The New Bachelor’s Payoff

from Inside Higher Ed

Doubts about the labor-market returns of bachelor’s degrees, while never serious, can be put to rest.

Last month’s federal jobs report showed a rock-bottom unemployment rate of 2.8 percent for workers who hold at least a four-year degree. The overall unemployment rate is 5.7 percent.

But even that welcome economic news comes with wrinkles. A prominent financial analyst last week signaled an alarm that employers soon may face a shortage of job-seeking college graduates. And the employment report was a reminder of continuing worries about “upcredentialing” by employers, who are imposing new degree requirements on jobs.

“Presumably, these educated workers are the most productive in our information economy,” wrote Guy LeBas, a financial analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, in a report Bloomberg Businessand other media outlets cited. “At some point in the coming year, we’re going to risk running out of new, productive people to employ.”

Anthony P. Carnevale concurred with LeBas. As director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and a top expert on the labor-market returns of degrees, Carnevale has long railed against dubious arguments about the payoff from college being overrated.

“We’re headed for full employment” of bachelor’s-degree-holding workers, he said.

More here.

, , ,

27 Responses to The New Bachelor’s Payoff

  1. Chris Chau February 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    As some of the comments upon the main article have pointed out, this does not include the number of people with bachelor’s degrees who have settled for lower wage entry level jobs because of difficulty finding employment. The credentials required for certain types of work are increasing. Some entry level jobs require a degree now. Is it because jobs are becoming more “advanced” with the use of technology and require more knowledge from the worker in order to operate properly or are the credentials only used to screen applicants? In the past, I have noticed some companies post job offerings requiring applicants to have four years of experience working with a particular program or application, but the software had only came out in one or two years.

    A potential reason that jobs nowadays require more than just a high school diploma is because they involve more then they did a number of years ago. One of the few reasons I believe going to college is required is that high school does not teach you the essentials you need to know in your daily life. College covers important topics such as how to invest, manage your finances, how to fill out tax forms, how things happening around the world and at home can affect you, and it introduces you to a large amount of people with diverse backgrounds, thereby exposing you to more than just the local environment you are familiar with. This also raises another issue. Should an individual continue to spend their money to further their education on a subject just to gain a piece of paper in order to be considered for a job when they have reached a point in their studies where there is nothing more to learn in a conventional classroom and the classes they are taking all seem to be reiterating the same thing?

  2. Marlon Gonzalez-Perez February 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Going into a new internship every semester has shed light on the value of my four year bachelor degree. It seems as if all the information I’ve retained from the university has proven to provide no practical applications when in the professional setting, mainly the value lies in the networking and notoriety of the university name as well as the conversation topic which comes up regarding who went where during undergrad.

    My practical experience with internships is what makes me a desirable employee. Its somewhat disheartening to have the statistics prove that I am more of a number than anything else. My education and experiences are what add value to me. But, how practical is my philosophy course when creating an excel sheet for a data set. The companies already have set methods and provide on-site training. The degree is mainly the way in which we get our foot into the door.

    This is the underlying issue, education is not providing us with the necessary tools to succeed because the market continues to evolve and change too fast for higher education to keep up. There will be a gap which must be filled by training and logical application of work and resolution skills. An employer loves nothing more than a self-sustaining employee who figures out how to do certain things than to ask for help every time a situation arises.

  3. Mallory February 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    The article, “The New Bachelor’s Degree Payoff” written by Paul Fain, details a new dilemma in the workforce- a potential shortage of job seekers with bachelor’s degrees. I find this to be a very interesting statement as there seems to be many unemployed recent college graduates. However, Fain cites the Director of Georgetown University Center of Education as explaining that: “Since 1983, the job market has outpaced higher education with a cumulative total of 11 million positions for workers with ‘usable knowledge,’ which he defines as ‘degrees with labor-market value’.” This useable knowledge generally relates to the “STEM” fields, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

    One could draw the conclusion from this article that there is not a shortage of people with bachelors degrees but rather a shortage students with majors in employable fields. I would concur with this thought as most people that I know who have been unable to obtain employment in their field of study are history, art, communications, interior design, and philosophy majors. While these are all interesting majors, these are generally not highly employable fields. I think there needs to be an emphasis in encouraging students to major in marketable fields such as the STEM majors.

