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Labor Statistics Support Business Administration Programs

Labor Statistics Support Business Administration Programs
    --April Miller and Jim Gleason

The MBAResearch Business Administration curriculum model reflects input from hundreds of individual business leaders from throughout the nation.  And, while the MBA model provides strong guidance on curriculum for Business Administration programs in entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, management, and marketing, employment data provide a different type of reference point.

We know that Business Administration is the number one declared major for first-year students in four-year colleges.  Nearly 20% of college freshmen are business majors!  This exceptional interest in college business classes would seem to be a strong argument for increasing the number of Business Administration courses in high school.  And, while college enrollment data make the case for high school business and marketing classes, employment data add still more to the argument.

In 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics made the following occupational employment projections through the year 2016:  

  • Employment in management, business, and financial occupations is projected to grow by 1.6 million jobs.  That’s additional career positions for which our Business Administrationprograms can begin preparing students.  The data:
    • In 2006, 15.4 million people were employed in these managerial fields. In 2016, the number of jobs is expected to increase 10.4% to 17.0 million.
    • Keep in mind that many of the Baby Boomers are expected to retire in the coming years. This will created millions more job openings. As a result, the total number of job openings due to industry growth and net replacements in these occupational fields is projected to be 4.6 million job positions.  That’s 4.6 million openings.  Compare this number with projections in other fields, and we have a strong argument for more and more substantive high school and college Business Administration programs.
  • Employment in business and financial operationsoccupations is projected to increase 16%.  Again, the data:
    • A total of 1.1 million new jobs will be created.
    • Employment in such occupations will grow from 6.6 million jobs to 7.7 million jobs.
    • The total number of job openings due to growth and net replacements is expected to be 2.2 million job positions.
  • Sales and related occupations are expected to grow 7.6%.
    • Employment in 2006 was 16.0 million people. By 2016, that number is expected to grow by 1.2 million to 17.2 million jobs.
    • The total number of job openings due to growth and net replacements is expected to be 6.2 million by 2016.
  • Office and administrative support occupations are projected to increase 7.2% from 24.3 million jobs to 26.1 million jobs.
    • That amounts to 1.8 million new jobs.
    • The total number of job openings due to growth and net replacements in these occupations is expected to be 7.4 million by 2016.
  • Although some STEM experts, such as those participating in the STEM Workforce Data Project, categorize market research as a STEM-related field, market research is much more closely aligned with the business-related occupational fields.  Although small in comparison with other managerial careers, market research offers both a substantial career opportunity anda strong background for other business careers.
    • The number of market and survey researchers is expected to increase 19% from 0.26 million jobs to 0.31 million jobs.
    • Total job openings due to growth and net replacements is expected to be 0.7 million jobs by 2016.
  • When these numbers are combined, it is clear that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 5.75 million new jobs to be created in business-related occupations by 2016.
  • When net replacements are added to this number, the total number of job openings in business-related occupations is projected to be 21.1 million by 2016.
  • Employment in business-related fields is expected to rise for several specific reasons, including:
    • A rise in the total number of businesses
    • An increased emphasis on customer service
    • More financial reporting regulations
    • More individuals investing in individual retirement accounts
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls out the following STEM-related occupations in its data:
    • Computer and mathematical science occupations
      • Computer and mathematical science jobs are expected to increase 24.8% by 2016, which will result in 0.8 million new jobs.
      • The total number of job openings due to growth and net replacements in these occupations is expected to be 1.6 million by 2016.  
    • Architecture and engineering occupations
      • Architecture and engineering jobs are expected to increase 10.4 % by 2016, which will result in 0.3 million new jobs.
      • Total number of job openings due to growth and net replacements is expected to be 0.9 million by 2016.  
    • Life, physical, and social science occupations
      • Life, physical, and social science jobs are expected to increase 14.4%, resulting in 0.2 million new jobs.
      • The total number of job openings due to growth and net replacements in these fields is projected to be 0.5 million by 2016.
  • Therefore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 1.3 million new jobs to be created in STEM-related occupations by 2016.
  • When net replacements are added to this number, the total number of job openings in STEM-related occupations is projected to be 3 million by 2016.


Although few would question the importance of STEM-related careers, nor the need for better teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math, it should be apparent that far more of our high school student population will find careers in business than will enter the STEM world.

As school administrators make decisions about local Career-Tech (CTE) programs, and as policymakers consider the nature of both academic and CTE curricula, all need to consider the interests of our teens and the likelihood of any given curriculum having real impact on their futures.  When college and employment data are considered, the need for strong Business Administration curricula, including entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, management/administration, and marketing, should be readily apparent.

April Miller, Senior Research Associate, MBAResearch, compiled data for this article.  Her sources included:

Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. (n.d.). STEM employment forecasts and distributions among employment sectors. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
Dohm, A., & Shniper, L. (2007, November). Occupational employment projections to 2016. Monthly Labor Review, 86-105.

James R. Gleason, Ph.D., is President/CEO of MBAResearch and Curriculum Center.