The higher the education and experience level required for a job, the more likely it is that employers will still be hiring for it in the depths of the pandemic.
An analysis of U.S. job postings by Burning Glass Technologies found that there have been larger drops in job postings for roles that require less education or experience.
In the current environment, with social distancing taking a toll on business, job postings are down across the board. Nationally, job postings have fallen 45% between the week of March 2 and the week of April 20.
When examined by requested education level, roles that require a high school diploma (-56%) or a bachelor’s degree (-53%) are down significantly more than those that ask for a master’s degree (-44%) or a doctoral degree (-34%). This is unusual—in normal circumstances there is a bigger divide between high school and bachelor’s degree holders than between bachelor’s and higher degrees. Roughly one-third of Americans hold a college degree, according to the Census Bureau.
Similar results hold true when experience and training are factored in more broadly. The federal government’s O*NET classification of jobs breaks occupations down into five “job zones” based on the experience and training level required. Here too, the higher the level of training, the smaller the decline in job postings.
|Zone||Example jobs||Percentage job posting decline|
|Job Zone 1 - occupations that need little or no preparation||Dishwashers||-56%|
|Counter and Rental Clerks|
|Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers|
|Job Zone 2 - occupations that need some preparation||Customer Service Representatives||-44%|
|Home Health Aides|
|Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks|
|Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers|
|Job Zone 3 - occupations that need medium preparation||Paralegals and Legal Assistants||-48%|
|Chefs and Head Cooks|
|Job Zone 4 - occupations that need considerable preparation||Graphic Designers||-43%|
|Human Resources Managers|
|Job Zone 5 - occupations that need extensive preparation||Nurse Practitioners||-39%|
|Treasurers and Controllers|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists|
There are several potential reasons for the disparity. Many of the jobs that require less training or experience are also in industries that require direct contact with the public and so have been hard hit by social distancing requirements. By contrast, jobs that require more training and education tend to be in roles where people can work remotely, or that are in health care and so are still in demand.
For more analysis of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the job market, visit our COVID-19 page.