The Shifting Economic Landscape

In The State of American Jobs, the Pew Research Center highlights the changing nature of business skills and training required to be successful in the new economy, and asserts that the shifting economic landscape is reshaping how we work and the way people think about the skills they need to get ahead in the workplace.

The report authors believe that the skills that are now being rewarded include social, communications and analytical skills. These shifts may not only change the types of skills that are rewarded in the work place, but where the constantly evolving skills should be learned – and what the role of colleges should be.

skills Training Report PEW

Report Highlights Include:

  • The vast majority of U.S. workers say that new skills and training are key to their future job success.
  • The number of workers in occupations requiring average or above average education, training, and experience increased from 49 million in 1980 to 83 million in 2015.
  • The number of workers in occupations requiring below average education, training and experience grew from 50 million to 65 million in the same time period. Fewer jobs and slower growth.
  • New analysis of employment data shows that the job categories with the highest growth tend to require higher-level critical thinking skills, social skills, and analytical and technical abilities.
  • 63% of adults with bachelor’s degrees or higher believe they will need to keep advancing their skills throughout their career.MCH Blog - Changing Economic Landscape
  • This is not just a future concern. 35% of today’s working adults say they need more education and training to get ahead in their current jobs.
  • 20% of workers with a high school diploma or less believe that they could be replaced by technology.
  • 38% of workers with no college experience say they lack the education and training to get ahead in their current jobs versus 27% of those with a bachelor’s degree who believe the same.
  • 63% of Americans believe their jobs are less secure than they were 20 years ago. 51% anticipate their jobs will become less secure in the future.
  • Most Americans believe that workers themselves bear the most responsibility for their job readiness and K-12 schools are next in line.
  • 60% believe public K-12 schools should have a lot of responsibility for skill development and 38% believe that colleges should bear some responsibility.
  • 52% say colleges should have a lot of responsibility to ensure the American workforce has the right skills.
  • Only 16% of Americans think that a four-year college degree prepares students for a good paying job in today’s economy.

While we in the education industry often hear about the need for students to become college and career ready, we don’t often hear from the workplace directly. This new Pew research corroborates the direction that schools are taking in teaching students new skills that emphasize collaboration and communication. For product developers the message is clear: Integrate higher-level thinking and collaboration skills into K-12 products.