Middle-Skills Workers Are in Demand, But Are Companies Hiring?

Electrician builder at work inspecting cabling connection of high voltage power electric line in industrial distribution fuseboa
GettyElectricians make up a portion of the middle-skills workers expected to be in demand the next few years.

Ever heard of a "middle-skills" job? Yes? No? Outside of the career world, it isn't the most familiar term, referring not to jobs that are semi-specialized (or ask you to complete tasks using only your gut), but ones that require more than a high school education, but not a four-year college degree.

If you aren't familiar with them yet, you may be soon. According to a new survey from Accenture, 73 percent of U.S. companies expect the demand for middle-skills jobs to tick up significantly over the next two years. Sound like a good thing? It is. But here's the catch: right now, those same companies are struggling to find people with the kinds of qualifications we're talking about.

First, some clarity as to what a middle-skills job actually entails. Here's a random smattering of careers that fit the bill: painter, electrician, dental hygienist, motorboat mechanic, paralegal, air traffic controller, computer support specialist. They're the types of jobs that require training, but no bachelor's degree, and typically pay a reasonable living wage.