Education and Job Placement Statistics

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Where is education trending in terms of U.S. job placement and jobs that are in demand today and in the future especially with an evolving digital and electronic revolution?

Hello! It is my pleasure to respond to your query in providing you with information about education trends as they relate to US job placement – both in today’s market and in the future of both sectors’ markets.

We’ll begin by looking at the current job market, the employment/placement rates of those with at least some college or a Bachelor’s or higher degree, and the top 25 jobs of 2017. Then, we’ll look at trends/changes in the current collegiate environment, and the changes we can expect over the next four-plus years. Then, we’ll get into what we can expect from the future job market (according to experts), and how the collegiate environment will change in response to those scenarios. Overall, this should give you the big picture that you’re looking for in relation to these two segments of US society.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the employment rates for those aged 20 – 24 (in 2016) were as follows:

• The total employment rate (for males and females) was 74%, and the employment rate of those having a Bachelor’s or higher degree was at 88%. Those having some college (but not a Bachelor’s or higher degree) stood at 77%. The lowest-employed individuals were those who had not completed high school – at only 48%.

Employment for males aged 20 – 24 (2016) was better than for females, no matter their education levels. Of those with Bachelor’s or higher degrees, 89% of males were employed, while 87% of women were. Of those with some college, 80% of males were employed, while 73% of women were.

• According to the report, “For young adults with a Bachelor’s of higher degree, the employment rate in 2016 (88%) was not measurably different from the rates in 2000, 2008, and 2010.”

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June 2017 report shows current employment statistics for America. In the first quarter of 2017, “job growth has averaged 121,000 per month … compared to an average monthly gain of 194,000 over the preceding 12-month period”. The sectors seeing the most gains were: Education & Health Services, Professional & Business Services, and Leisure & Hospitality.

USNews studied US employment to find the positions that offered the lowest unemployment rates, the most-generous wages, had robust growth, and offered a solid work-life balance. They determined the following 25 jobs at 2017’s “best”.

1. Dentist
2. Nurse Practitioner
3. Physician Assistant
4. Statistician
5. Orthodontist
6. Nurse Anesthetist
7. Pediatrician
8. Computer Systems Analyst
9. (TIE) Obstetrician and Gynecologist
10. (TIE) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
11. Optometrist
12. Occupational Therapy Assistant
13. Software Developer
14. Surgeon
15. Nurse Midwife
16. Physical Therapist
17. (TIE) Anesthesiologist
18. (TIE) Physician
19. (TIE) Psychiatrist
20. Mathematician
21. Prosthodontist
22. Registered Nurse (RN)
23. Occupational Therapist
24. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
25. Podiatrist

Now that we understand a bit about the current job market – and how many college graduates are getting placed into jobs, as well as what the top jobs in 2017, let’s look at possible changes over the next four-plus (4+) years – due to the current government / administration. We study these potential changes because even after the next presidential election, this administration’s impact will continue to affect both the collegiate environment and the job market.

InsideHigherEd details changes we will (and might) see in colleges over the next few years. We’ll summarize these here (as they relate to the current and future job market).

• DECREASE IN ENROLLMENTS: We can expect to see sliding enrollments over the next few years, and that trend has already begun. “… more than four in 10 private colleges and almost three in 10 public ones missed their goals for enrollment and tuition revenue in 2016”. This is due to increased tuitions, less stability in the student loan market, and more jobs being created that require only certifications or less-than-Bachelor’s-degrees. Additionally, many colleges and universities rely heavily on international students “diversify their campuses and plug the enrollment hole(s),” and that can no longer be trusted due to the current administration’s immigration stances.

• INCREASED COST & ACCESS ISSUES: College attendance is expensive – and not just the tuition, prohibiting many low-income individuals from attending. We’re likely to see continued pressure on colleges and universities to provide tuition, housing, and food assistance to lower-income individuals – so they can earn a degree. New York is the first state to offer free community college to anyone in the state wishing to attend. Although this issue seems dead at the federal level at this point, rising pressures may change this in the future.

• INCREASED VALUE: With “a growing chorus of business and civic leaders … questioning the value of college,” we’re likely to see renewed efforts by colleges and universities to establish value. One note on this was mentioned earlier – with many technology-related jobs requiring only certification rather than four-year degrees, we’re sure to see colleges and universities offering more of these types of programs.

• INCREASED FOCUS ON CAREERS & JOB PLACEMENTS: Those who attend college are increasingly expecting the institutions to assist with career planning and job placement after graduation. Unfortunately, “the 2016 Gallup-Purdue study found a gap between student expectations and college performance in career placement, with only one in six college graduates saying their campus career office was helpful”. So, currently – and we can expect more in the future – colleges and universities “are revamping career services and redefining their role in student career planning” via new programs like those engaging first-year students, “alumni career mentoring initiatives, and targeted efforts to provide career support for low-income and first-generation college students”.

Evollllution points another trend we are seeing (and of which we are likely to see more in the near future). Mentioned previously, this is summarized below:

• RISE IN SPECIALIZED CERTIFICATES & NANODEGREES: As mentioned previously, programs are changing to reflect the demands of the consumer (college students). Rises in “requests of specialized certificates for entry into high-demand jobs, and an increased demand of health-related degrees” are two that we can expect. Both technical and medical jobs are in high demand right now – and this trend is expected to continue into the future as technologies grow and change, and as Baby Boomers reach older ages. Micro-programs and nanodegrees (short, intense programs that deliver specific skills training and offer immediate entry into the job market) are also on the rise and we can expect this trend to continue.

