Last week, I wrote a blog entry about the relationship between skills and income, based on research is did for the second edition of 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills. Here’s another list from this book, looking at job openings instead of earnings.
In 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills, I simplified the O*NET taxonomy of skills by collapsing skills with highly correlated ratings of occupations. That is, if two skills say almost the exact same thing for the full range of O*NET occupations, I can collapse those two skills. I ended up with only 9 skills and used these throughout the book.
To investigate the skills-openings connection, I started with the 750 SOC occupations for which skills data is available. For the 9 skills that I use in the book, I divided the range of ratings into five equal zones and divided the 750 occupations according to which zone they belong in. (I discuss this process in greater detail in last week’s blog.)
Then I computed the average number of annual job openings projected for the occupations in the two highest zones for each skill, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, I ranked the nine skills by their average number of openings, in descending order. If availability of jobs is important to you, you should think about developing the skills highest on the list.
Bear in mind that figures for job openings don’t tell you how much competition you may expect for those openings. Not many people qualify for jobs that demand very high levels of Mathematics Skills and Science Skills, so even though openings for these jobs are relatively scarce, the jobs may be easier for appropriately educated people to enter than jobs using other skills.
Average Job Openings for Occupations with the Highest Levels of Skill, from Highest to Lowest
Skill Average Annual Job Openings in High-Skill Occupations
1. Social Skills 8,107
2. Management Skills 7,417
3. Technology/Programming Skills 6,418
4. Thought-Processing Skills 6,288
5. Communication Skills 5,707
6. Installation Skills 4,846
7. Mathematics Skills 3,498
8. Equipment Use/Maintenance Skills 3,289
9. Science Skills 2,103