Crunched by the Numbers: The Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce
Submitted by David J. Rosen on July 19, 2015 - 8:55pm
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Do you wonder how important digital literacy skills are to get and keep a middle skills job that has family-sustaining wages? A new study answers the question.
Middle-skill jobs, roughly defined as those that require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree, comprise 39% of U.S. employment. These jobs matter because they have long sustained a middle-class lifestyle for millions of Americans, and because they’re increasingly pressured by changes to the economy. Two-thirds of Americans don’t have a college degree, and these jobs represent important career opportunities for them.
A study of job postings by Burning Glass Technologies found that middle-skill jobs that require digital skills are outpacing those that do not in a wide range of ways:
- Nearly eight in 10 middle-skill jobs require digital skills. Spreadsheet and word processing proficiencies have become a baseline requirement for the majority of middle-skill opportunities (78%).
- Digitally intensive middle-skill occupations are growing faster than other middle-skill jobs. Digitally intensive jobs have grown 2.5 times more rapidly than middle-skill jobs that do not require spreadsheets, word processing, or other digital skills (between 2003 and 2013, 4.7% growth for digitally intensive jobs compared to 1.9% growth for other positions).
- Digitally intensive middle-skill jobs pay more than middle-skill jobs that do not require a digital component. Digitally intensive middle-skill occupations offer 18% higher wages on average: $23.76 per hour compared to $20.14 per hour for all other middle-skill jobs.
Below is an infographic that you may wish to share with teachers and adult learners.
What do you see as the implications of these findings for what is taught in your program or those that you work with?
David J. Rosen
Technology and Learning, and Program Management CoPs Moderator