The Biggest Worry We Have About Our Jobs Is Not Immigration, It’s Irrelevance

The biggest worry Americans have about their jobs isn’t immigration; it’s irrelevance.

In a new Pew Research report, 80 percent of survey respondents said outsourcing hurts American workers, and 54 percent said continual training will be “essential” to advancing their careers, including more than 60 percent of the youngest workers.

“It’s a positive story on the impact of skills and up-skilling on the American workforce,” said Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce chief economist, Nicole Smith. The report found that employment growth is most rapid in high-skill jobs and in ones where continued training is imperative, in fields like education, professional services and health care.

According to the survey of more than 5,000 Americans, including nearly 3,100 in the workforce, which was conducted by Pew in conjunction with the Markle Foundation, people are roughly split on whether immigration helps or hurts American workers, at 42 percent and 45 percent, respectively. This is a significant shift from a decade earlier, when only 28 percent said immigrants contribute positively to the American labor market.

“That’s a really significant finding,” said David Blustein, a counseling psychology professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. “What politicians have been telling us about immigrants taking our jobs is not shared by the American people,” he said.

“It seems to me that people see that diversity helps the American worker,” said Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation.

In fact, 85 percent of survey respondents of all ages said it was either extremely or very important for employees to be able to work with colleagues from different backgrounds, with 62 percent adults under the age of 30 saying that continual training and educational will be essential to their career advancement.

“It definitely is a very linear relationship there,” said Kim Parker, director of social trends research at Pew Research Center and one of the lead authors of the report.

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