Emsi Data Helps Chart Career Pathways to High-Wage Jobs

Published on Aug 19, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

Emsi Data Helps Chart Career Pathways to High-Wage Jobs

How can we help low-wage workers find career pathways to high-wage jobs? That’s the problem McKinsey & Company is trying to solve. And they recently used Emsi data to get a head start.

The whopping majority of job postings for higher-wage, in-demand jobs require a college education. Yet this requirement automatically weeds out the more than 70 million American workers who have a high school diploma but no bachelor’s degree. To make matters even worse, it is these very workers who have also lost the most jobs due to the COVID shutdown and are likely to lose even more as automation steals their work.

So, using Emsi data on profiles and job postings (as well as data from other sources), McKinsey recently mapped the actual career pathways people have taken as they move from declining, low-wage jobs to more resilient, middle/higher-wage jobs. McKinsey studied the pathways of workers without a BA within three critical sectors: technology, healthcare, and business management. McKinsey then charted two key transitions made by these workers:

    • The transition from low-wage origin jobs to middle-wage gateway jobs

    • The transition from middle-wage gateway jobs to higher-wage destination jobs

Knowing this information about ultimate destination jobs (and how to get there) can be especially helpful for the millions of Americans who don’t have a college degree and are on the hunt for better careers.



To fill 27M high-wage destination jobs, we need to focus on skills

McKinsey made fascinating discoveries while marking these career pathways to high-wage jobs. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Over the next five years, employers will need to fill a tremendous 27 million destination jobs within these three sectors (technology, healthcare, and business management).

  • To fill these jobs, businesses will need hire folks with the right skills, not the “right” degree.

  • These destination jobs have withstood the risks of both automation and COVID-19, making them excellent goals for any jobseeker in 2020.

  • These jobs’ median annual salary is $65K and they are accessible to skilled workers without a bachelor’s degree.

Destination jobs include logisticians, financial analysts, and marketing managers

Destination jobs include positions such as:

  • General and operations managers

  • Radiologic technologists

  • Financial analysts

  • Marketing managers

  • Logisticians

To reach a destination job, use a gateway job

The key to reaching those destination positions, McKinsey discovered, is frequently gateway jobs. Gateway jobs act as stepping stones between low-wage origin jobs and higher-wage destination jobs, and they include popular positions like:

  • Retail salesperson

  • Customer service rep

  • Administrative assistant

  • Bookkeeping clerks

  • Construction carpenters

Read the full article by McKinsey.


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