What are the rising jobs of the future? According to a report from the United States government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they tend to involve physical labor or medical service, little education, and relatively low pay.
Here are what the BLS deems the “Fastest growing occupations, 2010 and projected 2020”:
- Personal Care Aides;
- Home Health Aides;
- Biomedical Engineers;
- Helpers–Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters;
- Helpers–Carpenters, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians;
- Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers;
- Physical Therapist Assistants;
- Helpers–Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters;
- Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
What are the implications for education? Note how little schooling is required for these, except for the two medical technology positions. Indeed, many workers in these fields learn by apprenticeship, not college. So should the American education system rethink the old vocational track in order to direct learners towards these positions?
For higher education, are colleges and universities making the implicit argument that their graduates won’t have to work in these fields? If so, this fits in with the theory that modern American education reinforces rather than reduces class divides (a point Andrew Delbanco makes). Further, the leading jobs that actually require higher education are medical. Perhaps institutions should expand their biomedical capacity.
Note, too, the relatively low salaries. They seem consistent with macroeconomic arguments that the American middle class is being hollowed out.
These patterns continue for quite a ways as you read down the chart.