  4. BetaneliC February 16, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

    It is not surprising that unemployment for bachelor’s degree holders is low and I agree, as does the data currently available, with Anthony Carnevale’s support for earning a bachelor’s degree because there is clear evidence of a correlation between education attainment and earnings. The graph that was particularly interesting to me was the Rising Earning’s Disparity Between Young Adults With and Without a College Degree. In this graph it is clear to see that a four-year college degree has continued to prove its value from one generation to the next, in fact improving its value from one generation to the next. There is an important question we have to ask ourselves; for those with a two-year degree and high school graduates are seeing a decline from one generation to the next in average earnings. It makes sense that a bachelor’s degree would bring higher earnings than less education, but why have two year degrees and high school diploma’s not seen improvement in earnings in the last three generations? Why are they less valuable than they once were? Is it that the skills earned at this level of educational attainment are not aligned with our current job market?

    Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain also brings another important issue to the table, the supply and demand for a bachelor’s educated workforce. If we are running out of the employees businesses are looking for, how do we address it? Do policy recommendations like the recent Community College initiative put forth by President Obama help increase the supply?

    • Dyanira Custodio February 19, 2015 at 11:27 am #

      The unemployment rate for you people with their four year bachelors degree is getting higher and higher. It is very unfortunate that those who are working so hard to prepare themselves for the real world, in most cases are not even able to find employment. The saddest part of it all is that most of these students work so hard sometimes even holding 2 jobs just to get through their college years to pay off the college expenses. For those who do not receive financial aid, nor help from their parents are left with the burden of finding a full time job working over time just to keep up with college payments and student loans.

      There you are a twenty year old student, putting yourself through college, spending sleepless nights studying and maybe even working overnights in order to afford tuition, and once you graduate you cannot find employment. It is sad but it is the truth. This also explains why many drop out or decide not even to attend college in the first place.

  5. Brittany Martins February 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    Unfortunately, it is not surprising that this article highlights the ever-growing unemployment rate for recent undergraduate students. It’s such a shame to see these young 20-somethings, excited from graduation and recent internship experiences, without a job. It is not enough to just have a bachelor’s degree anymore. When I was in high school, staff members would emphasize the importance for college and bachelor’s degree because, “it wasn’t enough to have a high school diploma anymore”. And, the graph that is provided in this article shows just that. Those who just have a high school diploma are earning significantly less than those who hold a bachelor’s degree.

    This is a vicious cycle and I think the requirements for occupations are exceeding and growing at a much faster pace than higher education can manage. Personally, this is due in part on the impracticality of college teachings. While I understand that is “necessary” to have general education classes to enhance our learning, how will it help us with attaining job? I can confidently that out of the two years I have been at SHU, only 4-5 classes have been of any true value to me. And that is not okay. The emphasis of higher education should be how they can rearrange the curriculum so that students have a higher potential of employment, instead of allowing for students to grow and decide on what they love. That is all well and nice, but growth and love don’t pay the bills.

  6. Brendan Lloyd February 18, 2015 at 8:48 am #

    It once was that a bachelor’s degree would be plenty to get you a job but that is not the case anymore. As jobs are becoming more complicated and requiring more difficult tasks and the bare minimum does not cut it anymore. Due to advances people must be more knowledgeable now than ever before. If you can’t keep up with what is being asked of you there are plenty more who are perfectly capable. Four years of college is no longer enough for you to be successful and wealthy in the world. Now a days it takes much more expertise in your field for a business or corporation to take you and for you to play an important role. At times you wonder if college is actually teaching us what we need to succeed in the rule world. You might have been taught to do something one way but your new employer wants it the exact opposite which basically erases all your years of schooling.
    The best thing you can show your future employer is that you are a well rounded individual and that will be able to solve things on their own. But if you are not being shown the right ways than how can you do that on your own. The work place is changing on a daily basis but I do not think school are following that same trend causing job seekers to be unprepared. It is time for schools to get rid of core classes that every student as to take. When a student enters college they should declare a major and start classes that relate to that as soon as possible. Over a four year span you will know that much more if you take this route compared to what they are doing now.

