There is a growing employment gap, especially in New York, between our workers and the jobs available. Careers focused on technical and vocational skills like plumbing, welding, etc. are growing, while others, especially those relying on 4 year college degrees, are remaining flat or dying.
According to the Center for Economic Growth in Albany…
- In 1956, 60% of jobs were unskilled, 20% skilled and 5% professional.
- In 2005, 5% of jobs were unskilled, 75% skilled and 5% professional.
With more students going to college than ever before, this leaves “middle-skill” level jobs (those earning on average $50,000) with no appropriately qualified candidates. In an age of 9% unemployment, a mismatch between the candidates and available jobs spells disaster!
So what’s the fix? A fundamental change of thought in how students approach education. Yes, it would be great for everyone to get a four year or higher degree, but the need for 3.5 billion MBA students just isn’t there. However, there is a need for millions of healthcare workers for instance, like RNs and home health aides, the latter of which don’t need a bachelor’s degree for certification (and PS, we’re one of the employers struggling to fill those positions because the candidates aren’t there).
More emphasis needs to given on the benefits a 2 year degree or trade school offer to middle and high school kids. Not only are students choosing that pathway still receiving a solid education, they’re saving money on college loans, and many times, learning hands-on skills through workshops and externships that aren’t required by all four-year programs, making them more marketable to employers after graduation.
Skilled labor is here to stay, and until this workforce gap is addressed and the importance and benefits of these types of jobs are given the emphasis they deserve, we will continue to face an employment crisis.
Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts on the future of skilled labor?
More Food for Thought: