Points of View

What Michiganders Need to Get Good Paying Jobs in the 21st Century

Sam Stebbins

What We Are Reading: What Michiganders Need to Get Good Paying Jobs in the 21st Century 

The report referenced in this blog post can be read here on the Michigan Future Inc. website.


To compete with other states Michiganders must let go of the economic system of the past and embrace change. The careers that offer good pay to the middle class are shifting from manufacturing jobs to a knowledge-based economy. A report from Michigan Future Inc., details what policies will help Michigan transition into success in the 21st Century. 


Changes to the Nature of Work

As the economy continues to change, Michigan Future, Inc. calls for a new goal of rising Michiganders’ household incomes, rather than measuring success by a growing economy or low unemployment rates. The truth is that even as more people in Michigan are employed, many of those jobs are in low skill and low pay jobs—jobs that may not pay all of their bills or support their families. The state policy actions that would matter most to raising household income are those that increase education attainment, ensure that Michigan cities are attractive to talent, and share prosperity with those without high wage, knowledge based jobs. 

Increasingly, education is the key to attaining a good paying job. Good paying jobs for the middle class in Michigan go to professionals and managers in offices, schools and hospitals—jobs that require a four-year degree or more.

Talent is also becoming increasingly mobile, meaning that communities in Michigan will need to become more attractive to college-educated millennials to help the economy in their region grow. As former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote, “Economists may not say it this way but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts.” Talent increasingly demands high-density, high-amenity, and walkable neighborhoods. 


What Employers Can Do

This report illuminates the changes to the 21st century economy that are already and will continue to effect Michigan. Employers can learn further details by reading more from Michigan Future Inc. and their research and by engaging with Talent 2025’s K-12, Post-Secondary, and Talent Attraction and Retention working groups. You can also read more about Goal 2025, presented at our May 2017 CEO Council meeting, here