely more heavily on work experience and on-the-job training. The key to earnings quartiles is given in Table 5.5. Each occupation is assigned a ranking based on where that occupation's median earnings fall within four ranges. For example, FIGURE 5.11 Change in employment in the top 20 large-growth, high-paying occupations that often require less education than a bachelor's degree, projected 2004–14 "Numeric Change in Employment in the Top 20 Large-Growth, High-Paying Occupations that Often Require Less Education than a Bachelor's Degree, Projected 2004–14," in "Occupational Employment," in Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2005–06, http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2005/winter/art02.pdf (accessed February 7, 2006)TABLE 5.5 Earnings quartiles, 2004 "Earnings," in "Occupational Employment," in Occupational Outlook Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 4, Winter 2005–06, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2005/winter/art02.pdf (accessed March 21, 2006)in Figure 5.11 registered nurses are given the ranking $$$$ because median annual earnings for people in that occupation are $43,600 or more. According to the BLS, in "Occupational Employment" (Occupational Outlook Quarterly, winter 2005–06), "the ranges are structured so that each contains one-fourth of all employment" This means that "occupations in the highest range have median earnings that fall within the top one-fourth of earnings for all workers."

Earnings quartiles, 2004
Symbol Earnings quartile Range
SOURCE: "Earnings," in "Occupational Employment," in Occupational Outlook Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 4, Winter 2005–06, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2005/winter/art02.pdf (accessed March 21, 2006)
$$$$ Very high $43,600 and higher
$$$ High $28,580 to $43,590
$$ Low $20,190 to $28,570
$ Very low $20,180 and lower

Bachelor's Degree or Higher

A bachelor's degree or more will be required for most of the higher-paying jobs that will be added to the job market between 2004 and 2014. Predominant categories include jobs in education, business, and information technology. (See Figure 5.12.)

A large amount of employment growth is expected in occupations usually requiring a bachelor's degree or work experience plus a bachelor's degree or higher from 2004 to 2014. More than 1.7 million more people will be employed in education, training, and library occupations in 2014 than in 2004. This occupational group will see growth of 20% in employment during the next decade. (See Table 5.3.) The majority of computer and mathematical occupations (30.7% growth) and business and financial operations occupations (19.1% growth) require at least a bachelor's degree.

Postsecondary Vocational Training

Several occupations that usually require postsecondary vocational training—education beyond high school, but less than a four-year bachelor's degree—will have significant employment growth between 2004 and 2014. Postsecondary vocational training may include special vocational certification, or the achievement of an associate degree, usually a two-year program at a public community college or a private business or technical school. The fastest-growing occupations in this group include registered nurses; health care aides, orderlies, and attendants; preschool teachers; and automotive service technicians. (See Figure 5.13.)

Postsecondary vocational training may also include supervised work experience or extended on-the-job training. During the period 2004 through 2014, carpentry, restaurant cooking, supervising food preparation, and supervising office workers are each expected to add more than 100,000 new jobs requiring either significant work experience or extended work-site training. In addition, public safety occupations, such as fire fighters and police or sheriff's patrol officers, are expected to experience large growth, as are such construction specialties as plumbers and electricians. Note that these occupations vary dramatically in potential for earnings. (See Figure 5.14.)

Twenty selected occupations that usually require short- or moderate-term on-the-job training are projected to increase employment between 2004 and 2014. Of the twenty occupations, the fastest-growing ones are expected to be retail sales workers (736,000 jobs), customer service representatives (471,000 jobs), janitors and cleaners (440,000 jobs), waiters and waitresses (376,000 jobs), and food preparation and serving workers, including fast food workers (367,000 jobs). (See Figure 5.15.) Almost two-thirds (61.3%) of the 5.7 million jobs expected in these occupations fall within the lowest wage bracket.

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Jobs and Career OpportunitiesCareers and Occupations: Looking to the FutureThe Workforce of Tomorrow - Labor Force, Economic Growth, Employment By Industry, Employment By Occupation, Education And Projected Job Growth