Want a job that promises a living wage and a good shot at a middle-class life? Learn Microsoft Excel and other basic digital skills.
That’s the conclusion of a report released Thursday by Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market analysis firm that reviewed millions of job postings to understand which skills companies expect workers to have. The report focuses on middle-skill jobs – roles that require a high school diploma but not necessarily a college degree.
Some 78% of these jobs, or about 6.3 million open positions, call for some fluency with technology, Burning Glass found. Those positions are also the most promising in terms of pay and job creation, including occupations in healthcare, technology, and operations.
The most commonly required skills are also the most basic ones: spreadsheet and word-processing software such as Microsoft Corp.’s Excel and Word, or the software from SAP SE and Oracle Corp., which large companies use to manage things like finances and human resources. (A worthwhile aside: Planet Money’s deep dive into the history of the spreadsheet.) Such expertise has become critical for office and administrative positions, retail supervisors, and store managers, among others.
Sixty-seven percent of middle-skill jobs demand proficiency with these tools.