POST SECONDARY NATIONAL POLICY INSTITUTE

Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020

A recent report from the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce predicts the state of the U.S. economy in the year 2020, including the fields expected to create the most jobs, the skills most likely to be desired by employers, and the education requirements for employment. The study projects that the U.S. will see 55 million new job openings by 2020, with a majority of these openings resulting from Baby Boomer retirements. The study projects that the U.S. will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education to fill these positions.

Among the report’s findings:

  • In 2010, 24% of all jobs required a B.A. while 17% required only a high school education. In 2020, jobs requiring a B.A. remain steady, but jobs requiring only a high school education drops to 12%.
  • Of the 55 million job openings between 2010 and 2020:
    • 24 million openings will be from newly created jobs and 31 million openings will be due to Baby Boomer retirements.
    • 65% of job openings will require at least some postsecondary education (35% will require at least a B.A.), up from 59% in 2010 and 28% in 1973.
    • The financial services industry will have nearly 20% (10 million) of those openings, more than half of which will be new jobs.
    • The wholesale and retail trade will have 7 million of the openings.
    • Government and public education services will have 6.7 million openings.
    • Healthcare services will add another 6.6 million openings.
    • Leisure and hospitality will add more than 5 million openings.
    • Manufacturing will add around 3.5 million openings, professional and business services around 4 million openings, and personal services a little more than 3 million openings.
    • Construction will add about 2.8 million openings and private education and information services will add less than 2.5 million openings.
  • A majority of these 55 million job openings will require at least some college education (with the exception of construction).
    • All industries will experience an increase in the percentage of jobs requiring postsecondary education.
    • In the financial services industry, 79% of jobs will require college education (up from 77% in 2010).
    • In the private education services industry, 80% of jobs will require college education (up from 79% in 2010). In the government and public education industry, 81% of jobs will require college education (up from 79% in 2010).
    • In the healthcare services industry, 80% of jobs will require college education (up from 79% in 2010).
    • In the information services industry, 79% of jobs will require college education (up from 78% in 2010).
    • Over 90% of job openings in healthcare professions and STEM fields will continue to require postsecondary education.
  • Job openings will likely continue to place an emphasis on communication and analytic skills rather than physical skills (such as those traditionally associated with manufacturing) in 2020 as they do in 2010.
    • Five of the top skills most valued in the economy in 2010 are active listening, speaking, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing.
    • The top abilities most valuable to employers are oral comprehension, oral expression, and written comprehension.
  • In addition to national trends, the study includes a supplemental state report, which breaks down projection data for each state. 

Author:

Betsy Prueter