A highly skilled, motivated workforce.

O.K., so a lot of states revel in similar hyperbole. We’re not here to compare ourselves to others or so say that we’re head and shoulders above the rest.

Instead, we’ll let the facts (remember those?) speak for themselves.

We’ll start with some interesting numbers. Nearly 92% of residents are high school graduates,  37.3% have a Bachelors degree or higher, and three-fourths of the students at the state’s largest university call Washington home after graduation. Incredibly, more than a quarter of people who live in the greater Seattle area have an advanced degree.

Even more impressive, Washington has 34.9% more college graduates than the state’s educational system produces. The state is a major draw of top-tier talent from all over the country and abroad.

This isn’t surprising, given that Washington boasts a national laboratory (one of only 10 in the U.S.) and six public universities, including the University of Washington and Washington State University, and endless career opportunities.

The state has 27 private colleges and universities, 34 com­munity and technical colleges (13 offer four-year degrees) and integrated workforce training programs that are focused on the needs of Washington’s high-growth industry sectors: aerospace, agriculture/food manufacturing, clean technology, forest products, life science/global health, maritime and information and communication technology.

Our culture of creativity encourages a lifetime of learning. In addition to formal education, you’ll find that the Washington state workforce has a passion for learning that extends far beyond the classroom and into the community at large. Innovative public-private partnerships in the areas of continuing education and ongoing training yield a state workforce that is highly engaged, highly motivated and versed in the latest technologies and skills.

Perhaps that’s why libraries and indy bookstores are still so popular here. It’s in our amazingly superior DNA (sorry, had some extra hyperbole to use).

Following is a brief overview of Washington’s workforce:


Minimum Wage $16.28/hour (Jan. 2024)  
Average Commute (statewide) 27.9 minutes  
Average Commute (Puget Sound area) 31 minutes  
Adults with High School Diploma 91.9%  
Adults with a Bachelor Degree 37.3%  
Adults with a Graduate Degree 13.9%  
S&E Workers (% of workforce) 5.83%  
Engineers (% of workforce) 1.72%  
S&E Degrees (as % of total degrees conferred) 32.9%  

A leg up on the competition

As any business knows, a highly skilled, expert workforce can be the competitive edge that you’ve been looking for. Washington’s workers can step in and contribute right from the get-go, maximizing production, reducing time to market, lowering costs and driving profitability.

Washington’s labor force has grown 3.9% per year over the last several years, compared to the 2% nationally. The state’s population grew as well, adding an estimated 158,100 new residents since the 2020 census, a 1.3% increase..

Workforce By Industry

Manufacturing: 295,931
Technology: 350,000
Aerospace: 136,100
Maritime: 69,500
Clean Tech: 56,000
Life Science: 36,000


High School: 91.9%
Some College: 23.95%
Associate Degree: 9.64%
Bachelor Degree: 37.3%
Graduate Degree: 13.9%

Age of Workforce

20-29: 13.84%
30-39: 13.99%
40-49: 12.64%
50-59: 13.2%
60-64: 6.2%


Male: 49.97%
Female: 50.03%


White Collar: 64%
Blue Collar: 35%

office hours

M-F: 8am - 5pm


2001 Sixth Ave., Suite 2600, Seattle, WA  98121


(206) 256-6100