  7. Joseph Keppler February 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    I thought that this article was extremely interesting because it goes against the conventional idea that the value of a bachelors degree is worthless. I have heard so many people say that that if you want to get anywhere in the world you need to have a lot more education such as maters degrees or even phd’s. The article of “The New bachelor’s Payoff” tells us that the amount of students that have bachelors degrees are constantly being scooped up and soon employers are going to run out of the number of graduates with four year degrees to employ.

    • Joseph Keppler February 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

      Continued….

      From this article it appears to me that the value of a bachelors degree is rising. In no way am I saying that a bachelors degree will get you the same paycheck as someone with a masters degree but a bachelors degree is a strong and rising investment. Employers are not expecting their new employees to come in onto the job with all of the knowledge that they will ever need, they are expecting recent graduates to have the capacity to learn when they are taught something new. Training employees and investing time into them has also been on the rise for a while now.

      Many recent graduates are entering the STEM field that are highly technical and require strong analytical skills. Employers in this field want to hire and then teach each of their new workers. From the article of “The Bachelors Degree Payoff” it tells us employers spend $590 billion dollars annually on training their employees. The bachelors degree is essentially a tool that shows an employers that for four years this individual was determined and capable of learning and succeeding. The idea that more and more graduates with bachelors degrees is exciting especially when there so many instances of people telling young adults that the return on investment of this degree is small to none.

  8. Gustavo Gonzalez February 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    As a pending college graduate this article by Paul Fain, “The New Bachelor’s Payoff,” is a surprise and relief to me. The reason for this new found relief, is due to the fact that since I was a junior in high school all I have ever heard was that getting a job out if college was near impossible to get and that a bachelors would not cut it for some employers. The figures and graphs detailing decade’s long results of wage and unemployment provide proof to what was being said to me and many other future college graduates. The idea that the future will be one where a BA or B.S. will put you at a level where a high school diploma once held, is not surprising.

    First off as we progress as a country or society more and more qualified workers will be needed to bring innovative ideas to the work place. There are many reasons as to why the world needs more highly educated workers. One may be due to the fact that we do not wish to repeat mistakes that have put the economy in depression like conditions. By this I mean that banks and Wall Street financial firms will be looking for the best and brightest to take the initiative to prevent a collapse in the economy that will leave our country devastated for many years.

    Now this article sheds some light on the situation for recent and future four-year college grads. Fain states that a prominent financial analyst “signaled an alarm that employers soon may face a shortage of job-seeking college graduates.” this is great news for recent and upcoming college graduates because that means employers are actively hiring, which is indicative of a strong and promising economy. Another promising fact for those with a bachelor’s degree is that employers spend much more money training them on the job because they see promise in these college graduates. Lastly, the best news of all is that there seems to be a trend of higher wage earnings that will continue to rise in the coming years.

  9. Zack Lisanti February 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    This article is extremely eye opening. In todays day and age the job market has been skewed by several different factors. All of those factors have added up to make it extremely difficult to find a high paying job. When young people go to look for jobs, their credentials play much more into effect than ever before. This means that more education and qualifications lead to more chance of getting a high paying job.

    The unemployment rate for people as a whole is 5.7%. That is a pretty solid number to have for a country as large as the US. When you look at how well the people who have college education, that number shoots down to 2.8%. A college degree cuts the unemployment rate in half! That fact alone is astounding. Also these educated workers overall cost less to train because of their higher education, even though they in most cases take more complex jobs.

