Job outlook is tough for high school grads
Published: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
The government estimates that 63 percent of all new jobs will require a high school degree or less, according to Jordan Weissmann writing for The Atlantic. He says that's the good news. The bad news is the pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its job growth predictions through 2020, when it expects the country to return to full employment. They contain a little hope for the nation's least educated workers, but not much.
According to the BLS, there will be 20.4 million more jobs in 2020 than there were in 2010. About 12.8 million of those jobs will require a high school degree or less. Many of those will be centered in the service industry. We will need more healthcare aides to look after a rapidly aging population. There will be more work in food preparation, retail and office administration.
McDonald's will have to hire more workers for its kitchens. J. Crew will need more people helping customers in their retail stores. Nursing homes will be looking for more people willing and able to watch after 80-year-olds.These are all necessary jobs, writes Weissmann. But, as far as careers go, they offer limited prospects.
The average annual wages for jobs that don't require a college degree prove to be quite interesting. Topping the list is $62,000 for a good salesman for a wholesaler. An administrative support supervisor earns more than $50,000 a year. A carpenter makes $43,000 annually. These are just a few of the solid middle-class jobs that pay fairly well.
At the other end of the pay scale are retail sales people who average about $24,000 a year, home health aides who make $21,000, personal care aides at $20,000 and food workers, including fast food, who make about $19,000 a year. Some of these jobs may not be around at all in 2020. Computers could take over more work handled now by low-level office workers or receptionists. Online shopping could take a big chunk out of retail storefront sales.
Unless a high school graduate pursues a trade school, like plumbing, masonry, electrical, automotive or welding, he or she should consider some kind of higher education. This could be a junior college or a four-year degree university. With the jobless rate hovering at just below 8 percent, consider this. Someone with only a high school diploma is twice as likely to be without a job as someone who has a bachelor's degree.
The military is a great option for those high school graduates who are not sure what course of action they should take. Various branches of the military offer to pay some expenses for veterans pursuing a college education during or after their designated years in the National Guard or on active duty.
We know that not everyone is cut out to be a college student. There are countless success stories of high school graduates working for someone in the trades, and then going out on their own to start their own successful businesses. That is the American entrepreneurial way.
We wish our recent high school graduates the best of luck as they pursue their dreams.
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