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Report examines Boston jobs

Posted on March 29, 2019

A new report is taking a look at Boston jobs.

The report, Untapped: Redefining Hiring in the New Economy, was commissioned by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) as part of ongoing efforts to improve job outcomes for non-college educated workers, who are disproportionately immigrants and people of color. 

“Boston is fortunate to have both a highly educated workforce and many hard-working people who are eager to develop and share their skills,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We cannot allow a bachelor’s degree to become the fault line between the prosperous and the struggling. My administration will be working together with local employers, community colleges, and job training programs to enact proposals that ensure all workers can contribute to our economy.” 

While nearly 60 percent of Boston residents hold a bachelor’s degree, the city’s historically low 3.4 percent unemployment rate has left employers in need of more skilled workers to meet job demand.In the report, researchers from Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional

Policy analyzed online job posting data for greater Boston compiled by Burning Glass Technologies. Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Director of the Dukakis Center, led the research. “This report is one of the first to use new sources of online data to compare the actual skill sets that workers list on their resumes to what employers list when advertising a job – going beyond just the education or experience requirements,” said Modestino.

The study found the following:

  • A growing number of non-BA workers are pursuing certificates or associate degrees, but not in high-paying fields such as information technology or engineering
  • Associate degree holders are equipped to fill some occupations that have been upskilled to require a BA, such as computer-related jobs, life science technicians, sales and related workers, and administrative assistants
  • A high degree of overlap is found between non-BA and BA workers when it comes to certain baseline skills – such as organizational, problem solving, and multitasking skills
  • The biggest skills gaps between non-BA and BA workers are seen in computer literacy and software skills

“Not all residents may have equal opportunity to afford the investment of time and money that a bachelor’s degree requires,” said OWD Director Trinh Nguyen. “But their skills can still be optimized for employers’ needs. Our office is hard at work enacting Mayor Walsh’s vision of a more equitable Boston by cultivating more public-private partnerships, ensuring employers have a diverse and competitive workforce, and developing more apprenticeships, industry-specific job training, and expanded tuition-free community college.”