‘Good jobs are back’: Study finds high-paying jobs are growing the fastest


A new study found that high-paying jobs have grown the fastest during the economic recovery — and most of the new opportunities have gone to college graduates.

According to a new study released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, nearly 3 million, or 44%, of the jobs added in the U.S. between 2010 and 2014 were high-paying positions — those earning a salary of at least $53,000. During the same period, only about 1.9 million middle-wage jobs ($32,000-$53,000) were added and 1.8 million added were in the low-wage categry (less than $32,000).

Read more: 10 high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree

‘We’re not just creating lousy jobs,’ says Anthony Carnevale, head of the Georgetown center and co-author of the report. ‘It’s more good jobs than bad jobs.’

What makes a job a ‘good job’

The study found that between 2010 and 2014, the U.S. economy created 6.6 million new employment opportunities — and 2.9 million of them were ‘good jobs.’ These jobs pay an income of at least $53,000 a year and often come with good benefits, such as health-care and retirement plans. Occupations in this category include software developers, registered nurses, financial analysts and physicians. One other key finding of the study: 2.8 million of these ‘good jobs’ went to college graduates.

‘Some of the largest growing professions seek high-skilled workers and offer large benefits packages,’ the study says. Most good jobs are full time and twice as likely to provide health insurance and retirement plans. The competitive wages and good benefits of these good jobs offer created a healthy job market during the recovery.’

The study analyzed jobs based on occupation, rather than industry, in order to specifically identify which income category had grown the most.

Read more: Top 10 hot jobs & top 20 best-paying college majors

Just last year, a report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) found that low-wage industries made up 44% of the jobs added in the U.S. between 2010 and 2014. But according to the authors of the Georgetown study, breaking the data down by industry doesn’t paint an accurate picture.

The report says because some so-called ‘low-wage’ industries have high-paying positions, breaking down job growth by industry just doesn’t work. While many jobs within the restaurant, retail and home health care sectors are low-paid, there are also highly-paid chefs, accountants and registered nurses who are employed in these same industries.


Read more: Top 10 jobs in demand right now

So why have high-paying jobs and low-paying jobs grown faster than middle-wage jobs? This could be the result of manufacturing positions being outsourced or replaced by technology. The bottom line is there’s a growing need for skilled workers in a variety of industries.

What it means for you

Clark says you’ve got to morph yourself over time to fit the job market as it changes over time. Many of the high-paying fields with job openings right now require you to go back to school to get more education. But the good news is that there are more and more opportunities for you to earn a high-paying salary.

Read more: Highest paying 2-year degrees


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