    Another really eye opening part of this article was when you talked of the massive difference between people who have the Bachelors degree versus the people who do not. It is widely understood that if you go to college you will over the course of your life make much more money than if you had not. This article shares that The median earnings of a person between the ages of 35-32 is just $28,000 a year for someone who graduated high school, whilst someone who has a bachelors degree at the same age will be making $45,500. Right out of school a person with a degree will make around that much money. That is a stellar starting point, especially when paired with a low unemployment rate.

    This article puts facts to the statement that college is worth it.

  10. Kevin Giron February 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    After reading this article “The New Bachelor’s Payoff” I was delightfully surprised to read that employers may soon face a shortage of job-seeking graduates. I remember a few years back many of my teachers in high school would always remind students that a bachelors degree wasn’t enough to ensure us with a job straight out of college. I always heard that it was tough for college students to find jobs out of college and that we would need to get our masters degree because eventually our bachelors degree wouldn’t cut it anymore.

    In this article the uses a graph to show the risings earnings disparity between young adults with and without a degree. Over the years the annual earnings among full-time workers has grown considerably. What the graph leaves out are the earnings of those with a masters degree. In my economics course this semester my professor showed us that the higher the degree we get the less of a difference we will begin to see. A masters degree will get you a higher income than a bachelors degree but the gap wouldn’t be nearly as big as the gap between those with and without a degree. Same goes for PhD, there would be a small increase in the amount they get paid as compared to a masters degree.

    Reading this article has given me a bit of peace of mind knowing that there will be opportunities in the workforce once I graduate. A bachelor’s degree is usually the starting point for jobs and many companies are looking to replace their workers without degrees with those who do. That with a virtually nonexistent unemployment rate shows that many people need bachelor’s degrees in order to standout in the working world.

  11. Robert Morrison February 20, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    The fact presented in this article, that fact that the private sector is actually desperate need for people with a four year degree and that there is even a shortage of people coming from college is a fact very surprising for me. What the common misconception is, and one that myself had is that the job market for people just graduating college is a very competitive one, and that jobs are hard to come by as global competition has made made jobs even more scarce.

    This lack of people with a four year degrees makes going to college a commodity that many people will begin to consider attainging, instead of getting a job straight out of high school. The fact that people who graduated college make nearly double of those who didn’t in their first job, and that getting a job is made easier after you graduate will make more people consider getting loans and investing their time and money into a college education. This means that college will now make more economic sense to those who would be reluctant to take on a substansial amount of loans to pay for the education, as once they graduate this loans will be minute compared to the advantages gained by having a college education. This stimulate the economy as more people will be spending money, and will make education levels of the people in this country even higher.

    With the addition of more college educated people in this country, America will be able to compete better as the job market heads to more of a global market, and its citizens will be able to take advantage of the opportunities given by the expansive global marketplace. This boost of college educated individuals could be what cements America as the dominant global superpower in times to come, and could provide a bright future for many generations to come.

  12. Daniel Hernandez February 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    One of the reasons I am currently in college is because most employers today consider a bachelor’s degree a prerequisite for gaining employment in their company. Our country is going through a complete remodeling, especially after the financial crisis of 2008. The job market is not the same, and many people are still struggling to find jobs. I know a number of people who decided to return to school because their job prospects were bleak with only a high school diploma. The fact is that in today’s world you need a bachelor’s degree to find a career.

    Job security is one of the things employees worry about the most, so reading that the unemployment rate for individuals holding at least a bachelor’s degree is 2.8 percent is a huge breath of fresh air. If you are someone who holds a college degree at least you can feel relieved that you have some sort of job security. This security might not be in the job you currently hold, but it is comforting to know that regardless of your current employment, there are jobs out there available to college graduates.

