Category Archives: Post-secondary education

That State of American Jobs and Workers

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While I was browsing the internet looking for some economic data, I came across this 2016 report from the Pew Research Center:  The State of American Jobs. And it is compelling! The Pew Research Center is “a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. They conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.”

This report is hefty at 95 pages, but it is totally readable. And full of great information about the state of the U.S. workforce. I couldn’t put it down. (Well, I couldn’t stop scrolling forward.)

There are five sections – and they’re all fascinating. If you have anything to do with people in your organization – hiring, managing, training, deploying – there will be nuggets here that will absolutely help you be more effective. The five sections are:

  1. Changes in the American workplace
  2. How Americas assess the jobs situation today and prospects for the future
  3. How Americans view their jobs
  4. Skills and training needed to compete in today’s economy
  5. The value of a college education

Each of these alone are fascinating topics and the data/analysis provided generate great food for thought and action. An opening overview section sets the stage for a fascinating discussion of how American workers are assessing their skills, their ability to be competitive in the economy and the role of the U.S. education infrastructure to ensure employability.

Here are two graphs from the overview section that ought to catch your eye. First:

pew-2And second:

pew-1

Each of these graphs tells a profound story about workers, responsibility for employability, and the role of our education system in preparing workers for careers. And these are just in the overview. Wait until you see the nuggets in each of the following 5 chapters.

95 pages seem long – but it really isn’t. There are insights galore here that can help you in your talent attraction, development, retention and deployment policies and programs. And you don’t have to dig to get to the nuggets. They’re right there on the surface. Download it here, and browse through it first. Then go back and delve in to the chapters that really appeal to you. If you’re in any kind of people business – and who isn’t? – those nuggets will be valuable. Totally worth your time.

 

 

 

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Productivity, HR Data, HR Trends, Human Capital, Pew Research Center, Post-secondary education, Talent Analytics, Workforce Demographics, Workforce Planning

Jobs recovery? Not so much…

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I’ve referenced several times the good work that Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce is doing in predicting the educational Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce logopreparedness (or lack thereof) of the workforce in relation to the anticipated jobs growth in the United States. Anthony P. Carnevale and his colleagues have just published Recovery:  Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020. This is a follow up to their 2010 publication, Help Wanted:  Projection of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018.

The bad news is that the educational preparedness of the U.S. workforce is getting worse as we look to the future. Without systemic changes to the U.S. post-secondary education system, the economy will now fall 5 million workers short with post-secondary degrees by 2020 – an increase of 2 million from their projection of a 3 million shortfall in 2018.

While many sources are predicting that the U.S. economy will create 55 million new job openings over the next decade, these new job openings are a combination of an anticipated 24 million newly created jobs and 31 million openings created by Baby Boomer retirements. Foundational to the calculations are that jobs are returning much more slowly that we thought they would following the recession.

Recovery Figure 1

Still, an increase of 24 million new jobs between now and 2020 seems hugely optimistic. That’s an average of 307,000 new jobs per month between now and 2020. When has the U.S. sustained that kind of consistent job growth? Well, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the last 30 years, only 1994 averaged new jobs creation at a rate of over 300,000 per month. 1994. A long time ago.

So there’s that.

But there’s more from this report that’s worth noting for those concerned about the future of the talent pipeline:

  • By 2020, 65% of all jobs in the economy will require post-secondary education and training beyond high school

    • 35% of the job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree

    • 30% of the job openings will require some college or an associate’s degree

    • 36% of the job openings will not require education beyond high school

Reccovery Figure 4

The implications here are clear regardless of the numbers of new jobs created: employers and others predict that soon nearly two-thirds of all jobs will require some kind of post-secondary education or training. In 1973 – just 40 years ago – less than one-third of all jobs required the same. Forty years isn’t a very long time – just one generation. Lots of change in the nature of jobs, work, education, skills and employability in 40 years.

The report also defines the skills that will be most valued and in demand for the new jobs landscape. These are not as revolutionary as one might think. Cognitive skills of leadership, communication, analytics and administration will be most valued and in demand. Take a look and see what you think.

The Center on Education and the Workforce generates useful information for those involved with education and/or workforce planning – functions that should joined at the hip today and in the future.

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Filed under Baby Boomers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Center on Education and the Workforce, China Gorman, College Graduation Rates, Education Deficit, Job Creation, Post-secondary education

Big Trouble in the Talent Pipeline

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I’m not generally big on infographics.  I find them self-serving and hard to read and digest.  Here’s an exception.  It’s called Unprepared for College and was posted on the College@Home.com blog.

