June 12, 2015 by Emsi Burning Glass
The decline of middle-skill jobs is hurting both U.S. competitiveness and the middle class—and business should take the lead in turning that around, according to a new report from Accenture, Emsi Burning Glass, and Harvard Business School.
“Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills,” uses Emsi Burning Glass labor market analytics, along with research from Accenture and the U.S. Competitiveness Project at Harvard, to identify the middle-skills jobs that are crucial for American competitiveness—the first report to do so.
At the heart of the issue is an oft-discussed anomaly: while millions of workers remain unemployed and an unprecedented percentage of the workforce report being underemployed, employers across industries and regions find it hard to fill open positions.
Historically, middle-skills jobs—those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree—served as the springboard into the middle class. Yet many of those occupations are in decline, and wages for others have stagnated.
By examining this problem through the lens of competitiveness, this report shows how the use of information can help both employers and workers. The first, essential step is to differentiate between the vast array of middle-skills jobs in order to concentrate on jobs with three important attributes:
The analysis underscores the need for leaders from business, education, and the political sphere to act in concert to restore growth in America’s middle-skills ranks.