After decades of slow wage growth, workers without a college degree have recently experienced rapid pay increases. Can these fragile gains be institutionalized in upgraded jobs? In this paper, we study how job-level changes in work tasks are associated with earnings growth for non-college workers. To do so, we use a survey to categorize job tasks by the extent they imply use of skill, on-the-job learning, discretion or social capital. We map these survey results onto the population of online job postings. We then match these coded postings to linked employer- employee earnings data. This allows us to study how individual workers’ earnings vary when the tasks associated with their job upgrade.
Nathan Wilmers is the Sarofim Family Career Development Associate Professor and an Associate Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is in the core faculty of the Institute for Work and Employment Research and affiliated with the Economic Sociology program. Wilmers researches wage and earnings inequality, economic sociology, and the sociology of labor.