I’ve written about the non-performance of the U.S. education system in preparing our future workforce here and here.  This infographic puts the issues front and center.  I don’t see how we can continually turn away from this data.

  • Half of all college students drop out before receiving a degree
  • 1 in 4 college freshman don’t complete their 1st year
  • Over half-a- million college freshman drop out every year

But wait.  It gets worse:

  • 80% of college freshman say high school is too easy but
    • 5 out of 10 college freshman can’t find New York or Ohio on a map of the U.S.
    • 9 out of 10 can’t find Afghanistan on a map of Asia
    • 3 out of 10 can’t find China on a globe
    • 4 out of 10 can’t find Israel, Iraq or Saudi Arabia
    • 7 out of 10 can’t find North Korea

And worse:

College@Home High School Readiness Benchmarks

And then there’s this:

  • 4 out of 5 students currently pursuing a math or science degree feel that their K-12 education did not prepare them for college
  • 2.2 million college freshman are learning high school material in college
  • 80% of students in remedial classes in college had a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 20% of freshman with a 4.0 high school GPA need remediation in math, English or both
  • And 8 out of 10 freshman believed they were ready for college when they graduated from high school

The bottom line?  Only 56% of students enrolled in a 4-year program receive a degree within 6 years.

So.  What are we doing about this?  Government can’t or won’t act.  We can blame teacher unions, local governments, state governments, the voting public, parents, the students themselves – but none of that helps solve the problem.

Seems to me that business in general – and HR specifically – needs to step up to the plate.  After all, we’re the ones most concerned with the unskilling of our populace.  We’re the ones who know the most about the kinds of skills we need today and the kinds of skills we’ll need tomorrow, and next month and in the years to come.  I think it’s up to us.  What do you think?

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Filed under China Gorman, College Graduation Rates, Connecting Dots, Education Deficit, High School Graduation Rates, Jobs for America's Graduates, Post-secondary education, STEM, Talent pipeline

Certificates: the New Associate’s Degree?

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has published a new report:  Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees. I’m a big fan of a previous report from these authors, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018 and wrote about it here.

This new report gives a clear look under the hood of one of the staples of our post-secondary education infrastructure: the certificate.

Take a look. It’s not a hard read.

Uniquely American, certificates are widely varied in their positive impacts and largely ignored by private, public and government socioeconomic surveyors. The study’s authors contend that if certificates “with a demonstrated labor market value” were counted in official post-secondary surveys as “credentials” they would improve the U.S.’s post-secondary completion position from 15th to 10th among industrialized nations (OECD countries).

And 1 million certificates were awarded in 2010 – up from 300,000 in 1994.

Interesting data from the report include:

  • Certificates are the fastest growing form of post-secondary credentials in the U.S. increasing from 6% in 1980 to 22% today
  • 20% of certificate holders go on to get two-year degrees
  • 13% of certificate holders go on to complete four-year degrees
  • Workers with certificates earn an average 20% more than workers with just high school degrees

As talent management and HR professionals continue to struggle to find “qualified” workers to fill their openings, perhaps a new look at the experience and credentials they require might open a large segment of fully qualified workers – those with certificates instead of college degrees.

Something to think about.

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Filed under Career Planning, Certificates, China Gorman, Demographics, Education Deficit, Employment Data, Post-secondary education, Talent Management, Talent pipeline, Unemployment

Data Point #11: Talent optimism vs. realism

We’re surrounded by all kinds of data points about the talent/skill shortage.  I wrote about it here and here.  Today we have two data points:  one comes from SHRM’s Q2 2012 Jobs Outlook Survey Report and the second comes from the BLS 2012 Occupational Outlook Handbook.

SHRM’s Jobs Outlook Survey has some interesting data from a small sample of its 250,000+ members.  (This particular survey was sent to 3,000 randomly selected SHRM members with 336 members responding, for an 11% response rate.)  These quarterly JOS surveys ask HR professionals interesting questions about optimism in job growth, planned changes in total staff levels, categories of workers companies will hire and categories of workers most difficult to hire in the previous quarter.

I was particularly interested in the responses to the question asking which categories of workers were most difficult to hire in the 1st Quarter of this year.  The sample is small (n=246), so the data are directional at best, but do line up with other data sources.

This data is congruent with BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) data relative to education level attainment and the corresponding unemployment rates in April.  The higher the unemployment rate, the lower the difficulty to hire:

  • Less than high school:                                   12.5%
  • High school no college:                                  7.9%
  • Some college or Associate degree:               7.6%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher:                         4.0%

In other words, it’s more difficult to find skilled professionals and managers in this job market because there are fewer of them unemployed and there are fewer of them overall.  It’s easier to find service workers and unskilled manual workers because more of them are unemployed and there are more of them overall.

