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Baby Boomer Retirees Will Help Create 55 Million Jobs by 2020

Retirement Sign

A new Georgetown study finds that once the nation's baby boomers retire, 31 million jobs will open by 2020, and 65 percent of those job vacancies will require some postsecondary education and training.

June 28, 2013 – A Georgetown report released this week predicts that 31 million jobs will open up as baby boomers retire, and another 24 million new jobs will be available by 2020, barring any unforeseen economic or political surprises.

The report by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) also predicts a shortfall of five million workers with postsecondary education and training.

“If the U.S. Congress can deal with budgetary challenges, we are on schedule for recovery,” says center director Anthony P. Carnevale. “But we will still face a major shortage of college-educated workers, especially as baby boomers retire.”

Fastest Growing Jobs

Anthony Carnevale

Anthony P. Carnevale

Four out of five of the fastest growing occupations – health care professionals and technical, STEM, education and community services – will require high levels (80 percent) of people with postsecondary educations. Information technology and government jobs will also require high numbers of college-educated workers, the report notes.

Health care support occupations are the exception, with only 59 percent of jobs requiring some postsecondary education and training, as well as 65 percent of job vacancies in general. The report also notes that the District of Columbia will have the highest concentration of jobs requiring postsecondary education in 2020.

 

Cognitive vs. Physical Skills

“The cognitive skills that will be most in demand for the jobs available in 2020 are leadership, communication, analytics and administration,” Carnevale explains. “Jobs that require more physical skills, which traditionally have been associated with manufacturing, are declining as computers increasingly become a part of nearly everyone's work."

Finally, the report shows which occupations are growing or declining within each state and what level of education state residents need to obtain those jobs in the future.

This includes 32 states and the District of Columbia projected to be at or above the 65 percent proportion of jobs in America that will require postsecondary education beyond high school in 2020.

In a previous report, CEW forecast education demand up to 2018, only 19 states were above the national level.

Other Findings

  • The highest proportion of bachelor’s degree jobs and graduate degree jobs will be concentrated in the Northeast
  • Jobs for workers with some college or an associate’s degree will be dispersed throughout the country
  • Jobs for high school graduates or dropouts will be concentrated in the Southern states

Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020,” comprises an executive summary, a national report card and a state-level analysis.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is an independent, nonprofit research and policy institute that studies the link between individual goals, education and training curricula and career pathways. It is affiliated with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

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