You’re no stranger to recruiting for hard-to-find talent; combing through resumes for that perfect candidate who possesses a strong educational background and the related experience to qualify them for your vacant position. What’s the outlook for some of these in-demand industries? Are economic forecasts looking bright for future graduates?
While the demand for educated labor continues to increase in the U.S., new research1 from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl (EMSI) suggests the supply of qualified candidates may not be keeping up with demand for certain professions. Looking at trends post-recession, nearly 500,000 more degrees were awarded in 2014 than in 2010, an 11 percent increase. However, nearly two-thirds of the new degree completions occurred from 2010-2011, with growth remaining less than one percent in subsequent years. Programs experiencing the greatest declines were heavily concentrated in humanities and social sciences.
This all leads to questions about what that means for filling open jobs in the future—will a lack of critical analysis and language skills affect non-STEM job functions? Will more technical roles introduce soft skills to their curriculum to compete better and prepare graduates for more complex roles in the future?
With data from CareerBuilder and EMSI, let’s take a look at the college degrees with the most growth, greatest decline, those that grew and then fell, as well as degrees that fell but then grew.
College degrees with the most growth
More than half of the top 10 broad programs leading the U.S. in degree completion (2010-2014) were in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
- Science technologies/technicians: 49 percent growth
- Natural resources and conservation: 45 percent growth
- Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies: 44 percent growth
- Multi/interdisciplinary studies: 36 percent growth
- Mathematics and statistics: 35 percent growth
- Public administration and social service professions: 33 percent growth
- Computer and information sciences and support services: 32 percent growth
- Precision production: 30 percent growth
- Homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and related protective services: 27 percent growth
- Engineering: 26 percent growth
College degrees with the greatest decline
From 2010 to 2014, only nine broad program categories experienced decline, nearly all of which were in humanities and social sciences (and closely related to teaching occupations):
- Military technologies and applied science: 30 percent decline
- Library science: 17 percent decline
- Education: 9 percent decline
- History: 8 percent decline
- Construction trades: 6 percent decline
- Philosophy and religious studies: 3 percent decline
- English language and literature/letters: 2 percent decline
- Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics: 2 percent decline
- Architecture and related sciences: 1 percent decline
College degrees that grew and then fell
The following broad program categories increased completions each year between 2010 and 2013 and then experienced a decline in 2014. The numbers below show decline between 2013 and 2014:
- Personal and culinary services: -9,816 change, 6 percent decline
- Legal professions and studies: -3,674 change, 5 percent decline
- Law degrees decreased 7 percent, a drop of more than 3,000
- Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics: -1,653 change, 4 percent decline
College degrees that fell, but then grew
The nation’s top two program categories (by number of completions) both saw brief declines in completions in 2013 but began to recover in 2014:
- Health professions and related programs—which produce the most completions out of all broad program categories—fell from 960,767 to 945,197 in 2013. It grew in 2014 with 946,036 completions.
- High-skill nursing programs are growing rapidly (registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing programs awarded 57,437 more degrees in 2014 than 2010—a 30 percent increase). In contrast, lower-skill nursing programs are declining (practical nursing, vocational nursing and nursing assistant programs awarded 5,519 fewer degrees in 2014 than 2010—a 5 percent decline).
- Business, management, marketing and related support services—which produces the second highest completion count in the nation—fell from 782,399 to 770,127 in 2013. It grew in 2014 with 772,882 completions.
“The market is at a unique inflection point, and we need to make sure that we’re educating workers to have 21st century skills for 21st century jobs,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “While it’s encouraging to see accelerated participation growth in STEM-related college programs, the slowdown in overall degree completions – especially those tied to developing strong communications and critical-thinking skills – is concerning. Nearly half of employers say they currently have job vacancies but can’t find skilled candidates to fill them. We need to do a better job informing students and workers about which fields are in-demand and growing, and provide them with access to affordable education and training, so the journey to a high-skill job is an achievable one regardless of their socioeconomic situation.”
1 Analysis was based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics
Check out http://corporate.careerbuilder.com/workforceanalytics for more information and resources on recruiting the most in-demand talent.