Don’t hope for too many job offers with skills that would have made you attractive to an employer ten years ago. A new study by the well-known Pew Research Center shows that employers value hands-on labor skills less and less, while prospects are growing for those with more subtle intellectual skills and technical knowledge.
Since 1980, the study said, jobs that focus mainly on social skills like communication and management have grown dramatically. Demand has also grown for people with analytical skills and – this one is no surprise – computer skills.
In a political season when many are bemoaning the loss of American middle-class jobs, Pew reports that employment in jobs that require a hybrid of social and analytical skills has actually grown 94% in the past 35 years.
But jobs requiring physical skills like machinery operation, electronic equipment repair or pure physical labor have stagnated for decades (one reason appears to be the outsourcing of some of these jobs abroad).
Women’s Earnings Rise
The emphasis on mental rather than physical skills has, apparently, helped women close a long-standing wage gap with men. Men still earn more on average, but women now earn almost 80% of what man are paid, compared with 61% back in 1960.