    While reading “The New Bachelor’s Payoff”, I was quite surprised to read that: “A prominent financial analyst last week signaled an alarm that employers soon may face a shortage of job-seeking college graduates”. Our current unemployment rate stands at 5.7 percent, with the unemployment rate for college graduates significantly lower at 2.8 percent. Anthony P. Carnevale of Georgetown University Center on Education has stated that bachelor degree holders are “headed for full employment”. This implies that every college graduate will be employed.

    The article also states that more jobs contain stricter education and training requirements. To put a pessimistic spin, or play devil’s advocate with the information provided by the article; what happens when everyone holds a bachelor’s degree? It is impossible to have full employment then. While it is fantastic that unemployment for college graduates is much lower than the nation’s average, I do not see this as a growing trend. With the advancement of technology, there will be less jobs available, and having more qualified candidates with bachelor’s degrees and less jobs will lead to a higher unemployment rate; this is the path I envision for the job market.

  13. Walker J. Mondt February 20, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Recently, it has seemed that every article or report about the economy has been negative. This article provides a positive outlook which is comforting to read. It is true that many people in today’s world weigh the options of either going to college or simply entering the workforce. This is a reasonable thought because of how hard it is to make money nowadays. People wonder if it is worth all of the money he or she spends on education.

    Well this article provides the proof that a Bachelor’s degree does pay off. The part that stood out to me was the rate of unemployment for those with a Bachelor’s degree was 2.8%. I would have imagined that would be a lot higher. I also thought it was interesting when the article described how the knowledge economy jobs grow 3% each year and higher education only meets 1% of that. The negative point the article does bring up about stagnant wages does raise concern. While inflation continues to rise, wages are not, thus holding back the economy. Something should be done to promote the increase in salaries across the board.

    Attending college is the correct choice. I believe this strongly which is why I chose to attend a four-year university. In the end, it does pay off and it is the only way to move up into higher paying jobs.

  14. Emmanuel Akinsehinwa February 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    Being from a low income family, Ive grown with the mindset of money means everything. I don’t mean that literally but generally. When your brought up in struggle your never thinking “oh this is the house i want to raise my kids up in when i get older”. Instead your mind set is always, and I do mean always, “I HAVE TO GET OUT”. Your entire life your dreaming of ways to get out and no matter where you are or what your into when this is your situation; one of your ways to make it out is school. Higher education to be exact. We know that it brings knowledge but more importantly, to me it brings opportunity. The opportunity to have a stable life as well as to potentially land a stable well paying job, post graduation.
    The problem wit this dream however is the money. Now not every single person is an excellent student so that rules out scholarships and financial aid is the only way. Now the problem with that is not all of the financial aid is free.. you gotta pay that stuff back so your main focus is when i graduate i need a good job. But the article sites that of recent degree pay has been stagnant. This in my opinion is because of the thr great recession which the economy got through in 2007-08. This as anyone can see is a problem. The whole process of this used to scare me cause up until my reading of this article i thought the job economy would continue to get worst. But with the growth rate of bachelor degrees climbing as they are i’m more confident in my push to finish my higher learning. This growth as cited in the article is mostly due to employers push for more educated employees. Now with jobs replacing employees with new more educated hires, degrees have increased in value.

  15. Guillermo Garcia February 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    This article was interesting to me, because we have been constantly hearing about how many college students graduate with degrees but cannot find jobs. We have heard the stories of college graduates settling for lesser jobs due to this fact. Even when i was passing my security license last week our instructor told us he had, a student that was graduated in biology and was a biophysicist, but he couldn’t find a job.

    It seems that in these college graduate students not being able to find the jobs and having to settle, now the jobs will become available as there starting to be in increase in the demand. It puzzles me, but it’s great news in general, it will be good that a degree is worth something again as many people put everything they have financially, and emotionally in getting a degree. I cannot imagine the pain and frustration that must come with studying hard getting the degree than not being able to get the job of a level you have deserved and earned. This is good news for current college students that will graduate soon. Also for the younger kids, who maybe thought higher education would not be worth it since there was no jobs. Seeing that a degree now has its value again is and has always been an incentive to come to universities if not for just the pure want to learn more.

