We all want to earn more money in our careers. But how do you get there? If you’ve got the skills to become a manager the prospects are good, because management jobs are leading the recovery. In fact, they’re even outpacing STEM positions. The numbers gathered from our tracking of job postings tell the story: From 2007-16, life and physical sciences job postings grew by 191,000. Computer and math added 966,000 openings. For management it was 1.5 million postings.
This growth in management is enabling food service workers to earn more money as they move into management roles. In the food service industry, supervisory skills can mean $10,000 or more per year compared to wait staff positions. Workers with these skills also routinely cross over between the “front” and “back of the house.”
But this pathway into the middle class may be narrowing thanks to phenomenon of “upcredentialing.” Traditionally, the jump from line worker to front-line supervisor was the way people moved up the ladder. Yet our research shows employers increasingly prefer college degrees for supervisory positions that formerly could go to high school graduates. Thus in some ways, supervisory roles are closing off to the middle-skill workers who might otherwise be able to work their way up through the ranks. To earn more money in construction, you would want to be a supervisor. For construction supervisors , 47% of job postings now require a bachelor’s degree – but only 12% of current construction supervisors have one.
In retail, 53% of job posts for supervisors are asking for a bachelor’s degree, but only 25% of those supervisors have one.
The divide is bigger for supervisors in transportation, distribution and storage, where 81% of advertised jobs stipulate a bachelor’s. Only 29% of current supervisors have one.
Any way you slice the data, the numbers show that supervisory skills can still create a path to the middle class and help you earn more money. For middle-skill workers, the challenge may be to take alternative paths—such as boot camps, community college courses, and other short-term training options—to gain those skills and ensure they’re ready to take the next step on the career ladder.