The Future of Soft Skills in a High Technology Labor Market




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In this study, I argue that soft skills will be crucial in the current and the future of the high technology labor market because of the intelligent machine’s inability to respond to unexpected cues instantly. Using the ONET 2018 Content Model, I extract 150 skill sets required by 1090 occupations in the United States. To condense the data, I employ Confirmatory and Principal Factor Analysis to generate a six-skill typology that functions as my interest variable in chapter four. The six skill typology factor predictions are merged with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2018-2028 job outlook data to explore the role of soft skills in the high-tech labor market. The findings suggest the need for soft skills in the high technology labor market. I then proceed to estimate the soft skills gap and its impact on the labor outcomes of different demographic groups in the United States using the National Longitudinal Youth Survey (NLSY97) data. The study finds increasing demand for soft skills in occupations with a high growth rate, positive employment change, and high wages in the high technology labor markets. Soft skills are complementary to cognitive skills in the high-tech labor market. Contrary to my hypothesis, the study finds no significant soft skill gap among minority and majority racial groups and gender but rather a skills gap based on social-economic status. The study speculates that the soft skills endowment gap maybe be a result of biases against minority demographic groups.



Soft skills, Labor market, Race discrimination, Sex discrimination, High technology, Wages ǂx High technology industries employees, Equal pay for equal work