The disappearing middle-wage job

Employers will add 8.3 million jobs over the next five years, but those new positions may add to the hollowing out of the middle class, according to a new study. 

Most of the jobs that are projected to be created are in low-wage or high-wage industries, according to the CareerBuilder study, which is based on historical and current labor market trends. One-fourth of new jobs will be in middle-wage jobs, and the study found that 369,879 jobs will be lost over the same time period, with the majority in mid-pay fields. 

Job growth will be seen in roles that have a service or tech element, with the latter providing better pay. The findings suggest that the struggles of many middle-class families aren’t going to disappear any time soon, given job losses due to automation — such as the elimination of some office jobs — and stagnant wages. 

“Workers across all job levels will need to continually pursue opportunities to upskill in order to maneuver around accelerated shifts in labor demand,” said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder, in a statement. “This is a particularly pressing issue for middle-wage workers who are at greater risk for becoming displaced and workers in general who want to move up into better-paying jobs.”

High-wage and low-wage occupations will both grow at a roughly 5.7 percent rate over the next five years, compared with 3.8 percent for middle-wage jobs.

In terms of numbers, both high-paying and low-wage jobs will add about 3.1 million new positions, compared with 2.1 million new jobs for mid-wage workers. 

Here are three fastest-growing jobs for each wage level through 2023, according to CareerBuilder.

High-wage jobs

Registered nurses: 255,000 new jobs, median hourly earnings of $33.55 

Software developers, applications: 143,000 new jobs, $48.49 per hour

Post-secondary teachers: 111,000 new jobs, $33.52 per hour

Middle-wage jobs

Customer-service representatives: 120,673 new jobs, $15.88 per hour

Medical assistants: 102,274 new jobs, $15.62 per hour

Construction laborers: 92,182 new jobs, $14.73 per hour

Low-wage jobs

Home health aides: 207,732 new jobs, $11.17 per hour

Waiters and waitresses: 146,281 new jobs, $10.01 per hour

Retail salespeople: 108,229 new jobs, $11.29 per hour

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