Skilled Beyond Degree

Published on Nov 3, 2021

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Clare Coffey

Skilled Beyond Degree

Jobs in the Manufacturing and Construction industries fill some of the most fundamental needs in the economy, and employ millions of people. Skilled Beyond Degree: How Experience is Outpacing Education in Construction and Manufacturing Hiring, a new Emsi Burning Glass report in partnership with Autodesk, finds that these jobs are changing in important ways.  There’s less emphasis on formal education and more on certifications, while demand for key business and data skills is high. Below, we’ll dive into a few key findings.


Demand For Management Roles Is High

While for manufacturing, the most posted-for occupation is production worker, for construction, it’s project manager. 

In fact, management positions are in high demand all around. Project Manager and IT project manager are the second and third most sought after occupations respectively within Construction. In manufacturing, Project Manager and IT Project Manager take fourth and fifth place.

There’s good news for workers who can fill these roles: they command high salaries: the Project Manager role mentioned above pays an average of $84,360 per year, while the more specialized IT Project Manager pays an average $103,546. 

Educational Barriers Are Dropping

And in even more good news, workers may not necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to take advantage of these high average salaries. The share of job postings that don’t specify any particular educational requirement has been growing since 2016. Currently, 40.3% of Construction posts did not call for any particular education level, along with 38.0% of Manufacturing posts. 

Certifications may be taking on some of the role of four-year educational credentials. Project Management Certification and Project Management Professional (PMP) are the most in-demand certifications for both Construction and Manufacturing. 

Project Management Is the Top Specialized Skill For Both Construction and Manufacturing

For the purpose of this report, we grouped skills into two broad categories: specialized and software. For specialized skills, Project Management was the most requested in postings across both industries. In Construction, 34.9% of all postings call for Project Management, as do 17% of Manufacturing posts.

Among software skills, MS Office Suite was the leader, appearing in 30.6% of posts in Construction and 22% in Manufacturing. Software Development appears in the top five software skills for both industries, while Scrum makes the top five only in Construction, and SQL only in Manufacturing. 

Tech Skills Have High Projected Growth

Over the next five years, the skills projected to grow the most are significantly more advanced than MS Office Suite. Dev OPs is projected to grow by 122% in each industry, while Amazon Web Services is expected to grow by 100%. Notably, only Construction is projected to see a human skill in the top five, with Servant Leadership projected to grow by 93%/

That’s just a sampling of the full report, which also includes strategies on re-training workers at risk of automation, a look at Construction and Manufacturing in the U.K. and Germany, and more. You can read Skilled Beyond Degree in full here.