No College Degree? No Lack of Jobs

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Jobs in northeastern Ohio too often lack the wages to sustain a family or do not have enough people trained to fill them, affirms the newly released 2022 Aligning Opportunities report by Team NEO.

The report underscores the demand and supply gap in the workforce that continues to hamper growth in northeastern Ohio, the 18-county region that includes Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

The data show a growing gap between demand for talent to fill jobs in the region and the number of residents with credentials or degrees to fill them.

In northeastern Ohio, 33% of residents have only a high school diploma and 9% have only some high school education, according to the report. Another 21% have some college. Only 9% have an associate degree and 29% have a baccalaureate or higher.

“There are good jobs that people can go into that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree,” says Jacob Duritsky, vice president of research and strategy at Team NEO. “Four-year degrees, they’re not for everyone and that’s okay. There are still opportunities in the market.”

Duritsky says it’s about looking at a broader career path. Many of these jobs are a great place to start and then evolve into a career. He cites as examples an electrician who down the road becomes a small-
business owner and someone who gets a CDL, enjoys being a driver, or eventually decides to start a distribution and logistics center.

The report lists the top 20 jobs in the region that require less than an associate degree and are expected to increase in the next five years.

Some of the top jobs, all with growth expected, include claims adjusters, examiners and investigators, median salary $65,022; electricians, $58,837; industrial machinery mechanics, $58,333; plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters; $58,856; insurance sales agents, $56,255; and mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines, $54,022.

The new report also touts a long list of STEM-related jobs, most of which have a median salary to support a family of four. However, most also require a baccalaureate or advanced degree. The top jobs include computer and information research scientists, $108,677; actuaries, $100,653; chemical engineers, $99,800; software developers, $99,413; petroleum engineers, $98,667; information security analysts, $97,941; computer hardware engineers, $94,677; and psychologists, $94,083.

There remains a large demand for workers in the areas of health care, manufacturing and IT in the region. Total demand in 2021 for health care was 48,363 workers, including 18,259 entry-level jobs; manufacturing. with 26,962 jobs with 10,191 entry-level jobs; and 15,544 total IT jobs, including 5,902 entry-level jobs.

These careers have median salaries of $73,439 for health care, $42,383 for manufacturing and $86,862 for IT. Yet, in 2020, the region did not issue enough credentials to fill those jobs. Only 13,992 were awarded in health care, 3,452 in manufacturing and 2,725 in IT.

Team NEO released supplemental reports earlier this year that show how tapping into diverse labor pools and improving gender and racial equity can help create a vibrant and more equitable economy.