Goodbye, entry level job?

Last summer, we wrote a post that waved goodbye to the entry level job.

It was a pretty compelling argument — entry level opportunities slipping away — based on data from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.


At the time, we thought we might have been a little over dramatic in our phrasing. Turns out we weren’t scary enough.

Entry level openings in the Twin Cities — those that don’t require previous work experience — plummeted in the past year, from 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 to only 17 percent by the end of 2010.

In the ancient times — 2001 — nearly 40 percent of Twin Cities job openings were entry-level.

Here’s the updated data from DEED (click on the chart for a larger view)


As the “no experience needed” jobs have evaporated, job openings requiring a college education have stayed consistently high.

The data really match up with the growing worries about a “lost generation” of Minnesota workers. State Demographer Tom Gillaspy recently wrote:

There is concern that there is a disturbing and growing mismatch between the skills of those looking for work and the skills employers seek to hire. If left unchecked, this could lead to a situation of a “lost generation,” where those with the necessary skills do very well while those without the desired skills will struggle economically for the remainder of their lives.

We may be seeing a shift in the labor force widening the gap here between haves and have-nots.

A Georgetown University report estimates 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require some education beyond high school by 2018. That’s one of the highest percentages of any state in the country.

Georgetown projects Minnesota with 902,000 job vacancies from 2008 through 2018 from new jobs and retirements. Only a quarter of those will go to be available to those with no more than a high school graduation.

Bottom line: If you were a young adult a decade ago you had a decent chance of getting a job without prior experience or a college degree.

Those opportunities are nearly gone. But the people who need them are still here. What happens to them?


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  • Zebulun

    That’s a good question. I would also ask all employers, public and private, the following question:

    Where are entry-level workers, even those with a college degree, supposed to get their experience if you don’t give them an opportunity to gain it?