College & Workforce Readiness

Demand for Jobs That Require High School Diploma Declines

By Caralee J. Adams — November 15, 2011 2 min read
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For all the talk of the value of a college degree, there are decent jobs for those with just a high school diploma. The problem is there are not enough of those jobs to go around, according to a report released yesterday by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The report, Career Clusters: Forecasting Demand for High School Through College Jobs, 2008-2018, produced in collaboration with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education, analyzes 16 career areas and compares educational requirements and pay.

It found that 37 percent of all jobs in 2018 will be for workers who have either some high school education, a high school diploma, or on-the-job training. This number is down from 72 percent in 1973, 44 percent in 1992, and 41 percent in 2007. In other words, the demand for postsecondary education will increase from 59 percent to 63 percent in the next seven years.

Findings show that just one in three high school-level jobs will pay an annual salary of $35,000, and some up to $50,000. These jobs are mainly in four male-dominated career clusters: manufacturing, construction, transportation, and hospitality. Although overall jobs in manufacturing are expected to decline in the next few years, retiring Baby Boomers will create nearly 2 million job openings by 2018, the report projects.

Women don’t fare as well without a degree. The study reveals that women need postsecondary education training to earn the same wages as men with just a high school education. For those who get some postsecondary training, such as a certificate, but not a four-year degree, there are opportunities in middle-skill jobs. These jobs are most typically in health care (the fastest-growing career cluster with middle skills), hospitality (the second-fastest growing cluster) and manufacturing, marketing, transportation, and business.

The most promising financial future is for workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the report found. If you have a four-year degree, five out of six jobs available pay more than $35,000 a year and average $60,000. While a bachelor’s degree offers better accessibility to all high-paying jobs, occupation matters a great deal, the report says. The STEM cluster pays the highest wages overall, an average of $72,000 a year.

For the full report, click here.

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.