  16. Anna February 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    As a more-recent college graduate (class of 2011) re-entering the job market, I was certainly encouraged to see that the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree is now down to 2.8 percent, half of the unemployment rate for the whole adult population in the U.S and the lowest since September 2008 (via Inside Higher Ed, https://insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/02/09/so-much-bachelors-degrees-not-having-value). The article stated that although this was the case, our society would come close to reaching maximum employment for individuals matching these qualifications and would need to look to others to groom to fill this gap. It outlined further bias towards those with a bachelor’s vs. those without, including training provided to employees on the job based on what degrees they hold.

    Employers spend upwards of $590 billion annually to train workers, with $413 billion paid for informal or on-the-job training that might or might not be specialized in a certain discipline. A higher percentage of this training goes to those that already hold a degree: 58% of an employer’s annual training budget goes to those currently possessing bachelor’s degrees versus 17-25% of training allocated to those with only a HS diploma or associate’s degree. This form of education is often viewed as something that “complements, rather than substitutes for, a traditional college education.” At the same time, this can be trouble for those without a bachelor’s that are still looking to improve their skills and grow in the workplace; those with lower or no degrees are often passed over or replaced for candidates possessing at least a bachelor’s, too. Critics, such as Richard Vedder from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and Econimics department at Ohio University, argue that “an oversupply of bachelor’s degrees creates its own demand” (via Inside Higher Ed, https://insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/11/bachelors-degrees-lead-employment-and-more-training)

    Although I hold a bachelor’s, I have still faced “upcredentialing” in my recent and past job searches. Per the article, this is when employers impose advanced degree requirements on job seekers although the role might not require it based on a description and other requirements. I would throw in number of years of experience into consideration with that, too, since a number of entry-level or non-management level positions that I have applied to in the past have required years of experience not seemingly aligned with the title and responsibilities of the position. While I know that this is certainly intended to weed out grossly misclassified or unqualified candidates (sophomores that are really looking for an internship or co-op but accidentally apply for a senior management position, as an extreme example), I applaud the employers that have the confidence to wholly exclude or only include minimal qualifications for the education and experience background ideal candidate. It is possible for the quality of an individual’s experience to speak volumes over an advanced degree or number of years on paper.

  17. Chun C February 23, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    This article talks about the gap between demand for higher-educated workers and college graduates “supply” annually. As noted in the article, the supply can’t meet the demand. But it is really interesting that I heard a lot about graduates can’t be employed. After reading the full article, I found one reason that may answer the question. Employers are seeking workers with usable knowledge which defined as “degrees with labor-market value”. As cited in the article “colleges lagging badly in producing talent”. That means there are some graduates who are not qualified to work in business. The glad thing is that employers seem to prefer training workers and they are more likely to replace workers who do not have bachelor’s degrees with those who do due to the changing workforce requirement.
    When the situation comes to us, the problem is that how can we become the qualified workers. We have to get used to the changing environment like updating technology and fast working pace. Additionally, the economic environment shows that workers with a bachelor’s degree still have bigger ROI than those who do not although there was a financial recession. The graph in the article illustrates that the earnings of young adults with a college degree is constantly increasing while earnings of young adults without a college degree is dropping year by year. This also tells us that the developing technology is changing the workforce.

  18. Zhonghao Jiang February 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    Employment rate is the most important factor for students who just graduate from college. Also, people believe the four-year degree will help you to find a better job. However, according to the data from this article, unemployment rate for workers who has a bachelor degree is not low at all. This fact makes people think it over that college graduates is not as good as the worker who has three to four years’ experience for some enterprises.
    First, as I’m a MBA student, I believe our education system offers us essential knowledge and skills which we can use at work in future. Students can learn something which improves them to become better, not only the skill to survive, but also the logical thinking, critical thinking which is much more important. But companies do not like to hire graduates.
    I think most of companies don’t want spend too much money and time to train new employees. So it is really attractive to hire a worker who worked in another company for two years. They are familiar with the new work and they know how to do it better. However, if you hire a student from college, you have to give him time to learn how to work which is not help the company moving forward, but lose resource.
    We know everyone know need time to be trained. We can move this step up which is internship or training in school. It can let students learn more about what they will do in a company. Also it will spend less time for a company to train their new employees.