But still, as the SHRM report highlights, employers are having difficulty in hiring at all levels.  Which makes me wonder:  are we being unnecessarily restrictive in our job specifications?  Are we hiring people with college degrees when an associate degree would suffice?  Are we requiring associate degrees when a high school degree would be adequate?  I don’t know the answer, but considering the data is interesting.

The Occupation Outlook Handbook, published by the BLS, shows the projected job growth by education category in the 2010-2020 decade:

While the number of jobs created in this decade that will require a Bachelor’s degree or higher is predicted to be nearly 5 million, the number of jobs predicted to be created requiring some college/no degree or less is nearly 13 million.

So if the key to employment (and financial) security for the average worker is a Bachelor’s degree, but the greatest numbers of jobs being created in the next decade won’t require a Bachelor’s degree, how do we reconcile this as employers?

Do we hire college educated workers for jobs that only require a high school diploma?  Are we already doing that now?

Do we work to raise the general level of worker education because we believe it’s the key to global competitiveness?

Do we encourage students to enroll in career and technical education programs in and after high school rather than college because those are the skills needed in the economy?

The data around employers having difficulty finding the talent/skills they need isn’t as simple as it looks.  It’s actually quite challenging.  Under every layer of data is another layer of data.  Solving our talent attraction and acquisition needs won’t be solved with one tactic. But it’s a safe bet that solving our talent challenges will include strengthening relationships between employers and the education infrastructure to produce the skills our economy really needs.

As I look at the data, the optimist in me says we’re covered over in opportunity.  The realist in me says we’ve got a lot of work to do and not a lot of time in which to do it.

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Filed under Bureau of Labor Statistics, China Gorman, Demographics, Education Deficit, Employment Data, HR, Post-secondary education, SHRM, Talent Management, Talent pipeline, U.S. Department of Labor, Uncategorized, Unemployment, Unemployment Rate

Data Point #3: The U.S. Education Deficit and 46.8 Million New Jobs

Many business leaders and most talent management professionals know that the demographic shifts that are happening now and are projected to happen in the next several years will impact every organization’s ability to meet its business goals.  On top of demographic trends,  education trends are also going in the wrong direction.  Between 1997 and 2009 the U.S. position as a world leader in education has slipped from 4th to 11th, as an example.

According to Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018, a report published by Georgetown University, the U.S. economy will create 46.8 million openings by 2018 – 13.8 million brand new jobs and 33 million “replacement” jobs,” positions vacated by workers who have retired or permanently left their occupation by 2018.

Good news for the economy and the working population of the U.S., right?  Well, maybe.

Let’s peel back just one layer of the onion and look at what these new and replacement jobs will require.  According to the Georgetown report, nearly 63% of these jobs will require workers with at least some college education.

This data projects that one-third of the new jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree or better and nearly 30% will require a two-year Associate’s degree or some college.  Only 36% will require a high school diploma or less – and that percentage of all jobs continues to decline.

Here’s the challenge for employers, according to the Georgetown report:  by 2018 the U.S. post-secondary education system will have produced 3 million fewer college graduates than required by the labor market.  And what if the economy recovers faster than expected with greater job growth and greater Baby Boomer retirements?  The delta gets even bigger.

Here’s where talent management professionals should be thinking creatively and strategically.

If the working population will not be educated enough for these 46 million new jobs, employers will have to be focused on educating them.

But how to begin?  Individual employers, groups of employers (aligned geographically or by industry) will have to have a multi-faceted approach, but the cost effective bet is starting with their existing workforce.  Organizations are going to have to educate their own workers and look to current best practice (tuition reimbursement programs, for examples) as well as innovate new approaches.

Strategic partnerships between employers and education institutions are beginning to create new education paradigms.  But that won’t be enough.  Other stakeholders will need to begin their involvement in educating the workforce:  local and regional economic development organizations, local workforce boards, state departments of labor and education, professional associations, labor unions – all will begin to partner with employers to deliver the educated talent they need.  Talent management leaders should be out in front on this issue, defining the skills outcomes required.

It’s clear that demand will outstrip supply in almost all occupational categories soon.  The sooner talent acquisition professionals and learning/development professionals in organizations begin to work together on workforce planning and tackling the education deficit, the sooner the talent pipeline will begin to be prepared for 46 million new jobs.

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Filed under CAEL, Education Deficit, Job Creation, Post-secondary education, Talent pipeline, Tuition Reimbursement, Uncategorized