Georgia graduates can’t keep up with job demand

Construction jobs are expanding rapidly in Atlanta and pay a liveable wage. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Construction jobs are expanding rapidly in Atlanta and pay a liveable wage. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The number of degrees and certificates issued by Georgia’s university system, technical colleges and other higher education institutions grew 19% between 2014 and 2018. But that healthy growth did not match the number of job postings for entry-level positions, which increased by 28%, according to a study by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and consulting firm Accenture.

The chamber is working on legislative issues meant to help align employer needs with education and opportunity, such as providing needs-based scholarships for students from low-income families. The bulk of educational help provided by HOPE scholarships go to families with more than $100,000 a year in income, according to the data in the chamber report.

The top job posting in Georgia over the four-year period was for registered nurses, with nearly a quarter million jobs publicized. Heavy truck drivers was second, followed by software developers, other computer-based occupations and then sales representatives.

In 2018, the latest year for which the data was available, 54% of job postings included an educational requirement; with 30% requiring a bachelor’s degree.

According to state estimates, more than 60% of jobs in the coming decade will require post high-school education.

The chamber’s data showed that, for those with associate degrees from technical colleges, the five best-paying fields were health, mechanical and repair, engineering technology, construction, and computer and information technology.

For those with four-year degrees, engineering came in as the highest-paying field, followed by health care, computer and information; engineering and architecture.