  19. Lingyi Kong February 23, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

    I agree with the main idea this article pointed out. This article pointed out employers soon may face a shortage of job-seeking college graduates and the payoff from college being overrated. The situation of the undergraduates facing is higher unemployment rate and lower wages. Because the requirements from employers are becoming stricter. The employers require new employees to learn more advanced knowledge and more experience. Fortunately, the demand for bachelor degree holders is not decreasing.
    I can understand why employers have to train the workers and a lower degree than four-year college degree may can’t finish the works right now. Because the technology is upgrading so fast. I can’t imaging that I even didn’t know how to use some of the Microsoft office software when I just entered the college. So if we want to find a good job when we graduate from college, we still need more training.

  20. Arman Sandhu March 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Education is one of the greatest things that has been cultivated and developed from debatably the 10th century. The fact that every American is entitled to some form of education is a peak in human progression. If all of our students are educated it produces better individuals who can generate greater profit. This is a great plan for future success especially the way Inside Higher Ed has highlighted. However, as Newton said every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

    The fact that bachelor degrees have become dimes a dozen has produced an unsafe situation for those not economically prepared to invest in education. This hand that is softly pushing all Americans toward education may end up hurting rather than helping many. Many Americans are dropping out of college, and are now being left with no job. While at the same time there is constantly a demand for greater education. This leads to an unfortunate state of inequality.

    There is an eerie feeling that without a bachelor’s degree, there is no hope for a job. This is almost certainly right. Many individuals find themselves in a cold world where minimum wage jobs at Walmart, or Toys-r-us are being given to students graduating college. This situation in itself is a form of inequality. Demand for bachelor degrees is high even among brand name convenience stores. However, those with little economic wealth find themselves dodging college in hopes to make some form of income to get through their dilemma.

    At the same time the bar for education is constantly being raised. Those with an education find themselves competing against others in hopes to get a slightly better paying job. This system of opportunism builds a larger gap between those with and without a college education. For these reasons the statistics seem nice, however, numbers are not people. Numbers sadly do not represent the human factor but a profit factor that seems to leak into the employment market often.

  21. Mike D March 30, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    Upon seeing the numbers, I was actually surprised by the numbers referring to employees with a bachelor’s degree and the amount of training they need compared to those with limited college or less. As every current student knows, the job market is very slow for recent graduates. Many starting positions require working experience, thus excluding the fresh crop of workers who have nothing but a bachelor’s degree. It is very refreshing to hear that once again, the demand for us as a whole will increase and we will be able to get the jobs we seek.
    I think one of the reasons why employers train their employees who hold a bachelor’s degree so much is because of their lack of experience. They are now able to mold the new employee into their ideal image of a productive part of their company and create a stronger working core.

  22. Lisa P. April 5, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    This was a really interesting article that discussed how obtaining a bachelors has benefits that far outweigh the costs. I find it comforting to see the data and the numbers showing that those with college degrees are finding jobs at a much better rate than those without. However, I think that the data is a little misleading for two reasons. First, I’m not sure how they collect the unemployment data, but I don’t think that college graduates who are looking for jobs, but have never had a job are included in that figure. I have a lot of friends that after graduating they couldn’t find a job so they either search for a job for a few months while doing something part time or decide to go to grad school. Second, there are a lot of college graduates who have jobs but those jobs aren’t college graduate level jobs. A lot of college graduates are getting jobs such as waitressing or bartending or something similar to make ends meet, but that’s not what they got their bachelors for. Also, there are jobs out there they say you need a college degree, such as doing some sort of clerical work, but starting pay is $30,000 and it’s definitely not the sort of work that people who get a college degree want to do.
    I did, however, find the statistics on job training to be a much better indicator that having your bachelors can actually pay off. On-the-job training is typically pretty expensive and if companies are willing to pay for it it’s more likely to mean that they value that employee and that employee is earning a decent wage. In the end, I do believe that in our society having a college education is a necessity or at the very least “worth it”, I just wish that it wasn’t so expensive and that there could be more guarantees that you’ll be able to start a good career after investing so much time and money.

