ANNAPOLIS – No college degree? Don’t bother to apply.
That’s the message the majority of job seekers will hear from Maryland employers after the turn of the century, a new study finds.
By the year 2005, about six of every 10 job openings in the state will require some form of training beyond high school, according to a survey of employers by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Employers told the commission that, through 2005, 26,000 job openings annually would require college degrees.
The study, released Tuesday, summarized answers to a one- page questionnaire the commission mailed in October 1995 to the 2,503 employers around the state with more than 100 employees. Responses came from 917 retailers, banks, hospitals and education institutions.
The survey asked about employment needs for the next 10 years. Projected employment for 2005, measured against actual employment in 1992, showed greatest increases in computer and math applications (a 54 percent increase); agriculture, forestry and fishing occupations (37 percent); health practitioners (35 percent) and writers, artists, entertainers and athletes (35 percent).
The questionnaire also probed for information about current unmet needs.
Five hundred of the responding employers reporting trouble finding qualified applicants in at least one job category. Employers identified nursing and business management graduates as their greatest unmet need, followed by applicants with doctoral degrees in health and engineering fields.
Nursing and business management will have the largest number of openings by 2005, and those openings will be in every geographic area of the state, the employers said.
Other high-demand areas, according to the study, will be:
* Sales workers
* Elementary and secondary school teachers
* Computer programmers
* Food and lodging managers
* College faculty
* Electronic data processors
* Electrical engineers
The survey responses suggested that applicants with master’s degrees in electrical engineering, business management, health professions, computer sciences and social work will be in particular demand.
“This will definitely help us and the institutions make decisions about college programs,” said Patricia S. Florestano, Maryland’s secretary of higher education. “We were surprised about the increased demand for nurses because many nurses are getting laid off now, but nothing else really surprised us.”
Donna Dorsey, executive director of Maryland Board of Nursing, said she was surprised that employers reported trouble finding the right applicants.
“Many graduates haven’t been able to find a job because the market is either saturated or because of cutbacks,” Dorsey said. “Then there are other times when nurses are in great demand. But what’s surprising to us is to hear that employers are having a hard time finding qualified graduates because there are several looking for employment.”
Robert Anastasi, executive director of the Maryland Business Roundtable Foundation, praised the commission for trying to improve education through partnership with the business community.
“What businesses want Maryland educators to do is give their students good basic skills,” Anastasi said. “Businesses know that they will have to train employees, because all jobs have different details. But employers are not seeing enough applicants that have basic knowledge and understanding. We have to work together to see this change.”
The Business Roundtable Foundation, founded in 1992 and based in Baltimore, is a coalition of 75 of Maryland’s largest employers who have made a 10-year commitment to help improve student achievement.
Florestano said the 34-page study would be mailed out to every two- and four-year college and university around the state. -30-