Seattle Jobs Initiative is pleased to present our latest labor market research, Changes in Entry-Level Jobs Over the Past Decade, authored by the Northwest Social Research Group. This research defines “entry-level jobs” and examines whether skill requirements for entry-level occupations in four key sectors — Professional/Business Services, Logistics, Healthcare, and Manufacturing — have changed over the past decade in the Seattle/King County region.

Our objective through this research is to inform local workforce development stakeholders (community-based organizations, community colleges, government agencies, policymakers, etc.) seeking to ensure that workforce programs — particularly those targeting low-skill residents — continue to meet the skill and education requirements necessary for those jobs.

Some key finding from the report:

  • For 15% of the entry-level jobs examined, training/education requirements increased from 2000 to 2010; for 22.5%, requirements decreased; for 62.5%, requirements stayed the same.
  • At the same time, 72% of the entry-level jobs examined have shown an increase in the educational attainment of incumbent workers between 2000 and 2010.
  • In 79% of the entry-level jobs examined, incumbent workers in these occupations in Seattle/King County have higher rates of educational attainment than do incumbent workers in these same jobs in Washington as a whole.
  • Ultimately, while minimum training/education requirements for entry-level jobs in Seattle/King County have changed little of the past decade, the significant increase in the educational attainment levels of incumbent workers in these occupations during this period demonstrates the heightened importance of skill and job experience for individuals to truly be competitive for these positions.