Report: Three-fourths of U.S. workers need on-the-job training as nation’s labor pool tightens

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 290 views 

As the U.S. job market continues to tighten with the national unemployment rate at 4%, employers are spending more time training new hires as they enter the workforce or switch jobs, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The new report, issued on Feb. 21, shows that on-the-job training was required for a whopping 76.8% of all civilian workers in 2018, The average length of that training was 34 days, the study shows.

The preparation time required for a typical worker to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and develop the facility needed for average performance in a specific job can range between a short orientation demonstration to more than 10 years. Preparation time includes formal education, pre-employment training, on-the-job training, and prior work experience.

BLS data shows approximately 31.5% of workers had preparation time requirements that included more than a short demonstration and up to one month of preparation and 19% were required to have between 2 years and 4 years of preparation time.

High school was the most common minimum education level for workers in 2018, with 40.7% of jobs requiring at least a high school diploma. There was no minimum education level required for 31.5% of jobs, while a bachelor’s degree was required for 17.9% of workers.

Of the 76.8% of workers in the civilian labor people needing on-the-job training in 2018, prior work experience was required for 47% of workers and 33% of those new hires were required to have completed pre-employment training.

Among the occupations with high on-the-job training requirements, prior work experience was required for 84.3% of accountants, with another 68.3% requiring on-the-job training. The majority, or 92%, of accountants required a bachelor’s degree.

For management occupations, the most common minimum education level required was also a bachelor’s degree. Most workers in food preparation and serving related occupations, or 81.4%, did not have a minimum education level requirement. A high school diploma was required for only 18.1% of workers in that occupation.

The BLS data noted that over half, or 55.3%, of workers in production occupations were required to have a high school diploma. Post-employment training was required for 86.6% of these employees in that field of work.

To view the occupational report culled by BLS, which is the statistical research arm of the U.S. Labor Department, click here.

Last month, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, and the unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a percentage point to 4%. Job gains occurred in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. U.S. job data for February will be released on Friday.

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