Future-ready jobs: Connecting all workers to jobs that are well-compensated, stable, and resilient to automation is key to achieving workforce equity.

Insights & Analyses

  • We define future-ready jobs as those that are stable or growing, automation-resilient, and provide living wages. Overall, just 36 percent of workers in the United States have a future-ready job. While most workers are employed in occupations that are stable or growing, less than half of the workforce is in occupations that are resilient to automation and pay living wages.
  • Future readiness varies widely by the educational requirements of occupations. Only 2 percent of jobs that require no more than a high school diploma are considered future ready, compared with 78 percent of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Racial disparities persist even when controlling for educational requirements. For instance, among all workers in occupations requiring an associate’s degree, less than 30 percent of Latinx and Pacific Islander workers hold future-ready jobs. Comparatively, 38 percent of white workers are in future-ready jobs.
  • The future readiness of jobs is geographically uneven. Close to half of the jobs in the District of Columbia are considered future ready, compared to just 16 percent of the jobs in Hawaii.

Drivers of Inequity

Labor markets change over time, as all industries are subject to ever-shifting political conditions, advancements in knowledge, and social norms. Technological progress has expanded the opportunities available to some sectors and workers while rendering other sectors and occupations obsolete. This leaves some groups of workers significantly more vulnerable to job displacement driven by changing market conditions and technological advancements. Due to longtime historical practices of exclusion in housing, employment, and education, many workers of color are overrepresented in jobs that are low wage and nonunionized, performed on a contract basis without the full labor protections of regular employment, and/or susceptible to being eliminated by automation. When working-class families are unable to build stable financial foundations due to the precarity of available job opportunities, longstanding class hierarchies persist and worsen.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to reach full employment for all

Strategy in Action

Per Scholas is a national organization that works to advance economic equity by providing no-cost training for technology careers. Operating in more than 20 locations across the nation, Per Scholas partners with tech employers, policymakers, and community-based organizations to create tech career pathways for its program participants and support increased diversity in the tech sector. In addition to focusing on hands-on technical skills development, its curriculum includes professional skills learning to prepare job seekers for success in the labor market. In 2021, 84 percent of the organization’s program participants were people of color, and a third were women. To date, more than 16,000 people have graduated from Per Scholas’ training program. The latest figures indicate that 80 percent of its graduates find full-time jobs within a year, with an average starting wage of $21 per hour. Read more.


Photo: Per Scholas

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