High and low wage professions could be eclipsing middle-wage jobs, and could continue to do so over the next five years, according to a new study by CareerBuilder.

Focusing on 774 occupations in the US, Careerbuilder found that high-wage and low-wage occupations are expected to have the highest net job growth from 2018 to 2023 at 5.71% and 5.69%, respectively. Meanwhile, middle wage employment is expected to grow significantly less, at 3.83%.

For the study, CareerBuilder defined low-wage jobs as those that pay $14.17 or less per hour, middle-wage jobs as $14.18-$23.59 per hour, and high-wage jobs as $23.24 per hour.

Although the number of jobs in the US is expected to increase by 8,310,003 from 218 to 2023, only a quarter will be middle-wage jobs such as customer-service representatives, medical assistants and construction labourers.

Furthermore, of the expected job loss of 369,879 jobs over the same time period, the majority will come from the middle-wage bracket, making up 75 of the 121 occupations expected to experience a decline.

Decline of middle-wage jobs attributed to technology

The shrinking of the number of middle-wage occupations has been attributed in part to the growth of STEM-related occupations (science, technology, engineering and math), particularly tech-related professions, which continue to dominate fast-growing occupations.

CEO of CareerBuilder Irina Novoselsky believes that employers must provide training for workers so that they can compete in a changing job market:

“Technology innovation is moving at an unprecedented rate and is rapidly redefining the occupations and skills required in the job market. Most of the fastest-growing occupations have a technical component to them. Employers will need to play a greater role in providing competency-based training to the workforce.

“At the same time, workers across all job levels will need to continually pursue opportunities to upskill in order to maneuver around accelerated shifts in labour demand. This is a particularly pressing issue for middle-wage workers who are at greater risk for becoming displaced and workers in general who want to move up into better-paying jobs.”