The one skill most high-paying jobs have in common

According to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, the jobs that require more digital skills generally pay more, Senior Editor Walter Frick writes in the Harvard Business Review.

To conduct the study, Brookings researchers used data from the Department of Labor, Moody's, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compare how the digital requirements and median annual wages of 545 different occupations changed between 2002 and 2016.

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Roughly 95% of occupations grew to rely more on computers over that period, the study found.

In general, the occupations that currently rely more on digital skills also have higher median wages. On average, occupations with high use of digital skills earn $73,000, while occupations with low use of digital skills earn $30,000. The correlation holds true even after accounting for educational requirements.

There's one notable exception to the trend: health care. Many health care occupations are only moderately digital, but the field did see one of the biggest increases in digitization over the period studied, Frick notes. Some predictions anticipate that trend to continue as hospitals adopt automation and machine learning.

The Brookings study aligns with other recent research finding that digital skills can be extremely valuable to students entering the job market. A Burning Glass report from earlier this year found that adding the word "digital" to a job-seeker's resume can double the number of openings the person qualifies for (Frick, Harvard Business Review, 12/1).

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