# Choosing a Career: A Look at Employment Statistics. Student Activities: Choosing a Career: A Look at Employment Statistics

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1 Lynda R. Wiest College of Education University of Nevada, Reno October 2002 Choosing a Career: A Look at Employment Statistics Suggested Grade Levels: 7 and up Possible Subject Area(s): Occupational Education; Social Studies Math Skills: reading, interpreting, and graphing data (including exploration of patterns and relationships); expressing and calculating percents; contrasting mean and median (optional); exploring the concept of quartiles (optional) Overview: Students will explore a variety of employment statistics, in particular, those related to fastest-growing, highest-paying, and nontraditional occupations. They will also examine some statistics by workers age, educational attainment, and sex. Student Activities: Choosing a Career: A Look at Employment Statistics I. Use the employment statistics in the table that follows to answer the questions in this section. 1. Examine general patterns and relationships by answering the following questions. A. What general occupational categories seem to appear most frequently? B. Does pay for these occupations seem to be upper-, middle-, or lower-range? (It may help to look at the information in the Section II #4 table.) C. Does a relationship seem to exist between education and pay levels? D. Are there any other observations you can make? 2. Answer the following questions related to percent increase from 2000 to A. In 2000, how many people were employed in the occupation computer software engineers, applications? B. How many are projected to work in that occupation in 2010? C. What is this increase as a number? D. What is this increase as a percent? E. What is the anticipated percent increase for pharmacy technicians from 2000 to 2010?

2 2 Occupation 30 Fastest-Growing U.S. Occupations, (Employment Numbers in Thousands of Jobs) Employment Mean Annual Wages Education Required Computer software engineers, applications \$70,300 Bachelor s degree Computer support specialists \$39,680 Associate degree Computer software engineers, systems software \$70,890 Bachelor s degree Network and computer systems administrators \$53,690 Bachelor s degree Network systems and data communications analysts \$57,890 Bachelor s degree Desktop publishers \$32,700 Postsecondary vocational award Database administrators \$55,810 Bachelor s degree Personal and home care aides \$15,960 Short-term on-the-job Computer systems analysts \$61,210 Bachelor s degree Medical assistants \$23,840 Moderate-term on-the-job Social and human service assistants \$23,840 Moderate-term on-the-job Physician assistants \$60,680 Bachelor s degree Medical records and health information technicians \$24,430 Associate degree Computer and information systems managers \$80,250 Bachelor s or higher degree, plus work experience Home health aides \$18,110 Short-term on-the-job Physical therapist aides \$20,930 Short-term on-the-job Occupational therapist aides 9 12 \$23,330 Short-term on-the-job Physical therapist assistants \$34,370 Associate degree Audiologists \$47,670 Master s degree Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors \$28,750 Postsecondary vocational award Computer and information scientists, research \$73,430 Doctoral degree Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers \$17,790 Short-term on-the-job Occupational therapist assistants \$34,860 Associate degree Veterinary technologists and technicians \$22,730 Associate degree Speech-language pathologists \$48,480 Master s degree Mental health and substance abuse social workers \$32,240 Master s degree Dental assistants \$26,740 Moderate-term on-the-job Dental hygienists \$51,980 Associate degree Teachers, special education, elementary, kindergarten, preschool (pre-k) \$42,000/ pre-k \$20,000 Bachelor s degree Pharmacy technicians \$21,600 Moderate-term on-the-job Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Notes: Fastest-growing occupation is listed first; other occupations follow in descending order. Figure for teachers is estimate based on range of about \$40,000-\$44,000 for different types of teachers listed (kindergarten teachers on lower, elementary in middle, and special education on upper end of range).

3 3 3. Suppose you were a guidance counselor at your school. Tell what occupations you might suggest to the following students, who want fast-growing occupations to have a better chance of getting a job: A. Bryan wants a health-related career that does not require earning a degree or award. B. Jennifer wants a high-paying, technology-related career that does not require higher than a bachelor s degree. C. Kari is mainly interested in a career that involves working with people, and she would like to earn at least a master s degree. II. In this section, you will explore employment statistics for various categories of workers. 1. Base your answers to the following questions on the table below, which shows workers weekly earnings by age, educational attainment, and sex. A. Make a line graph of weekly earnings (total for both sexes) across the seven age categories. Explain what the graph shows. (Instead of a single line graph, you may choose to create a double line graph of women s and men s earnings or a triple line graph that includes data for both sexes combined, women, and men.) B. Express women s earnings as a percent of men s for ages 16 and over and for ages 25 and over. Does the gap widen or narrow after age 25? C. Express women s earnings as a percent of men s for each of the seven age categories beginning with 16 to 19 years. Make a line graph of this data and describe what it shows. D. Is there a relationship between education and earning levels? Explain Median Weekly Earnings by Age, Educational Attainment, and Sex (Full-Time Workers) Characteristic Weekly Earnings, Both Sexes (\$) Weekly Earnings, Women (\$) Weekly Earnings, Men (\$) AGE Total, 16 years and over Total, 25 years and over to 19 years to 24 years to 34 years to 44 years to 54 years to 64 years years and over EDUCATION (age 25 and over) Less than a high school diploma High school graduate, no college Some college or associate degree College graduates, total Source: Highlights of Women s Earnings in 2000, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Female management analysts earn \$819 weekly and male management analysts earn \$1,340. Female computer systems analysts and scientists earn \$922 weekly and males in the same

4 4 position earn \$1,065. What percent of men s salaries do women earn in each of these occupations? 3. Answer the following questions using the table of women s top ten occupations below. A. What types of occupations do women tend to have? B. What percent do women make up of all employed workers? C. What percent of sales supervisors and proprietors are women? D. Which occupation has the highest percent women? Name the percent. E. Compare women s leading occupations to the fastest-growing occupations shown in the Section I table. Do women s occupations tend to be among the fastest-growing? Top 10 Occupations of Employed Women (2001 Annual Average in Thousands) Occupations Total Employed Workers Total Employed Women All occupations, 16 years and 135,073 62,992 over Managers and administrators 8,018 2,486 Secretaries 2,404 2,366 Cashiers 2,974 2,288 Registered nurses 2,162 2,013 Sales supervisors and proprietors 4,836 1,990 Nursing aides, orderlies, and 2,081 1,874 attendants Elementary school teachers 2,216 1,828 Bookkeepers, accounting, and 1,621 1,506 auditing clerks Waiters and waitresses 1,347 1,029 Sales workers, retail and personal 2,311 1,023 services Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Women s Bureau ( 4. The table that follows shows the highest-paying job categories (of the 22 Standard Occupational Classification categories). Do women s main occupations seem to be among them? [The other categories not shown include: Installation, Maintenance, and Repair (\$33,760); Community and Social Services (\$32,910); Protective Service (\$30,780); Sales and Related (\$27,990); Production (\$26,450); Office and Administrative Support (\$26,300); Transportation and Material Moving (\$25,630); Healthcare Support (\$21,040); Personal Care and Service (\$20,510); Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance (\$19,570); Farming, Fishing, and Forestry (\$18,860); Food Preparation and Serving (\$16,070).]

5 5 Highest-Paying Job Categories (2000) Mean Occupational Group Annual Wage Legal \$68,930 Management \$68,190 Computer and Mathematical \$58,050 Architecture and Engineering \$54,060 Business and Financial Operations \$48,470 Healthcare Practitioners and Technical \$47,990 Life, Physical, and Social Science \$47,790 Art, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media \$38,640 Education, Training, and Library \$37,900 Construction and Extraction \$34,440 Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ( 1. If either women or men make up 25% or less of all workers in an occupation, that occupation is considered to be nontraditional for that sex. Use the table below for the following questions. A. Tell which occupations are nontraditional for women and which are nontraditional for men. Explain how you found your answers. B. How can you make reasonable estimates for identifying nontraditional occupations before confirming them with a calculator? Number of Workers in Selected Occupations (2000) (to the nearest thousand) Occupations Women Men Airplane pilots and navigators 3,000 95,000 Bakers 45,000 79,000 Bank tellers 275,000 27,000 Bus drivers 148, ,000 Civil engineers 29, ,000 Computer programmers 163, ,000 Dental assistants 132,000 5,000 Dietitians 69,000 10,000 Farm workers 81, ,000 Hotel clerks 73,000 25,000 Lawyers 165, ,000 Real estate sales 204, ,000 Social workers 523, ,000 Teachers, secondary school 653, ,000 Waiters and waitresses 411, ,000 Source: Highlights of Women s Earnings in 2000, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2001

7 7 to use as a point of comparison. Averages (means) used for this site are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Answers to Problems and Questions I. Fastest-Growing Occupations 1. A. Computer-related and health-related occupations. B. Although there is a mix, these occupations seem slightly more weighted toward lowerpaying professions. Twelve of the 30, for example, have an average annual wage less than \$30,000 (excluding preschool teachers), and most of these are less than \$25,000. On a related note, all workers are not, of course, distributed evenly across occupations. Quartile rankings of Occupational Employment Statistics, for example, place the top fourth of workers (pay-wise) at an annual earnings of about \$40,000 and over and the lowest fourth at about \$18,500 and under. These earnings rankings only reflect proportional distribution of workers rather than which occupations regardless of the number of workers in them may be considered high- or low-paying. C. In general, yes. Some noted exceptions include dental hygienists, computer and information systems managers, and the three occupations requiring master s degrees. (Rearrangement of the table as follows ordered by education level allows better exploration of pay-education relationships.) It is important to note, however, that these selected occupations cannot be considered representative of all occupations, and that the data are too limited in number to make reliable claims (acutely so for the four occupations requiring higher than a bachelor s degree). The table in Section II #1D shows earnings by educational attainment. Because these data are comprehensive (they include all occupations), they may be considered to be conclusive in a generalized sense. D. Students may make comments on other data or relationships in the table. (Answers will vary.) 2. A. 380,000 people. (Numbers represent thousands.) B. 760,000 people. C. 380,000 D. 100% E. 36% 3. Refer to the rearranged table below to see the answers to these questions more easily. Students may say for any of these that they would explore the person s interests more fully to help make a match from among several options they name. A. Most of the occupations requiring no more than on-the-job are health-related. Students might say they would suggest the highest-paying of these, dental assistant. B. The best match is a computer and information systems manager. C. The two top-paying occupations that match Kari s interests are speech-language pathologist and audiologist.

8 8 Occupation 30 Fastest-Growing U.S. Occupations, (Employment Numbers in Thousands of Jobs) Employment Mean Annual Wages Education Required Computer and information scientists, research \$73,430 Doctoral degree Speech-language pathologists \$48,480 Master s degree Audiologists \$47,670 Master s degree Mental health and substance abuse social workers \$32,240 Master s degree Computer and information systems managers \$80,250 Bachelor s or higher degree, plus work experience Computer software engineers, systems software \$70,890 Bachelor s degree Computer software engineers, applications \$70,300 Bachelor s degree Computer systems analysts \$61,210 Bachelor s degree Physician assistants \$60,680 Bachelor s degree Network systems and data communications analysts \$57,890 Bachelor s degree Database administrators \$55,810 Bachelor s degree Network and computer systems administrators \$53,690 Bachelor s degree Teachers, special education, elementary, \$42,000/pre- Bachelor s degree kindergarten, preschool (pre-k) K \$20,000 Dental hygienists \$51,980 Associate degree Computer support specialists \$39,680 Associate degree Occupational therapist assistants \$34,860 Associate degree Physical therapist assistants \$34,370 Associate degree Medical records and health information technicians \$24,430 Associate degree Veterinary technologists and technicians \$22,730 Associate degree Desktop publishers \$32,700 Postsecondary vocational award Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors \$28,750 Postsecondary vocational award Dental assistants \$26,740 Moderate-term on-thejob Medical assistants \$23,840 Moderate-term on-thejob Social and human service assistants \$23,840 Moderate-term on-thejob Pharmacy technicians \$21,600 Moderate-term on-thejob Occupational therapist aides 9 12 \$23,330 Short-term on-the-job Physical therapist aides \$20,930 Short-term on-the-job Home health aides \$18,110 Short-term on-the-job Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers \$17,790 Short-term on-the-job Personal and home care aides \$15,960 Short-term on-the-job Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Notes. Occupations are listed from highest to lowest required education level; within each education level, occupations are ordered from highest to lowest mean annual wage. (Data is not arranged by occupation s rate of growth.) Figure for teachers is estimate based on range of about \$40,000-\$44,000 for different types of teachers listed (kindergarten teachers on lower, elementary in middle, and special education on upper end of range).

9 9 II. Employment Statistics by Worker Category 1. A. The line graph will show that workers pay increases across the first five age categories but then declines across the final two. The optional triple line graph would show the same plus a line for men s earnings above and a line for women s earnings below. (The optional double line graph would omit the line for the combined earnings.) B. 76% for ages 16 and over and 74% for ages 25 and over. The gap widens. (#1C explores this fact more specifically.) C. Students line graph will reflect the following figures: 92% (16-19), 92% (20-24), 82% (25-34), 71% (35-44), 73% (45-54), 68% (55-64), 70% (65 and over). The male-female wage differential is stable across the first two age categories, widens across the next two, and then remains somewhat stable across the final four age groupings. In other words, the best scenario for pay equity is in women workers younger years and the worst is at middle and older ages. D. Yes, pay tends to increase with advanced education. Because the table displays average data across many occupations, selected individual occupations will not fit this pattern, as shown in earlier explorations. (Note, for example, pay and education levels for the three occupations requiring master s degrees, the computer and information systems managers, and dental hygienists.) 2. 61% for management analysts and 87% for computer systems analysts and scientists. 3. A. Non-technological jobs; jobs working with people; lower-skill jobs (those requiring less education). Students may also make pay-related comments (see #4 below). B. About 47% (46.6%). C. 41%. D. Secretaries more than 98% (98.4%). E. No. (The occupation of elementary teacher is an exception.) 4. No. Only management, registered nurses, and elementary teachers appear on the list, which fall into the second, sixth, and ninth highest-paying occupational groups, respectively. Note that registered nurses fall under the healthcare practitioners category, and nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants are classified under healthcare support. The two sales occupations fall under the occupational category sales and related. (Also, as demonstrated in the previous section, women s pay falls on the lower side within occupational groups, particularly the highest-paying of the three noted here management.) 5. A. Women: airplane pilots and navigators (3%), civil engineers (11%), farm workers (14%). Men: bank tellers (9%), dental assistants (4%), dietitians (13%). Find the total number of workers for an occupation by adding the number of female and male workers, and then divide the number of female or male workers (the smaller number) by the total number of workers to see if the proportion is 25.0% or less. (Because all figures are rounded to the nearest thousand, students might ignore the final three zeros in figures in doing their computations.) B. The number of women or men in an occupation would have to be one-third or less of the number of workers of the other sex in order to comprise 25% or less of all workers. This

10 10 is so because the reference is the number of workers of the other sex rather than the total number of workers (i.e., a comparison of one-fourth to three-fourths). III. Answer the following miscellaneous questions about employment statistics. 1. None, in a general sense. For example, an occupation with a 10% annual earnings increase from one year to the next might only have increased from \$20,000 to \$22,000, whereby it would remain among the lower-paying occupations. An occupation with a consistently higher-than-average percent increase in annual earnings might move upward on the pay scale in relation to other occupations over time, but it will not necessarily be among the highestpaying occupations (although it may eventually be if its high rate of increase is sustained long enough). 2. \$7,440 (\$40,500-\$33,060). Not necessarily. Cost of living for a town or city would be one critically important factor to consider along with annual earnings. Sources and References 1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2001). Highlights of Women s Earnings in Available at 3. U.S. Department of Labor, Women s Bureau: Selected Resources 1. movingvan.com web site s Career & Salary by Location : 2. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: 3. U.S. Department of Labor, Women s Bureau:

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