Soft Skills of a Bachelors Degree Losing “Luster” in Jobs Market
The bachelor’s degree, once a possible ticket to middle-class comfort is losing its luster in the US job market.
Wages for college grads across many majors have fallen since the Y’s 2007-09 recession, according to an analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington using Census bureau figures.
Young job-seekers look to be the biggest losers.
What one studies matters for one’s salary, the data show, and many BA’s do not cut it.
Chemical and computer engineering majors have held down some of the best earnings of at least $60,000 a year for entry level positions since the recession, while business and science graduates’ paychecks have declined.
A biology major at the start of their career earned $31,000 on an annual average in Y 2015, down $4,000 from 5 years earlier.
“It has been like this for the past 5 years now,” said Ban Cheah, a research professor at Georgetown who compiled the data. “It’s a little depressing.”
The outlook for experienced graduates, aged 35 to 54, is a bit brighter, as wages have been generally stable since the crisis.
The economic premium of a bachelor’s flattened after the recession, according to a 2016 National Bureau of Economic Research paper by Robert Valletta, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Among the factors at play are advances in technology and automation, which are not only taking away US manufacturing jobs, but also having an impact on White Collar workers, Mr. Valletta found.
For example: Legal clerks and researchers are increasingly finding their jobs supplanted by computers.
Some college majors are bucking the wage-stagnation trend.
An experienced petroleum engineering major earned $179,000 a year on average in Y 2015, up $46,000 from 5 years prior, according to the Georgetown analysis.
Beyond those with special technical skills, philosophy and public policy majors have also seen their earnings rise.
The Big Q: How can you boost your career earnings potential?
The Big A: More education, a graduate’s level degree is increasingly offering the bigger salary bump. The wage gap between graduate degree-holders and undergrads has been growing.
It is important to remember that a student’s major is just 1 determinant of their future earnings potential.
The training experience from internships, debt levels and soft skills also help shape salary and job prospects.
Again, just getting a degree does not matter or cut it today, what matters are experiences and “fire” that one has.
Have a terrific weekend.