Demographic projections show that by 2020, there will be more than 1 million jobs openings for the next generation of Wisconsinites as high numbers of “baby boomers” retire from the state’s workforce.
According to recent projections from Department of Workforce Development, of the 1 million new job openings by the year 2020, nearly 690,000 will be as a result of retiring baby boomers.
In another study, the Wisconsin Applied Population Lab at the University of Wisconsin found by 2020, 24 percent of Wisconsin’s population will be more than 60 years old.. By 2030, 27 percent of the population will be more than 60 years old.
“Demographic projections show highly skilled ‘baby boomers’ will be leaving the workforce in Wisconsin,” John Dipko, Department of Workforce Development spokesperson, said. “The new generation of workers needs adequate skills to fill these openings.”
In addition to the jobs being left behind by baby boomers, DWD projects Wisconsin’s economy will gain nearly 350,000 jobs by 2020, with some sectors growing at much faster rates than others.
The analysis released by the department breaks down future job projections by occupation, as well as by region. Certain occupations are projected to see jumps as large as 50 percent, while other industries are likely to lose jobs.
By 2020, Wisconsin can expect major job growth in certain medical professions, such as nursing, veterinary medicine and cardiology. Additionally, Wisconsin’s construction industry is also expected to see significant increases in job growth up to 50 percent, according to the projections.
Reporters, law enforcement officials, cashiers and phone operators will likely see negative job growth in their respective job sectors.
As Wisconsin’s population gets older, government agencies and market forces are looking to bring the coming generation into Wisconsin’s work force, according to Dipko. He said with the retirement of such a large number of people, there is a significant need to prepare a coming generation of professional workers with the skills needed to step into these job markets.
“Projections show roughly 1 million job openings through 2020, including openings to replace retiring baby boomers as well as new positions. This is significant because retiring baby boomers have skill sets that are both diverse and extensive, and we know that replacing this talent will be a challenge,” Dipko said. “To this end, we are working together to help the private sector create jobs and equip Wisconsinites with the skills they need to fill jobs that are available now and in the years to come.”
Mike Browne, spokesperson for liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, said Wisconsin should focus on policies that are attractive to graduating students so they are compelled to stay in Wisconsin to pursue job opportunities.
Browne said initiatives to increase wages and lower student debt will help to keep students in the state to fill the growing gap.
“College graduates get to make decisions on where they look for employment,” Browne said. “While there may be jobs opening in Wisconsin, there are jobs in other states too, and other states may have policies that are more attractive to students from a social standpoint.”