Operations Management: One of the Top Two Academic Programs for Employment, Gray Associates Analysis Shows

Operations Management and Supervision tied for the title of the academic program with the best employment opportunities for college graduates nationwide, according to an analysis by Gray Associates, a higher education strategy consulting firm.  To identify the winners, Gray scored over 1,400 academic programs on their employment potential using metrics on total employment, job openings, job postings and wages from Burning Glass Technologies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Community Survey and the U.S. Department of Education.

“Employment is a critical dimension of program evaluation that college and university leaders and faculty should use to assess their academic program portfolios,” said Gray CEO Robert Atkins.  “However, institutions cannot rely solely on BLS data to get a reliable picture of the job market.”

Because it is based on a survey, BLS employment data is always a year or two out of date by the time it is published and used, Mr. Atkins explained.  In addition, BLS growth forecasts are usually off by 50 percent or more.  “That is why we combine BLS with Burning Glass Technologies’ job postings, American Community Survey data on wages, and other sources to provide a more complete and current picture of employer’s needs.”

For Operations Management and Supervision the labor market sources agree.  Burning Glass Technologies counts 144,336 job postings in the most recent quarter; 98 percent of academic programs have fewer job postings.  The BLS estimate of 941,033 people employed in this field is also in the top two percent.  Mr. Atkins observed, “When two sources, like BLS and Burning Glass, both place a program in the top two percent, decision-makers can be more confident that a program offers real employment opportunities for their graduates.”

Where do employers need Operations Management and Supervision majors?  The Core-Based Statistical Areas that include New York and Los Angeles have the highest employer demand.  The overall employer demand score for New York and Los Angeles was double that for other large U.S. markets, such as Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco.  “Before making programmatic decisions, college leaders should invest in data on their local markets, which may be quite different from the national market, or even the rest of their state,” Mr. Atkins advises.

Among the job postings for Operations Management and Supervision that stated an education requirement, 59 percent asked for a bachelor’s degree.  The most frequently cited skill clusters were people management, 44 percent; Microsoft Office and productivity tools, 39 percent, and scheduling, 30 percent.

“People often associate Operations Management with manufacturing,” said Mr. Atkins.  “These days, the companies hiring the most Operations Management graduates tend to be financial services firms and retailers.”  The top five employers in the field were:  J.P. Morgan Chase Co., 1,427 postings; CVS Caremark, 1,215; Staples, 1,065; Mitsubishi, 831, and Citigroup, 770.  The top 10 employers combined accounted for only 1.8 percent of total job postings­, meaning the job opportunities are dispersed across hundreds of employers.

Rounding out the top 10 programs for employment opportunities were Nursing, which tied with Operations Management, followed by Advertising, Criminal Justice, Medicine, and Special Education and Teaching.  Slightly behind the top 5 were Computer Science, Educational Leadership and Administration, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Pharmacy.

Download the full report here:  https://info.grayassociates.com/grayreports-july-2017-student-and-employer-demand-trends-webcast-download

About Gray Associates

Gray Associates, Inc. is a higher education consulting firm.  We help clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies to maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.  Gray uses proprietary analytical techniques and an industry-leading database combining information on inquiry volumes, demographics, competition, and employment, to help faculty and school leadership develop institutional strategies, select programs, pick locations, and prepare curricula.

Media contact: 

Ellis Simon, 516-524-6804, esimon@optonline.net

Company contact:
Mark Keleher, 617-366-2831, mark.keleher@grayassociates.com

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Gray Associates, Inc. is a software and services firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.

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