Middle Skill Jobs
Last week, I wrote in my post Can Disruptive Technologies Disrupt Your Career about technology changes that could eliminate or disrupt careers. These jobs will primarily fall in the middle skill jobs category.
As was written in the DallasFed Economic Newsletter by Anton Cheremukhin:
Employment in the United States is becoming increasingly polarized, growing ever more concentrated in the highest- and lowest-paying occupations and creating growing income inequality. The causes and consequences of this trend are often considered in the context of what has been a relatively “jobless” recovery from the Great Recession.
A classic example of the elimination of middle skill jobs can be seen in just about every airport.
Fifteen years ago, if you walked into an airport, you would be holding a paper ticket. There were gate agents who would check you in at the departure section of the airport.
Today, there are kiosks where you check yourself in. The issuance of boarding passes is completely automated. In fact, most of you check in before you leave your home or hotel.
Thousands of middle skill jobs have been eliminated.
Liberal Art Education
At one time, a liberal arts education would, at the very least, land you into many middle skill jobs. That is no longer true.
I am working with multiple clients who attained liberal arts educations at prestigious universities. Many ended up in administrative positions. They proved their worth by making processes work within their corporations. This might be in areas like Human Resources, IT, or Manufacturing.
They made things “just happen” in a human-centric process world, then, their jobs were automated. A common job title that has been nearly eliminated is Administrative Assistant.
Today, just about any process-driven task can be automated and then outsourced to any place in the world.
Why did this happen to them? They had really good soft skills, but soft skills can be easily eliminated in a hard skills environment. Their liberal arts education that led to middle skill jobs could easily be eliminated.
What to do?
Can your job be automated?
Get serious! Even customer-facing service jobs are being automated.
Should you go back to school?
I recently wrote the post College Degree After 50 – Worth It where I asked whether going back to college made sense. My conclusion is that, unless the education is highly targeted towards a specific skill that is highly desired, it does not make financial sense.
It may make sense from a personal development perspective, but financially—NO.
Should you get training and certification in a highly desirable skill?
YES, but do your research first.
Middle skill jobs have been eliminated during every recession in the last century. That is not going to change!
Are you working in a middle skill job?Marc Miller
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