Where are the grads to fill these in-demand jobs?

College-degrees

A new analysis of college degree completions vs. job demand shows that the next generation of workers won’t be able to close the skills gap.

College students in search of a major, take note: New research from CareerBuilder and Emsi reveals there are certain degree programs that aren't producing enough graduates to keep up with labor market demand. Translation? Earning a degree from one of these programs means you'll be in high demand once you enter the workforce.

The programs highlighted in the study are undersupplying workers for occupations that already see big gaps between the number of jobs posted and the number of hires companies make each month. For example, 157,591 people graduated with degrees in computer and information sciences in 2014. On average, from January 2015 to January 2016, 689,685 computer and information technology jobs were posted each month in the U.S. However, the average number of hires was only 209,035 – leaving a gap of 480,650 positions.

Which fields are affected?
It's no surprise that STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering and math) are feeling the impact of a low supply of graduates. What is surprising, perhaps, are the other fields dealing with this issue, including human resources management, economics, legal assistants/paralegals and graphic design.

Check out the below chart for more details:

Program

2014 postsecondary completions

Avg. monthly job postings (Jan. 2015-Jan. 2016)

Avg. monthly hires (Jan. 2015-Jan. 2016)

Gap between postings and hires

Projected job growth (2015-2020)

No. of associated jobs (2015)

Computer and information sciences

157,591

689,685

209,035

480,650

8.6%

4,691,330

Registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing

248,627

346,061

103,177

242,884

9.0%

2,956,717

Pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and administration

18,287

54,307

16,655

37,652

7.2%

402,295

Human resources management and services

26,480

86,903

65,167

21,736

5.2%

1,066,144

Electrical and electronics engineering

26,367

29,224

10,265

18,959

3.0%

317,576

Mechanical engineering

32,429

26,032

9,819

16,213

3.1%

278,995

Biology, general

85,014

19,122

5,142

13,980

6.8%

148,902

Health information/medical records technology/technician

11,622

21,503

7,599

13,904

9.6%

195,120

Legal assistant/paralegal

16,309

21,313

10,361

10,952

8.0%

276,741

Economics

40,103

36,185

25,602

10,583

14.4%

519,427

Civil engineering

19,690

15,436

12,379

3,057

9.0%

275,057

Graphic design

11,819

14,886

12,536

2,350

2.2%

240,083

How can this problem be solved?
So, what has caused this skills gap (read: not having enough skilled workers to fill open jobs)? Employers think it's in large part due to a lack of information: 47 percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder believe the skills gap is an information gap — meaning people are not aware of the jobs that are available and growing.

This is further backed up by the fact that nearly 1 in 4 high school seniors have no idea what career they want to pursue, according to CareerBuilder research. Of high school seniors who have pinpointed a desired profession, 23 percent say they made their career choice based on something they saw on TV or in a movie.

That's why more resources need to be available to help students determine their career path. One such resource is FindYourCalling.com, a new website that puts data science and helpful insights behind choosing careers. Sites like these are crucial in helping students discover what they're passionate about, as well as become informed about what fields are growing and where they'll find the most opportunity post-graduation.