Middle-Wage Employment Falling Behind Despite U.S. Job Growth

August 3, 2017 Ladan Nikravan Hayes

Last month CareerBuilder research found that hiring is on the rise, and wages are increasing, too. Now, based on extensive analysis of historical and current labor market trends, CareerBuilder has more good news — new data projects that 8,194,220 jobs will be added in the U.S. from 2017 to 2022. And while 302,930 will be lost – that’s a net total of 7,891,290 new jobs over this time period (a 5 percent growth).

While job growth is expected across pay levels, the study shows that middle-wage workers will likely take the brunt of the job loss and see job creation continue to lag behind other wage categories.

Here’s a look at some highlights from the research:

  • STEM-related jobs (science, technology, engineering and math) continue to dominate the list of fastest-growing professions while segments of manufacturing and construction will keep experiencing declines.
  • Low-wage employment is expected to have the highest net growth from 2017 to 2022 with 2,966,358 jobs added or a 5.57 percent increase. High-wage employment will grow 5.14 percent (2,735,885 jobs) while middle-wage employment will only grow 4.1 percent (2,189,047).
  • Roughly half (49 percent or 148,012) of the 302,930 jobs that will be lost between 2017 to 2022 are middle-wage, twice the amount anticipated for high-wage and low-wage categories. High-wage occupations are expected to lose 79,825 jobs or 26 percent of the total job loss in the U.S. Low-wage occupations are expected to lose 75,093 jobs or 25 percent of the total job loss in the U.S.

Fastest-Growing Jobs Across Wage Categories

Looking at occupations that are projected to add 20,000 jobs or more from 2017 to 2022, the following are those that will grow the fastest:

Occupation

2017 Jobs

2022 Jobs

Jobs Added 2017 to 2022

2017 to 2022 % Change

Median Hourly Earnings

Personal Care Aide

2,008,531

2,339,769

331,238

16%

$10.89

Home Health Aide

1,013,137

1,178,352

165,215

16%

$11.25

Web Developer

177,110

202,855

25,745

15%

$30.75

Nurse Practitioner

150,044

171,123

21,079

14%

$50.14

Physical Therapist

233,420

261,573

28,152

12%

$41.57

Industry Machinery Mechanic

346,418

386,926

40,508

12%

$24.65

Computer Systems Analysts

616,296

687,511

71,215

12%

$43.04

Software Developers, Applications

821,693

915,772

94,080

11%

$50.03

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

572,386

635,200

62,814

11%

$31.52

Personal Financial Advisors

258,216

285,099

26,882

10%

$43.87

Fastest-Declining Jobs Across Wage Categories

Looking at occupations that are projected to lose 5,000 jobs or more from 2017 to 2022, the following are those that will decline the fastest:

Occupation

2017 Jobs

2022 Jobs

Jobs Lost 2017 to 2022

2017 to 2022 % Change

Median Hourly Earnings

Switchboard Operator, Including Answering Service

101,294

89,751

 (11,542)

 (11%)

$13.23

Door to Door Sales, News and Street Vendors and Related Workers

75,297

67,435

 (7,863)

 (10%)

$10.25

Printing Press Operators

173,754

165,857

 (7,897)

 (5%)

$17.22

Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators and Tenders

133,711

127,773

 (5,939)

 (4%)

$14.27

Cutting, Punching and Press Machine Setters, Operators and Tenders

190,134

182,368

 (7,766)

 (4%)

$15.30

Sewing Machine Operators

155,204

148,875

 (6,330)

 (4%)

$11.38

Tellers

500,188

481,234

 (18,955)

 (4%)

$12.56

Construction Managers

361,317

349,077

 (12,240)

 (3%)

$34.25

Cooks, Fast Food

539,776

531,022

 (8,755)

 (2%)

$9.67

Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks

1,757,866

1,736,082

 (21,784)

 (1%)

$18.23

What Does This Mean For You?

CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson said: “Middle-wage workers are at the greatest risk for displacement especially as rapid advancements in technology reshape labor requirements. Their only choices are adopting new skills for a higher-paying job, being underemployed in a lower-skill job or leaving the workforce altogether. Either of the latter options will result in less spending, less investing and significant economic challenges. If we want to adequately prepare our labor force, we need to dramatically increase efforts to re-skill and up-skill workers today.”

So what can you do to help? As competition for talent continues to heat up, companies should prioritize employees’ training and career development not only as a means to have a more effective workforce, but also as a way to keep strong performers around. Lack of career opportunities is a top reason employees say they leave an organization, so making this investment is pivotal. And although it’s certainly a retention tactic, it’s also a recruitment one. Job seekers from entry-level to executive say continued learning and development is among the most important aspects of a prospective job. This makes sense, since continuous learning is key when crafting a sustainable career.

There are many ways this kind of skills building can be executed. First, training is huge. The majority of employers we’ve surveyed said they’ve hired a person who does not fully meet the stated requirements for the role and then trained them on the job. Online classes, tuition reimbursement and mentoring programs are just a few of the ways employers can help employees expand their skills.

Lastly, CareerBuilder and Capella Learning Solutions launched an initiative called RightSkill, which enables workers to upskill and reskill for in-demand jobs. The program teaches competencies online based on real-time data and guidance from employers.

Assess your current recruitment process with this questionnaire.

Previous Article
What Type of Recruiter Are You?
What Type of Recruiter Are You?

Are you a Lannister, a Stark, a Bolton, a...oops – wrong quiz! When it comes to recruiting, what is your pe...

Next Article
CareerBuilder Q2 2017 in Review: Product Updates and Enhancements
CareerBuilder Q2 2017 in Review: Product Updates and Enhancements

Get the latest updates on CareerBuilder's software solutions and new product features.