SHRM-Achieve Survey: Higher Education Levels Will Soon Be Required Most Jobs

Tomorrow's workers will need more education.

Tomorrow’s workers will need more education.

The future workforce will need higher levels of education than today’s workers, a new survey of human resources professionals found.

A new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Achieve shows that technical and educational requirements are rising across job categories.

“Today’s tough job market means that many individuals are currently in jobs for which they have educational qualifications beyond those required for the position,” said Jennifer Schramm, GPHR, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “But this may not be the case down the line—education requirements are climbing for jobs across the board.”

Higher Education Levels Expected

The responses of 4,695 HR professionals across nine industries and shows that:

  • comparing 10 years ago to today, there are more jobs with specific technical requirements — said 51%.
  • more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related jobs — said 26%.
  • increased employee diversity –said 45%.
  • simply a higher education level required for most jobs – said 46%.

Looking ahead three to five years, 60% of HR professionals expect even more jobs with specific technical requirements 31% except more STEM-related jobs.

There are also fewer entry-level jobs today compared to 10 years ago, said 31% of the HR professional surveyed. Thirty percent of HR professionals said they expect fewer entry-levl jobs in the next three to five years.

“This survey reinforces the importance of having strong and responsive K-12 and postsecondary education systems that provide all students with the knowledge and skills they need to access, and succeed in, their careers of choice,” said Sandy Boyd, Achieve senior VP, strategic initiatives.

“It’s clear that the world has changed and employers are demanding more from their new employees, and applicants, than ever before,” Boyd said. “All students deserve a meaningful and rigorous academic experience that will prepare them for all opportunities in life.”

HR professionals responding to the survey say education and training can correct the job skills mismatch, according to SHRM.

Training includes post-secondary certificate programs, highly job-specific training and employer-sponsored professional development. Education includes training as well as bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees and advanced degrees.

What it means for workers and employers:

Future administrative and secretarial positions will require more education such as an associate’s degree (said 21% of HR professionals) or a post-secondary certificate (said 11%);

For salaried, individual contributors and professionals, future positions will require a bachelor’s degree (said 71% of HR professionals) or an associate’s degree (said 12%).

Skilled laborers such as technicians, mechanics, and foreman will need a specific post-secondary certificate or specific credentials for future jobs (said 31% of HR professionals).

While the many of workers with only a high-school diploma at present are able to advance via lateral moves, said 38% of HR professionals or a one-step promotion, future jobs will require more education or training.

A breakdown of responses from HR professionals by the industry they work in shows that:

The industries most likely to report higher education requirements today compared to 10 years ago include health care (54%); manufacturing (52%); state/local government (48%); and the federal government (46%).

Looking ahead three to five years, the industries predicting that most of their sector’s jobs will require higher education levels include manufacturing (59%); health care (56%); high-tech (51%); state/local government (51%) and professional services (49%).

To read the full survey findings, click:

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