Monday, January 15, 2018

Growing Trouble for Workers with Little Education

"All occupations are employing workers with more formal education," reports the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and this is bad news for less-educated Americans. The Fed study examines the striking contrast between the education of workers by occupation today with the education of workers in 1950...
  • Professional and technical workers: Only half had a college degree in 1950. Today, 70 percent are college graduates. One in ten professional/technical workers in 1950 did not have a high school diploma. Today the figure is close to zero. The "empiricist professional" of 1950 has all but disappeared, say the researchers. 
  • Managers: In 1950, more than three out of four had no schooling beyond high school, and many did not even have a high school diploma. Today, three out of four have at least some college education, and 46 percent have a college degree. 
  • Sales, clerical, craftsmen, and service workers: The great majority—close to 80 percent or above—had no more than a high school diploma in 1950. Today, more than half of sales and clerical workers have at least some college as do about 40 percent of craftsmen and service workers.
  • Operative workers (machine operators), farmers, and laborers: Virtually no operative workers had a college degree in 1950. Today, 30 percent are college graduates. The figures are similar for farmers and laborers. 
"Needless to say, these changes have led to additional challenges for some groups of workers," concludes the report. "Those with lower levels of education may be unable to find jobs in occupations that their parents held with much less formal schooling."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Shifting Times—The Evolution of the American Workplace

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