The Learning & Earning Issue

Where the Massachusetts jobs are right now

When he was leading the Maine Department of Labor, John Dorrer recognized the limitations of standard job market projections, which assume the past can predict the future. “They will be right some of the time,” he says, “but there have been such fundamental changes to the economy that in many cases historical trends may be very wrong.” Now at the nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF), Dorrer and his research partners have created a better way: They analyze online job postings in real time to extract the skills employers are asking for right now, then work with community colleges to make sure their students are being prepared to deliver. Although JFF doesn’t yet work with local schools, Dorrer ran the Massachusetts numbers, mining nearly 100,000 unique postings for the three months ending February 14.


Number of openings, job title, and mean Massachusetts salary:

3,662 Software Application Developers $98,400


2,594 Computer Programmers $90,620

1,984 Wholesale and Manufacturing Salespeople $95,910

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1,862 Retail Salespeople $26,180

1,799 Computer Systems Analysts $88,710

1,749 Registered Nurses $84,990


1,720 Retail Supervisors $42,850

1,432 Administrative Assistants $51,410

1,340 Marketing Managers $135,710

1,291 Information Technology Project Managers $134,380


Number of retail salespeople expected to be employed in this state by 2018, a decline of 3.5% from 2008


Number of RNs expected to be employed here by 2018, an increase of nearly 18%


Ranking of marketing managers on the list of the state’s highest-paying jobs


Registered nurse

First aid/CPR

Project management professional

Commercial driver’s license

Occupational therapist


These days, John Dorrer says, “putting a portfolio of skills together is far more important than qualifying for a particular job title.” Occupations may disappear, but their underlying skills are transferable.

9,428 jobs need wither SQL, Java, or Oracle programming skills

4,945 jobs need sales skills

4,677 jobs need scheduling or other administrative support skills

3,782 jobs need accounting skills

2,374 jobs need math skills

Sources: Jobs for the Future and Burning Glass International; Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics and Long-Term Occupational Projections, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
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