New Tool Matches Your Skills With High-Paying Local Occupations

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If you are feeling stuck in your career, you may have wondered how the skills you’ve acquired can translate to higher-paying employment.

A new online tool makes it so that you don’t have to wonder anymore.

Got Old Skills, but Looking for a New Occupation? Read This

“There’s a new tool that I’ve been enjoying learning how to use,” says money expert Clark Howard. “It’s called the Occupational Mobility Explorer.”  

The tool, part of a joint program that came out of an employment study published by the Federal Reserve banks in Philadelphia and Cleveland, aims to take advantage of a skills-centric approach to occupational mobility.

While “occupational mobility” has not gotten much tread outside of academic and labor circles, the term refers to the ability of workers to advance to higher-paying occupations based on the skills they’ve learned and have come to master. With the growth of occupational mobility, many believe that workers can have long-lasting careers despite the twists and turns of the job market.

The Occupational Mobility Explorer tool does three things that prospective workers could benefit from:

  • Analyzes the 25 most intensive skills that employers request in the 33 largest metro areas with at least 1 million jobs.
  • Finds employment opportunities for workers to transfer their skills from one occupation to a similar one.
  • Shows you occupations that are in the same labor market — but with higher pay.

“Part of the tool is to see which occupations require similar skills to what you’ve already got and you’ll earn at least 10% more in that job than in the job you’re already in,” Clark says.

“This application is designed to make the findings interactive and wholly accessible to those interested in economic mobility,” it says on the tool’s website.

How To Use the Occupational Mobility Explorer

To use the tool go to and click on Occupational Mobility Explorer.

Select “Build Your Path”

Once you’re there, in the horizontal menu, click on the Build Your Path link and select your metro area and origin occupation (the job you have or had).

Occupational Mobility Explorer jobs

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For example, if you have creative skills, perhaps like an illustrator or artist, select “Fine Artists, including Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators.” Once your occupation is shown, it’s time to hit “Start Path,” which matches your skills with other occupations.

Build Your Path on the Occupational Mobility Explorer.

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In the case of our example of a creative, it displayed several comparable occupations, including “Camera Operators, Television, Video and Motion Picture” and “Training and Development Specialists” with a growth rate of 9% and annual median wage of $64,730.

When I scrolled down, I also saw several additional occupations, including “Paralegals and Legal Assistants” with a projected growth rate of 12% – the highest in the category.

If you click “Add to Path,” it shows even more occupations, which all share some common skills.

Various occupations on Occupational Mobility Explorer.

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As you scroll through, you’ll see key information for each occupation category such as:

  • Number of jobs in your metro area
  • Annual median wages
  • Type of occupation 
  • Projected growth rate over the next 10 years

While you could choose to judge your employment prospects only in monetary terms, the projected growth rate might be a good barometer to consider as well. 

Select “Compare Skills”

You can also click on “Compare Skills” to see a bar graph that shows the percentage of job advertisements requesting a particular skill.

Job advertisements in Occupational Mobility Explorer tool.

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Select “View Top Transitions

Finally, you can click on the View Top Transitions tab to see the “origin occupation” and the “destination occupation,” including the median wage for the latter.

Among other criteria, the study defines these transitions as those that start with a lower wage but show results for occupations that pay at least 10% more.

Origin and destination occupations in the Occupational Mobility Explorer tool.

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The study mentioned above indicates that these destination occupations represent viable employment opportunities for workers who may not have a bachelor’s degree or formal training but have the required job skills.

Final Thoughts

Why it doesn’t show you actual jobs, Clark says the Occupational Mobility Explorer can point you in the right direction for gainful employment. This is especially helpful when you don’t see a way out of your current financial situation.

“When I talk to someone who feels like they have a dead-end job and they don’t know what to do next, to have the analytical ability of this tool to say, ‘Hey, did you ever think about this? Have you ever thought about that? What about this other possibility?’ is a good thing,” Clark says. “Because you know what skills you have.”

Now that you’ve seen how the Occupational Mobility Explorer tool works, you have a good idea of how you may be able to move up from one occupation to a higher-paying one — but you still need to find the jobs.

Make sure you take a look at our Work From Home Guide, which features legitimate remote employment opportunities from top companies.