Let’s take a look at the most common jobs in America. Click Here. Of the top 50, fewer than 10 require a college degree. Many are what we have been conditioned to refer to as “low skilled” jobs. This is a reference to defend the current practice of providing low wages for these jobs: “low skill = low wage”. Let’s call it what it is: Job Shaming. In fact, apart from registered nurses, none in the Top 10 have a yearly salary over $35,000 and the top 15 account for one quarter of our entire work force.
I ask that we stop calling these “low skilled” jobs and call them what they are: jobs vital to the economy and prosperity of all. These are vital jobs. Let’s also stop denigrating these jobs by saying if we raise wages, they will just be replaced by robots. The fact is that the proliferation of AI technology seems more likely to disrupt an unexpected population: skilled knowledge workers whose jobs involve data-driven decision-making. So yes, some may be replaced by automation, but that is a universal problem, not cause to ignore one facet of the working class.
Getting back to the most common jobs in America, these citizens live paycheck to paycheck, can’t save for retirement, and are one injury or illness away from bankruptcy. The remedy is not free college for all. The remedy is not more job training. The remedy is a paradigm shift in recognizing that vital jobs, no matter the level of education required, deserve a salary that allows the individual to support a family, save for retirement, and be secure in the knowledge that if injured or ill, all will not be lost. The remedy is sending people to Washington D.C. and Beacon Hill who will take on this challenge.