Defining Skilled Technical Work
29 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2015
Date Written: September 1, 2015
This paper proposes a new definition of skilled technical workers, variously known as middle-skilled, craft workers or trade workers. Here, occupations are classified as skilled technical workers if workers in these groups exhibit high levels of knowledge in at least one technical domain and modal employment requirement is less than a bachelor's degree. This definition is compared to others in the literature that use middle wage or educational classifications. Relative to those classifications, occupations meeting the skilled technical definition requirements are more likely to be paid a wage premium, exhibit high levels of technical skill, and require more experience and on-the-job training. The analysis concludes that including skill in broad occupational classifications is important in accurately assessing occupational differences generally and enhances the understanding of the technical labor force specifically.
Keywords: skills, technical workers, middle-skilled, STEM
JEL Classification: J21, J24
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