Entry-Level Work as a Stepping Stone, Not an End Point

ON FEBRUARY 10TH 2021, BURNING GLASS TECHNOLOGIES, WITH SUPPORT FROM THE SCHULTZ FAMILY FOUNDATION, RELEASED A REPORT EVALUATING THE POTENTIAL FOR ENTRY-LEVEL WORK AS A STEPPING STONE, NOT AN END POINT, FOR A CAREER. AS THE U.S. NAVIGATES RECOVERY FROM THE COVID-19 CRISIS AND ITS ECONOMIC OUTCOMES, MORE EFFORT IS NEEDED TO SUPPORT YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AND GROWTH

 Some of the report’s highlights include:

  1. A cumulative, longitudinal view of the hiring patterns of Hire Opportunity Coalition (HOC; formerly 100,000 Opportunities Initiative) member companies over the first five years of its existence (2015-2020).
  2. Coalition companies hired opportunity youth (OY) for entry-level jobs 24% of the time, vs. non-coalition companies who did so at 16% of the time.  This indicates that just by being a part of the coalition, and joining a running group conversation about these issues –  not to mention making commitments in some cases — we see a 50% increase in the rate of hiring OY.
  3. There was no discernible difference in retention rates after a year on the job between coalition and non-coalition companies – they both hovered at around 50%.  This means that investing in, understanding and supporting OY is a key opportunity – both before the pandemic and after.
  4. Nearly half of young entry-level workers without college experience struggle to advance to better-paying jobs within five years.
  5. However, these jobs are not necessarily dead-ends: after five years, 63% are in living-wage jobs, up from 39% in their initial job.
  6. Pulling back from the specific jobs and companies, it’s important to note that these workers overwhelmingly get their start in sectors that the HOC represents (9 of 10 in sales, administrative support, food service, and transportation).

Perhaps the most important takeaway from the report can be found in this quote, from Burning Glass’ CEO:

“The fact that more than half of young people without college degrees advance into living wage jobs is testament to their talent, drive and perseverance” said Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies. “Given the chance, these young workers can and do succeed. Imagine the level of success that could be achieved with greater employer and community supports and a focus on the skills that can drive their advancement.”

Read the full report here