Key Findings: There will be 740,000 job openings in Washington in the next five years. Most will be filled by workers with postsecondary education or training. Less than a third of Washington students earn a postsecondary credential today.
SEATTLE – October 5, 2016 – There will be 740,000 job openings in Washington state over the next five years with state job growth that will nearly triple the national average, according to a new report from The Boston Consulting Group and the Washington Roundtable. The research finds that the majority of job openings in Washington will be filled by workers who have postsecondary education or training. However, less than a third of Washington students go on to attain a postsecondary credential today.
“There will be a significant number of job openings in Washington state in the next five years,” said Joel Janda, partner and managing director, The Boston Consulting Group. “Strong anchor industries, growth of new technologies and companies, and the effect of baby boomers retiring will combine to offer a large breadth of opportunities for mid and high skilled workers. It is imperative that we educate our students and fill the job openings with Washington kids versus having to import talent from other countries or states.”
According to the research:
- There will be 740,000 job openings in Washington in the next five years. Of these jobs, 430,000 openings will be due to retirements and individuals leaving the workforce or state and 310,000 will be net new openings.
- State job growth is expected to exceed the state’s historic average and be nearly be three times the projected national growth rate.
- Thirty-five percent of projected job openings are classified as “career jobs.” These are higher skill, higher compensation jobs with a salary range of $60,000 to $100,000+. More than nine in 10 workers who fill these positions will have a postsecondary credential (73 percent) or some college (18 percent).
- Forty-five percent of projected job openings are classified as “pathway jobs.” These are jobs that have salaries of $30,000 to $45,000 per year and offer a route to a career job. Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of pathway jobs will be filled by workers who have a postsecondary credential (34 percent) or some college experience (30 percent).
- Twenty percent of projected job openings will be “entry-level.” These jobs provide important opportunities for workers to gain basic employment skills. They have a salary range of $20,000 to $30,000 and offer limited opportunities for upward mobility. Nearly half of these jobs will be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential (20 percent) or some college (24 percent).
“The jobs of the future increasingly will be filled by workers with postsecondary credentials, ranging from industry-specific certificates to two- and four-year degrees,” said Steve Mullin, Washington Roundtable President.
According to the research, only 31 percent of Washington students go on to earn a postsecondary credential today.
Mullin said, “The Washington Roundtable believes that preparing less than a third of our Washington students for the best jobs of the future isn’t good enough. We want more Washington kids prepared for success in their home state. That’s why we have endorsed a new goal for Washington: By 2030, 70 percent of Washington students will go on to earn a postsecondary credential by the age of 26. Reaching this goal will lead to better opportunities for Washington’s young people and better outcomes for our state.”
Impact of raising the postsecondary attainment rate for Washington kids from 31 percent to 70 percent
- For each class of 81,000 students, Washington would create 31,000 new credentialed graduates who will each earn an extra $960,000 over their lifetime.
- Over time, this would reduce unemployment by a third and poverty by almost half – all the while saving billions each year in state social spending.
“Cradle to career” approach
The Roundtable is urging a “cradle to career” approach to raising the postsecondary attainment rate. This includes action in four areas:
- Improve school readiness, with an emphasis on low-income children and traditionally underserved student populations.
- Improve the performance of our K-12 system to ensure more high school students graduate career- and college-ready, with an emphasis on raising achievement among at-risk students and low-performing schools and students.
- Increase participation of Washington students in postsecondary education, with a focus on delivering degrees, certificates and other credentials in fields that will be in the highest demand.
- Help students, beginning in elementary school, develop better awareness of the careers that will be available, inspiring them to think about their futures, the skills necessary for the jobs that interest them and the pathways to attaining those skills.
The full report along with a series of vignettes profiling job opportunities by category is available at waroundtable.com.
For its research analysis, BCG drew from publicly available data, primarily from the Washington State Employment Security Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as hiring forecasts provided by some Washington Roundtable member companies. The Washington Roundtable used data published by the Education Research & Data Center (ERDC) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to determine the postsecondary attainment rate of students who were enrolled in a Washington high school and expected to graduate with the class of 2006. The determination that 31 percent of Washington students attained a postsecondary credential is based on reported credential attainment of those students within seven years of the expected year of high school graduation. Additional detail on methodology is available in the full report.
About the Washington Roundtable
Washington Roundtable is a non-profit, public policy organization composed of senior executives from Washington’s major employers. Since 1983, the Roundtable has worked to create positive change on state policy issues that foster economic growth, generate jobs and improve quality of life for Washingtonians. Learn more at waroundtable.com.
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. A customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries. Learn more at bcg.com.