Requirements for technological skills are becoming a necessity across work levels and industry sectors in the U.S.

The report by Brookings Institution is an eye opener.

Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, has conducted a study which concludes that digital tools are increasingly playing a pivotal role in transforming every workplace across industries in the U.S.

According to the study, the usage of digital tools has increased dramatically in 517 of 545 occupations since 2002, especially in low-skilled occupations.

The report underscores the the growing realization that unless workers acquire digital skills they will struggle to get employment.

Increasing automation in the workplace has fueled anxieties that digital tools allow a single work to be more productive than many workers put together.

The 545 occupations reflect 90% of all jobs in the economy.

As per the results of the survey, jobs which demand greater digital skills tend to pay more and increasingly concentrate in centers like Seattle, Austin, Texas and Silicon Valley.

The findings of the Brookings Institution’s report was based on the U.S. Department of Labor data wherein it assigned a rating of 0 to 100 to each occupation, reflecting the amount of digital technology required for each occupation.

The average score for all occupations rose from 29 in 2002 to 46 in 2016, a 59% increase.

Jobs, especially higher paying ones that have long used digital tools, have continued to grow while jobs which required little or no digital skills in 2002, now require more of those skills.

Case in point: warehouse workers who move around freight saw their average score rise from 5, in 2002, to 25 in 2016 since they now use handheld devices to track inventories as well as devices which sound an alarm if they try inserting a box into a wrong truck.

As per the results of the study, digital scores for roofers jumped from 0 to 22, while those for parking lot attendants rose from 3 to 26.

“What we found is that the more digital a job is, on balance the better the pay—and also the less chance there is for total displacement of your job,” said Mark Muro, a co-author of the report who is also a senior fellow at Brookings.

Incidentally, Software developers, who had top-rankings in 2002 and 2016, saw their ratings drop to 94 from 97. A possible reason for this drop could be the fruition of software developers as managers of other software developers which translates to less direct programing, opines Muro.


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