Jobs are back, but not the same jobs

Nearly all the jobs created since the Great Recession have gone to workers with some college education, according to America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

Divided Recovery Infographics

Managerial and professional workers are doing well. Workers with a high school diploma or less, such as clerical and blue-collar workers, are struggling to find work.

Production industries, such as manufacturing, construction and natural resources, employed nearly half of the workforce in 1947; that’s fallen to 19 percent in 2016.

Now, nearly half the workforce is in healthcare, business, financial, education and government services, which primarily employ managerial and professional workers with college degrees.

In 2016, for the first time, workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher are a larger proportion of the workforce (36 percent) than those with a high school diploma or less (34 percent), the report noted. Thirty percent are “middle-skill” workers with more than a high school diploma — often a vocational certificate — but less than a bachelor’s degree.

Explaining why a Texas gas station chain pays workers well while competitors do not, Kevin D. Williamson includes a fun fact: “The median salary for a women’s-studies professor is more than a hundred grand a year. The average hourly earnings for a graduate with a women’s-studies degree? Eleven bucks an hour, well less than you’d make working the car wash at Buc-ee’s.”

Unwanted: In automated future, who needs skills?

If most jobs are automated, what skills will people need? wonders Marc Tucker. Who will be educated and how?

Some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are proposing a guaranteed basic income — everyone gets a check, regardless of need — to deal with the consequences of automation. Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, is funding a trial of the idea.

Matt Krisloff, the manager of the project, sees a day when “95 percent— or a vast majority — of people won’t be able to contribute to the workforce.”

Since the Great Recession, most of the job growth has been among knowledge workers, writes Tucker. Workers doing routine tasks may not have a future.

Raising the minimum wage for low-skilled jobs will encourage employers to replace workers with technology. Self-driving cars, trucks and trains could put millions out of work.

Those on this new dole will have time “to think deep thoughts about protecting the environment,” as one advocate suggests. They can write poetry, create art, grow vegetables or . . . play video games.

If there are a few challenging jobs for the highly educated, and the dole for everyone else, educators would have to decide who’s worth educating, Tucker writes.

There’d be plenty of recess, music, art and sports for those destined for the dole.

Would teaching be automated? I think content delivery might be, but there will be a need for humans to interact with humans. I hope.

On Sunday, Swiss voters soundly rejected a guaranteed income proposal, reports Business Insider. “Supporters had said introducing a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,563) per adult and 625 francs per child under 18 would promote human dignity and public service. Opponents, including the government, said it would cost too much and weaken the economy.”

A dream job? Wake up

Don’t follow your passion, advises Mike Rowe in PragerU’s commencement address. Find a way to make a living — don’t expect a “dream job” –and get good at it.

“Year after year, thousands of aspiring American Idols show up with great expectations, only to learn that they don’t possess the skills they thought they did,” says Rowe. “What’s really amazing though, is not their lack of talent—the world is full of people who can’t sing. It’s their genuine shock at being rejected—the incredible realization that their passion and their ability had nothing to do with each other.”

How Busy Town will keep busy

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Could a robot do your job?

Could a robot do your job? asks USA Today. If it’s routine and repetitive, then, yes.

Driverless cars, trucks and trains could replace 7 percent of the workforce. Robots are likely to replace tractor-trailer drivers, train engineers, garbage collectors, taxi drivers and bus drivers, predicts an Oxford study.

Some personal care jobs could be automated.

Carnegie-Mellon is teaching HERB, the “Home-Exploring Robot Butler,” to retrieve and deliver objects, prepare simple meals and empty a grocery bag.

At a Silicon Valley hotel, “Botlr”  delivers items such as extra towels and toothbrushes to guests upon request. “Not much larger than a child and with a black bow-tie, Botlr navigates the hotel on its own but will send an alert if it encounters an obstacle.”

Hospitals are also using robots to deliver lab specimens, linens, food trays, hazardous waste and other materials, jobs that are currently done by orderlies, nurse assistants, nurses and lab technicians.

A virus-killing robot, the Xenex, is being used in hospitals to disinfect rooms. The robot — which has gotten a lot of attention due to the Ebola crisis — uses sensors to determine room size, a factor in how long to deliver the lethal ultraviolet rays needed to disinfect the room.

Fast-food restaurants haven’t invested in robots because worker pay is so low. However, as technology costs fall and the minimum wage rises, food-service companies are adopting “tablets for ordering and computerized systems for kitchens and inventory,” according to Darren Tristano, a restaurant industry consultant.

The jobs that are at low risk of automation tend to require creative intelligence, negotiation, persuasion, perception, creativity or care.

That’s why engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, Web developers, artists, lawyers, business executives, nurses and doctors are among the safest jobs.

Still, USA Today predicts 8 percent of high-skill jobs, 46 percent of middle-skill jobs and 70 percent of low-skill jobs will be automated in the next 20 years.

College is the new high school

A college degree is becoming the new high school diploma, the minimum credential required to get even the most basic, entry-level job. Thanks to “upcredentialing,” it takes a BA to get a job as a file clerk.

Four-year college graduates in the lowest earning quartile don’t make much more than high school-only workers.

CC, for-profit grads compete equally for jobs

Job seekers are as attractive to employers with a for-profit certificate or degree as with a community college credential, concludes a new study, which sent fictitious resumes to employers. Community colleges charge a lot less, the researchers pointed out.

Applicants with “some college” did little better than those with just a high school diploma.

Grads are too optimistic about jobs

The class of 2014 is overly optimistic about their job prospects. Only 18 percent of 2014 graduates expect to earn $25,000 or less, but more than 41 percent of 2012 and 2013 graduates are earning salaries in that range

Duncan twists truth to hit for-profit colleges

Seventy-two percent of for-profit colleges’ career programs “produce graduates who on average earned less than high school dropouts,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a White House news conference. That earned
two “Pinocchios” for lying from the Washington Post’s fact-checker. Essentially, Duncan compares apples to oranges — with a few lemons thrown in — to make for-profit colleges look bad.

Here’s why career-minded students choose for-profit colleges over much cheaper community colleges.

How college admissions really works

A Princeton video shows how high school students imagine the college admissions process, while The Onion explains how college admissions really works.

At step 1, “admissions officers immediately reject all applicants who have the same first name as anyone they don’t like.”

Step 7: The final decision is made as to who is admitted and who needed just one more extracurricular.

Step 8: Once an applicant is rejected, admissions officers call all other universities and warn them against accepting him or her.

The Onion also looks at what happens four years later in College senior plans 14-month job search.

. . . Ohio University senior Kyle Huber confirmed to reporters Monday that he already has an excruciating 14-month employment search lined up and waiting for him when he graduates this spring.

The marketing major plans to “move to a city where he’ll live with five roommates in a small apartment while hopelessly chasing down leads on unappealing dead-end positions he isn’t qualified for anyway.”

He has “arranged to meet with disinterested alumni from his school working in barely relevant fields, friends’ parents who hardly know him, and career counselors who will probably just direct him toward unpaid internships that, after having applied, he will frustratingly learn are only open to those still attending college.”