Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Career Cluster Predictions: Employment Opportunities in 2018

Print Friendly and PDF
The Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) at Georgetown University has come out with another important report this month on how future employment opportunities will correlate with CTE Career Clusters. The report, Career Clusters: Forecasting Demand for High School Through College Jobs, was compiled in conjunction with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc).

The primary motivation for the report was to give the CTE community an idea of the direction the 16 CTE Career Clusters will take over the next few years, and to provide school districts, states, and colleges with data to connect job projections to curriculum and program planning.

Career Clusters is based on work published last year in Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018. Help Wanted presented employment projections through 2018 for hundreds of occupations. It also broke out the projections for each occupation by education requirements. The new report matches each occupation to one of CTE's 16 career clusters and then analyzes the employment and education trends for each cluster.
Help Wanted explicitly challenged the methodology for projecting employment and interpreting education requirements used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS introduced a new method of analyzing education requirements last month and will release new employment projections for 2010-2020 next month. Trailblazers will be writing about the new BLS projections after the release.
The report makes a number of key projections about the changing nature of employment and education. These include:

Jobs for workers with only a high school diploma or less still exist but are quickly declining. Thirty-seven percent of all jobs in 2018 will be available to workers who have either a high school diploma or less, down from 72 percent in 1973. Between 2008 and 2018, projections show there will be around 47 million total job openings, distributed this way:
  • Less than high school, 4.6 million (10%);
  • High school diploma but no further education, 13.1 million (27%);
  • Some college/no degree, 8.4 million (18%)
  • Associate’s degree, 5.7 million (12%);
  • Bachelor’s degree, 11 million (23%); and
  • Master’s degree or better, 4.8 million (9%) (see page 60).
A Bachelor’s degree or better offers access to all high-paying jobs within occupational clusters, but it is not a guarantor. Occupation matters a great deal.

Many of the larger clusters do not pay a living wage. There is a wide distribution of wages across career clusters. The STEM cluster pays the highest wages overall, an average of $74,000. Conversely, wages in Hospitality and Tourism averaged $29,000 in 2008. For workers with a high school diploma or less, jobs that have family-sustaining wages can only be found in 4 of the 16 career clusters: Manufacturing; Architecture and Construction; Transportation, Distribution and Logistics; and Hospitality and Tourism.

Preparation for certifications should be part of career-ready education. Even where strong high school CTE programs exist, employers often require not only a high school diploma, but also an industry certification. 

Projected Job Openings in the 16 Career Clusters

The entire Career Clusters report deserves close reading, but Chapter 4, "Looking Forward to 2019: Employment Projections for CTE," is particularly valuable for its discussion of job openings.

Job opportunities arise in two ways: when new jobs are created and when existing workers leave their occupation to retire or to work in another field, thus opening a spot for a replacement worker. The table below from Career Clusters (page 63) shows net new jobs and replacement jobs for each career cluster.
  • Hospitality and Tourism is projected to produce the most job openings nationwide —  over eight million. This cluster generates huge numbers of replacement jobs because wages are generally low, working conditions are often difficult, and many are eager to leave these occupations, thus opening up many opportunities for replacement workers. Some other clusters have much lower turnover rates, and their replacement jobs are mainly created when workers retire.  
  • Manufacturing continues to offer a significant number of job openings (despite layoffs and outsourcing) because of the need to replace its aging workforce.  
  • STEM is a small cluster with relatively few new and replacement jobs despite its importance to our economy and continued growth. While I agree with Career Clusters researchers that STEM is a much smaller occupational group than our current level of interest in it suggests, I believe that the crosswalk that was used to match occupations to clusters puts many occupations that we think of as STEM into other clusters. This happens because many STEM occupations naturally cross clusters.  The cluster that an occupation falls into seems to be an historical accident of the development of the career cluster system. The science and engineering occupations listed below are omitted from the STEM cluster and included in others. Putting those occupations back into STEM would give that cluster some additional replacement and new jobs, though I don't have the detailed job openings data to determine just how many more.
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Civil Engineers
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Civil Engineering Technicians
  • Environmental Engineering Technicians
  • Industrial Engineering Technicians
  • Sociologists
Expected Job Openings Nationwide, 2008-2018

Forecasting Demand Cluster by Cluster

The Career Clusters report concludes with a detailed nationwide forecast for each of the 16 career clusters. These include forecasts of total employment, education requirements, and information on occupations that pay living wages. These cluster-by-cluster reports begin on page 81. CTE professionals will find these cluster reports valuable and should read the reports that discuss the cluster areas in which they work. 

Forecasting for Virginia

In addition to analyzing national data, the Career Clusters authors have prepared an additional report of summary information on each state. Here are the summary points for Virginia:
  • Marketing, Sales, and Service will be the largest cluster overall, but Information Technology will be the fastest growing. Jobs in the Information Technology sector will increase by 38% by 2018.
  • Business Management and Administration will add the most jobs in Virginia through 2018, while Manufacturing will lose jobs.
  • In 2018, 42% of all jobs in Virginia will be found in the Marketing, Sales and Services, Business Management and Administration, and Hospitality and Tourism clusters.
  • The largest cluster—Business Management and Administration—will require substantial postsecondary education in 2018. It will grow by 19% for those with postsecondary education and 10% for those without.
  • Jobs for high school graduates and high school dropouts will grow more slowly than jobs for those with postsecondary education.
  • In Virginia by 2018, there will be about 450,000 jobs for those with certificates.
The table below shows employment Virginia estimates for 2008 and projections for 2018.

Employment Estimates and Projections for Career Clusters in Virginia*
Career Clusters 2008 2018 Change Change
Agriculture, Food, & Natural Res. 134,900 139,200 4,200 3%
Architecture & Construction 328,300 355,200 26,900 8%
Arts, A/V Tech, & Communications 62,400 67,400 5,000 8%
Business Management & Administration 580,800 79,600 501,200 14%
Education & Training 261,300 307,100 45,800 18%
Finance 108,900 127,900 19,000 17%
Government & Public Admin 46,700 52,000 5,300 11%
Health Science 252,700 317,700 65,000 26%
Hospitality & Tourism 490,700 545,100 54,400 11%
Human Services 132,500 168,600 36,100 27%
Information Technology 183,900 253,100 69,200 38%
Law, Public Safety, Corr's & Security 133,400 158,300 24,900 19%
Manufacturing 272,000 267,900 -4,100 -2%
Marketing, Sales, & Service 601,300 676,000 74,600 12%
Science, Tech., Engineering, & Math. 97,700 116,000 18,300 19%
Transportation, Distrib., & Logistics 303,400 321,500 18,100 6%
TOTAL 3,991,000 4,533,200 542,200 14%

* The numbers in this table are slightly different from those I provided last month in my post on Education Requirement for Career Clusters. This is because those estimates of total employment were created by the BLS for 2010 and do not include all the occupations covered by this CEW report. But both sets of figures tell essentially the same story about the relative employment in career clusters.