Much of the middle-skill segment of the workforce has plunged into a digital world, according to a new study.
A new study shows about 80 percent of middle-skill job openings list some kind of digital proficiency as a prerequisite for employment.
Digital and computer skills have become essential for nearly 80 percent of middle-skill jobs, according to a new study from Capital One Financial Corp. and Burning Glass Technologies.
The middle-skill job segment of the workforce, which accounts for roughly 39 percent of total domestic employment, includes some office assistants, sales representatives, retail supervisors, recruiters and other positions that require a high school degree but may not list a four-year college degree as a prerequisite.
The study found that middle-skill jobs that require digital expertise have been growing at a faster rate than those that do not. They also, on average, offer wages that are 18 percent higher.
The market for digitally intensive middle-skill jobs expanded 4.7 percent between 2003 and 2013 and offer an average hourly wage of $23.76, according to the study. Non-digital middle-skill jobs, meanwhile, only saw growth of 1.9 percent and offer an average of $20.14 per hour.
And technology-savvy middle-skill jobs have more recently seen growth that slightly eclipses expansion in the high-skill sector, which is made up of chemists, advanced computer systems analysts, doctors and other positions that require highly specialized skills and usually require at least a bachelor's degree or the completion of an extensive training program.
According to the study, digitally intensive middle-skill jobs grew 4.8 percent between 2010 and 2013. High-skill positions saw 4.7 percent growth during that period.
There are more opportunities and more money available in digitally intensive middle-skill positions than in non-digital middle-skill fields. It seems mastering Microsoft Excel and Word are becoming essential to success in the workforce.
About two-thirds of all middle-skill jobs require, at minimum, proficiency in Microsoft Word or
Excel, similar productivity software, or enterprise resource management software like Oracle. Jobs that require only proficiency in such productivity software offered 13 percent higher wages than non-digital middle-skill positions.
Positions that required more specialized, often industry-specific digital know-how offered 38 percent higher wages than non-digital middle-skill jobs, and 22 percent higher wages than the middle-skill jobs that only required simpler software familiarity.
Jobs requiring advanced digital skills "offer the strongest opportunity for middle-skill job seekers in terms of salary and growth as well as career advancement,” the report says. “Effectively, entire segments of the U.S. economy are off-limits to people who don’t have basic digital skills. Even for middle-skill production jobs, such as machinists, eight in 10 job postings require these skills at some level.”
“Employers continue to demand other skills that would be helpful in an office environment, such as
communications skills, writing and relationship building,” the report says. “But word processing
and spreadsheets are a basic requirement for nearly all office jobs.”
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Resource: Andrew Soergel, Economy Reporter at U.S. News, March 5, 2015.