Demand for Digital Skills Increases in Middle-Skill Job Market

Research from Burning Glass Technologies and Capital One finds digital skills open doorways for workers
Sep 20, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Demand for Digital Skills Increases in Middle-Skill Job Market

BOSTON, September 20, 2017 /3BL Media/ - Eight in ten middle-skill job postings now demand digital skills, a four-point increase over the last two years, according to new research conducted by Burning Glass Technologies for Capital One.

Middle-skill jobs, defined as those that pay a living wage and don’t require a bachelor’s degree, have always provided a pathway into the middle class for workers.

The report, “The Digital Edge: Middle Skills Workers and Careers,” is based on an analysis on a database of 27 million job postings collected by Burning Glass in 2016. Its role is to help job seekers understand the future of middle-skill jobs and the opportunity digital skills present for the two-thirds of Americans without a four-year college degree. The report is a follow up to a previous examination of digital middle-skill jobs by Burning Glass and Capital One, “Crunched by the Numbers: The Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce.”

Key findings from this year’s report, include:

  • More than eight in ten middle-skill jobs (82%) require digital skills. This represents a 4% increase since 2015. Spreadsheets and word processing remain a key driver of digital skill demand, with 78% of middle-skill jobs calling for these at a minimum.
  • Digitally intensive middle-skill jobs pay more than non-digital middle-skill jobs: Baseline digital skills alone pay a 17% premium over non-digital roles. Overall, middle-skill jobs that demand digital skills average $20 per hour; those with advanced digital skills such as information technology networking or CRM (customer relationship management) software can command salaries at or above $28/hour, which places them in the top quartile of all earners.
  • Digital skills provide a career pathway into middle- and high-skill jobs: Nearly one million middle-skill jobs in 2016 paid less than the living wage of $15/hour, but salaries for those roles rose to a living wage as digital intensity of those roles increased.
  • Digital middle-skill jobs represent roughly 38% of overall job postings – but some markets afford more opportunity than others. In examining the top ten metropolitan areas, we found some regions have higher proportions of these jobs than others, ranging from 33% in San Francisco and Washington D.C. to 42% in Houston.
  • Non-digitally intensive middle-skill opportunities are mostly restricted to transportation, construction, and installation/repair jobs.  Digital skills have become a minimum requirement for middle-skill jobs in most other sectors.

“Technology is changing our world rapidly– breaking down barriers and unleashing opportunities for long term career growth for all Americans is more important than ever,” said Catherine Foca, Vice President of Community Affairs at Capital One and President, Capital One Foundation.  “Capital One is focused on closing the skills, education and earnings gap that exists, through Future Edge – our five-year, $150 million commitment to help our communities succeed in the future. Through our partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, we’re continuing to understand where the biggest job and skills opportunities are so we can invest in programs that empower more Americans to succeed in our digitally-driven economy.”

The full Digital Edge: Middle Skills Workers and Careers report is available at

About Burning Glass Technologies

Burning Glass Technologies delivers job market analytics that empower employers, workers, and educators to make data-driven decisions. The company’s artificial intelligence technology analyzes hundreds of millions of job postings and real-life career transitions to provide insight into labor market patterns. This real-time strategic intelligence offers crucial insights, such as which jobs are most in demand, the specific skills employers need, and the career directions that offer the highest potential for workers. For more information, visit