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5 million jobs will go unfilled by 2020, report predicts

Posting in Education

"Jobs will return, but not everyone will be ready for them."

Photo credit: Joe McKendrick

That's the gist of a new report out of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, which suggests that 65% of all new job openings by 2020 will require some form of post-secondary education or training.  Currently, 59% require training beyond high school. In 1973, less than a third of all job openings required post-high school education.

The study's authors, Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl, observe that while the economy is returning to a "new normal" state in terms of accelerating growth, there is also a growing imbalance between high numbers of unemployed or underemployed workers and job openings requiring high skill levels. "For experienced workers slogging through the recession and new workers alike, the key survival tools for this new normal will be accurate and timely information on where the jobs are and which industries will continue to experience high growth," they write.

In the United States, "total jobs will increase from 140 million in 2010 to 165 million in 2020. There will be 55 million job vacancies between 2010 and 2020 due to net new jobs (24 million) and retirement (31 million)." That means in the U.S. alone, there will be a shortage of three million workers with post-secondary degrees by 2018, rising to five million by the year 2020, Carnevale and his co-authors estimate.

Many of these jobs will be in healthcare and manufacturing, they predict:

"Driving this growth in goods and services is the underlying restoration of productivity in two key sectors: healthcare and manufacturing. Healthcare, which remained strong throughout the recession, is one of the fastest growing industries in recovery:job growth and education requirements through 2020 and pays well, especially for those with certificates, certifications and associate’s degrees or better. Manufacturing is the big surprise. For the past three decades, manufacturing shed jobs as worker productivity increased and jobs moved offshore. Today, however, we see jobs returning in this sector, particularly in durables and high-tech manufacturing."

Where will the job growth be?  By rate of growth, the fast-growing occupations include the following:

  • Professional and technical occupations in healthcare services: up 31% through 2020.
  • Healthcare support: up 26%.
  • Community services & arts: up 26%.
  • Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations: up 26%.

By number of new jobs, the occupations with the most growth will include the following:

  • Sales & office support occupations: 14 million jobs by 2020.
  • Managerial & professional office occupations: 8.2 million jobs.
  • Blue collar occupations:  30.7 million jobs.
  • Food & personal services occupations: 9 million jobs.
  • Education occupations: 3.4 million.
  • Healthcare professional & technical occupations: 2 million.
  • STEM occupations: 2.6 million.
  • Community services & arts, healthcare support, and social sciences: 4 million.

By number of new jobs, the industries with the most growth will include the following:

  • Financial services: 10 million jobs.
  • Wholesale and retail: 7 million.
  • Government & public education services: 6.7 million.
  • Healthcare services: 6.6 million.
  • Leisure and hospitality: 5 million.
  • Manufacturing: 3.5 million.
  • Professional & business services: 4 million.
  • Construction: 2.8 million jobs.
  • Private education services: 2.5 million.
  • Information services: 2.5 million.

— By on July 12, 2013, 2:11 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure