By Barbara Miner
Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Employment Projections 1996-2006" show a different story. In fact, jobs merely requiring short or moderate on-the-job training, such as clerical and service jobs, will account for more than half of all jobs in 2006.
"Employers will hire more than three times as many cashiers as engineers," columnist Richard Rothstein noted in an article in the Oct. 27 New York Times. "They will need more than twice as many food-counter workers, waiters, and waitresses than all the systems analysts, computer engineers, mathematicians, and database administrators combined. We will be hiring more nurses, but even more janitors and maids."
One of the sources of confusion is that while professions such as computer engineering will increase percentage-wise, the number is relatively small to begin with. So, as Rothstein notes, one can proclaim that computer engineering and science employment "will increase by a whopping 100% while food service grows by only 11%. But computer science is a relatively small field, so new positions generate rapid growth rates. There are more waitresses today, so smaller percentage growth yields more new jobs."
It's also important to realize that high-skilled jobs are subject to a fluctuating supply and demand that has more to do with corporate profits than education - as Gerstner well realizes.