Anyone who has attended an education conference in the last ten years has likely heard the claim that 65 percent of today’s children will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet. The statistic, cited in a popular World Economic Forum report, often emerges in any conversation about education, the economy and the workforce.
The real problem is that there are many existing jobs in our current economy that remain unfilled. Thousands of American students and jobseekers have simply never heard of them, yet alone gained the skills to attain them. These “middle skills” roles often don’t require a college—but do usually offer starting salaries of at least $50,000.
“Middle skills” jobs are estimated to comprise 53 percent of the economy, and the ones that have been hard to fill involve the use of digital tools like Jira, Google Analytics, or Power BI. Businesses of all sizes need people to fill these roles, which can be performed remotely during a pandemic. Burning Glass estimates that there were over 9 million roles posted in 2017 that fit this category, and the number continues to grow.