Evolution of jobs highlights appetite for advanced skills

Posted by Shankar Mishra

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November 8, 2013

TheLadders study on job evolution reveals STEM is in; middle-management is phasing out.

Since the start of the recession in 2007-08, the rate of job growth has been a hot topic, specifically focusing on the sheer volume of jobs created and the quality of jobs available in the U.S. We have all heard about a possible decline in the manufacturing industry and the desire for lawmakers to push for deeper educational qualifications and broader skills in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). At TheLadders, we have been observing the evolution of professional jobs, not only from a volume perspective, but also qualitatively, based on industry, skills, etc. In the last five years alone, based on the words and phrases that people are using to search for jobs, and the kinds of jobs employers are posting, some interesting trends are emerging.

TheLadders Evolution of JobsFirst off, from an industry perspective, the technology industry has the largest share of growing jobs. Services come next, which are largely made up of analytical and consulting services. Now, let’s go a little deeper to find out the kind of jobs that contribute to this growth. As we reviewed growing job titles, the first thing we noticed was the keywords “developer” and “analyst”. Within our analysis of more than 600 job titles, four of the top 10 job titles included the keyword “developer” in them (iOS Developer, UI Developer, Android Developer, and Business Intelligence Developer). In the past year, each of these job titles was posted at least 15 times more often than they were five years ago. In fact, iOS Developer and Android Developer were nearly unheard of five years ago. The other job title that has grown exponentially, from almost non-existence five years ago, is “Data Scientist”. While different types of analyst jobs (Web Analyst, Financial Analyst, etc.) saw sizeable growth, “Data Scientist” is the fastest-growing title in the analytics field. 

Next came the question – which jobs seem to have slowed down? After reviewing keywords within declining job titles, we found that middle-management jobs – titles including the word “manager” or “director” – were rapidly decreasing in relative popularity. While the volume of mid-management jobs has grown, the rate of growth has lagged far behind the average growth rate of all jobs. In fact, titles containing the word “manager” are 25% lower, and titles containing “director” are 50% lower, than the national average growth rate. What’s more, as we look at the top 10% of growing jobs, very little (less than 2%) of these titles contain “manager” or “director.”

This phenomenon has not affected the underlying distribution of compensation. Lower volume of manager- or director-level jobs does not imply a lower median compensation. The compensation structure remains consistent with software development and analytics jobs commanding a higher compensation. This seems to be the beginning of a trend, where one doesn’t have to be on a management track in order to become a high earner. The market is putting more emphasis on specific skills, such as iOS/Android development and data science, due to their high demand today.

Job Growth Map USA TheLaddersAs this evolution of job types got underway, the growth of these jobs has benefited certain cities more than others. New York City has the biggest share of this growth, thanks to the Silicon Alley of technology companies, followed by the San Francisco/San Jose area. Two other cities that have gotten a relatively larger share are Washington, D.C., and Dallas-Ft. Worth, slowly establishing themselves as noticeable hubs for technology jobs. The map highlights the country’s 25 cities with the highest share of growing jobs.

The focus on the digital space is consistently increasing and, along with it, comes the need for the right skills to operate within the ever-evolving digital domain. With so many of today’s growing jobs geared towards building new technologies and understanding big data, all the talk about pushing STEM education certainly seems validated.

Shankar Mishra TheLadders VP of Data Science and AnalyticsShankar Mishra is the Vice President of Data Science and Analytics at TheLadders. When he is not working to find a simpler solution to difficult problems, he is brainstorming ways to leverage available data to tell a good story. Some of this brainstorming may very well take place on a golf course with three strangers in his foursome.

Topics: TheLadders Insights