  23. Dylan Walko April 30, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    In today’s job market there is so much going on that a lot of people feel the need to get their masters or even PhD before they even get out into the work force. But also prospective employees must realize that sometimes less is more. Having such high credentials straight out of college not only puts them in a higher wage bracket, which companies are not willing to meet, but also shows that they lack the true understanding of the work environment. A bachelor’s degree at this point in economy may in fact be the most viable option to get employment.
    Along with this, there are advantages to coming out of college after four years and a single degree. One of them is that graduate school is just another major expense that can put a student in even greater debt before they even have a job. With a lot of companies, if a job can be solidified they will pay for graduate school while the person is working, taking off a major economic hardship. Also a lot more will be gained from graduate school once there is true real world experience under the belt. Concepts and ideas will make all the more sense and can be connected with real life situations instead of simple theory.

  24. TFINN June 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    I returned to college 15 years after graduating from high school. Prior to that I had went to a Tech school, got a certification in Office Administration and had no problem finding a job right after; I worked my way up in the company and was now making a decent salary. 2009 rolls around, unemployment is at an all-time high and people are getting laid off left and right from my company. I start getting a little nervous about my future so I begin looking for another job and could not find one. I thought it would be easy because I had so many years of work experience, but that was no longer the case. Employers now had options, especially since there were hundreds of people vying for one job, so a college education now became the rule instead of just an advantage. I still have my job, but my decision to return to school was to prepare myself should I one day not.

    The article refers to the dubious arguments made by others that the payoffs from college are overrated. Susan Davis-Ali, president of a professional coaching company, states, “At its core, college prepares you to learn, to be enthusiastic about learning, to manage your time, and to work independently or with teams to solve problems. Being successful on the job takes that and so much more.” This is where the experience, on the job training and ongoing continuing education come in that the article talks about. Employers are not going to invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself. So yes, college is not enough, but it is a step that myself and others had to realize must be taken to have a chance in this new job market.

    “We’re headed for full employment” of bachelors’-degree-holding workers because that’s all employers will, in the long run, hire and those who don’t have one will be the ones making up the unemployment rate.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/31/more-than-a-college-degree/3324303/.

  25. Jordan Aharon September 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    This article really highlights the benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree. According to the author, Paul Fain, the unemployment rate of workers with bachelor’s degrees is only at 2.8 percent as of 2015. Not only are the workers with degrees more likely to get hired, but workers with degrees earn approximately $17,000 more each year. Fain also mentions in this article the billions of dollars corporations spend each year training their employees.

    The income gap between college educated workers and high school educated workers is only increasing. While college educated workers earn about $17,000 a year more now, that difference has more than doubled since 1979. Employers are also running out of bachelor’s degree holders to hire since they are nearly fully employed. As a result, their wage premiums are only going to increase. Besides for hiring recent graduates, the only other way to hire bachelor’s degree holders will be by hiring them from other companies. The easiest way to lure someone away from their current job is an increased salary.

    One surprising aspect mentioned in the article is that some companies are requiring bachelor’s degrees for jobs that typically do not require them. The employers are using it as a screening mechanism, but that could really hurt unskilled workers. If a college educated worker finds a job that does in fact require a degree, employers invest billions of dollars each year in training costs. Employers spend $590 billion annually on training costs. It seems like waste of money to invest in training new employees who just spent the last four years learning about the field they are working in. Employers though view the training as a supplement to an education.

Leave a Reply