Next, let’s look at the disruptive changes happening in the employment market, as well as what experts say we can expect from the job market of the future – and how those disruptions will impact the collegiate environment.

A report from WeForum discusses the impacts of “disruptive change on employment” that is happening now – and of which we’ll see more in the future. These are summarized for you below.

• EFFECTS FROM ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The report notes that the employment market will be significantly – and possibly negatively – affected by the increased introduction of AI across all sectors of employment, though not until about the year 2020.

• FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: Some experts are calling the rise in technologies in the workplace the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – and they see “a more optimistic picture regarding the job creation potential of technologies such as Big Data analytics, mobile internet, the Internet of Things, and robotics”.

• CHANGES TO JOB-SEEKING POPULATIONS: The report notes that the top three (3) drivers of change in the job market (across all types) will be: “Young demographics in emerging markets,” “Women’s economic power, aspirations,” and “Middle class in emerging markets”. In short, we’re liable to see more younger-aged workers, more women, and more of those in the middle class entering the job market.

• CHANGES TO JOB SECTORS: The report notes that we’re likely to see “strong employment growth across the Architecture and Engineering and Computer and Mathematical job families, a moderate decline in Manufacturing and Production Roles and a significant decline in Office and Administrative roles”. In the Architecture and Engineering job family, drivers will include: “3D printing, resource-efficient sustainable production, and robotics”.

In a CNBC article, Bill Gates identifies the top three (3) skills that individuals will need to be successful in the job market of the future. It can be assumed that these are skills that colleges and universities will increase their focus on – to meet the demands of the student population. These areas include segments that “will be the most in-demand from here on out: science, engineering, and economics”.

Another article from WeForum’s detailing the Future of Jobs report notes that experts believe that by less than five (5) years from now, “5 million jobs will have been lost to automation”. They state, however, that other technological advances “will also create new jobs and change the skills that employers need from human workers” from now until 2020. We can identify these skills as those upon which colleges and universities will begin to focus more heavily in the coming years. They are listed in order of importance with the highest-ranked skills first.

• Cognitive Abilities (how to think, solve problems, etc)
• Systems Skills
• Complex Problem Solving
• Content Skills
• Process Skills
• Social Skills
• Resource Management Skills
• Technical Skills

They note that, “by 2020, more than a third of the core skillset of most occupations will be made up of skills that are not considered crucial to the job today”.

As for the job market of the future, let’s look at the jobs that are expected to be tops over the next 5 – 20 years, according to experts. From these, we can assume that colleges and universities will ensure they offer a variety of regular-length degrees, plus more and more micro-degrees and nanodegrees.

FastCompany also details The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, noting that the following sectors will most most-marketable from now until 2025:

1. Technology & Computational Thinking Jobs: Software Developer, Computer Systems Analyst, Market Research Analyst, Marketing Specialist
2. Caregiving Jobs: Telemedicine Practitioner, Medical Technician, Physical Therapist, Workplace Ergonomics Expert, Veterinarians
3. Social Intelligence & New Media Literacy Jobs: Retail and Sales Representative, Marketing Specialist, Customer Service Representative
4. Lifelong Learners & Education Sector Jobs: Teachers, Trainers
5. Other Jobs: Management Analyst, Accountant, Auditor

Clark notes the “top 10 best jobs of the future” as these:
1. Nurse Practitioner
2. Medical Sonographer
3. Health Services Manager
4. Physical Therapist
5. Dental Hygienist
6. Information Security Analyst
7. Computer Systems Analyst
8. App Developer
9. Market Research Analyst
10. Operations Research Analyst

FastCompany also notes that by 2020, “more than 40% of US workers will be independent contractors”. With the rise of the gig economy, we will see more entrepreneurship and innovative thinking driving those entering the job market – whether or not they’ve attended college. However, with this, we can also expect to see more collegiate focus on these sectors, as well.

The first quarter of 2017 showed an average of 121,000 jobs-added-per-month, while the previous year saw an average of 194,000 jobs-added-per-month. For those aged 20-24 with Bachelor’s or higher degrees, job placement in 2016 stood at 88%; for those with some college (but not a four-year degree), job placement stood at 77%. Job placement was better for males than females across all job sectors. According to experts, the top 10 jobs for 2017 were: Dentist, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Statistician, Orthodontist, Nurse Anesthetist, Pediatrician, Computer Systems Analyst, (TIE) Obstetrician and Gynecologist, (TIE) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.

In the short-term future, we can expect changes in the collegiate environment – which will affect the job market, as well. These include: Decreased student enrollments; increased cost and access issues; increased value of the education/degree; increased focus on careers and job placements; and increased offerings of micro-degrees, nanodegrees, and specialized certificates.

Experts agree that disruptive changes are coming to the job markets of the future – and colleges/universities will need to adjust accordingly. These include: Effects from Artificial Intelligence; changes to job-seeking populations; changes to job sectors. Experts agree that the most in-demand jobs in the future will be in science, engineering (including computers), medicine, and economics.

Thank you again for your question, and I hope this information gives you what you need. Please contact Wonder again for any other questions you may have!