Posts tagged ‘Center on Education and the Workforce’

November 27, 2013

College graduates who majored in fine arts are not doomed to a life of poverty

by Grace

Most fine-arts college graduates are doing fine.

There’s a widely held conception that people who earn degrees in the fine arts — painting, sculpture, dance, music, theater, among others — are throwing money away on a degree that can reap no long-term benefits. But the fact is that a fine-arts degree is no real hindrance to making a decent living in the real world.

Maybe most won’t be rich, but they can enjoy a middle-class life.

The Wall Street Journal reports on a 2011 study from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, in which it found that the median income of recent fine-arts graduates was a respectable $42,000 and that the unemployment rate for those recent graduates was a better than average 7.8%.

A happy middle-class life.

“Artists can have good careers, earning a middle-class income,” says the Center’s director. “And, just as important and maybe more, artists tend to be happy with their choices and lives.”

According to that report, former fine-arts majors are making about the same living as all those people who have a liberal arts degree. In some cases, those with a fine-arts background are actually doing better.

Other college majors may be worse choices.

“They do a little better than psychology majors, since counseling and social work is a very low-wage occupation,” explains the director.

Related:  Art Makes You Smart (New York Times)

November 6, 2013

U.S. spends ‘extraordinary amounts of money to produce college dropouts’

by Grace

We spend more of our economy on higher education than almost any other developed country, and achieve some of the worst results. 

… We devote more of our economy to postsecondary education than any other developed country (except South Korea, with whom we’re tied), according to a new report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. But we’re rated near the bottom of the 20 countries included by college spending “efficiency”—or, degrees earned per percentage point of GDP spent.*


Much of the waste is related to colleges with low completion rates, which essentially function as “dropout factories”.

… Unlike, say, Germany with its renowned apprenticeship systems, there aren’t really great alternatives to college if you want a middle-class life in the United States. So ill-prepared young adults flood into degree programs they never finish, leaving the U.S. with some of the lowest completion rates in the developed world.

It is undeniably expensive to provide low-income students with the opportunity for higher education, but these numbers call into question how well the U.S. is doing in this endeavor.

Related:  Increasing college merit aid decreases enrollment of minority and low-income students (Cost of College)

November 8, 2012

Some charts to check out before deciding on a college major

by Grace

Students who are deciding on a college major may want to look at some charts linked by Business Insider.

… tons of information is out there about majors, employment and earnings. We’ve pulled out findings from a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Some information is practical.

You can see where the men are . . .

. . . where the women are . . .

. . . and what white people like

Admittedly, not all the charts are very practical, but they are interesting.  The point is, choosing a major should involve some research.  The full report can be linked here:  What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors


January 13, 2012

Two recent reports on college majors, salaries, and unemployment rates

by Grace

These two recent reports from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce  are good sources for information on college majors, salaries, and unemployment rates.

What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors – 5/11

Students’ choice of Majors is just as important as decision to get Bachelor’s Degree

On average, bachelor‟s degrees pay off. But a new study confirms that some undergraduate majors pay off a lot more than others. In fact, the difference in earnings potential between one major and another can be more than 300 percent.

Using United States Census data available for the first time, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is helping Americans connect the dots between college majors and career earnings. In the new report, What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors, this first-time research demonstrates just how critical the choice of major is to a student‟s median earnings.

Hard Times, College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal – 1/12


Study also finds that some BA’s outperform graduate degrees in the job market

Unemployment figures show the jobless rate for recent college graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees has been running at an unacceptable 8.9 percent. But, a new study from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce finds that unemployment among job seekers with no better than a high school diploma is a catastrophic 22.9 percent – and an almost unthinkable 31.5 percent among high school dropouts.

So, is college still worth it? A major conclusion of the new report is that it all depends on your major. And while a college degree gives job seekers a formidable advantage over those without, the study points out, not all degrees are created equal, and there are a number of factors that prospective students should consider before sending off their college applications.

Related links for What’s it Worth:

Related links for Hard Times:

January 11, 2012

More jobs for STEM graduates who make technology than for those who use it

by Grace

People who make technology are better off than people who use technology.

That’s one conclusion of a Georgetown University report on College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings.

For recent graduates in Math and Computing unemployment is low for specialists who can write software and invent new applications (6%), but still comparatively high (11.2 percent) for those who use software to manipulate, mine and disseminate information.

The lower unemployment figure is for computer science and mathematics majors, and the higher one is for information systems majors.  All STEM majors are not created equal.

This chart is from Wikimedia.

UPDATE:  After reading Bonnie’s comment, I changed the post title from For job security it’s better to make technology than to use it to More jobs for STEM graduates who make technology than for those who use it.  “Job security” was a poor choice of words, given the cyclical nature of this industry.  In fact, the report predicted a recovery for information systems workers as the economy recovers.  The truth is that economic fluctuations affect all our jobs, although some are more cyclical than others.

January 9, 2012

Don’t pick a college major based on today’s hot jobs

by Grace

A snapshot of unemployment rates by college major shows architects are currently suffering the most while health workers are prospering.

Ten years ago the unemployment rate for architects was 1.1%.

What will the picture be like in five or ten years?  It’s not out of the question that architecture and health could switch places.  Ten years ago the unemployment rate for architects was an enviable 1.1%, and while we continue to hear that healthcare careers will continue to flourish as the ranks of aging baby boomers increase, that is by no means a sure thing.  Here’s a sign of weakening that should be considered by anyone who believes a health major is a safe bet for future job security.

Despite longtime concerns about nurse shortages in the United States, today’s nurses are learning that a nursing career is not as recession resistant as touted in the past.

A 2009 Vanderbilt University Medical Center study projected a shortage of 260,000 registered nurses by 2025. But hospitals, especially in the New York City metropolitan area, aren’t hiring.

Hospitals in the region were eager to recruit new nurses four or five years ago, said Kevin Dahill, president of the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, which represents Hudson Valley hospitals.

“It’s all changed,” he said. “If there is an improvement in the economy, you might see more opportunities opening up. Right now, it’s the lowest turnover and vacancy rate we’ve seen in a long time. For entry level, it’s almost at zero.”

It’s hard to accurately predict the future when deciding upon a college major.

Of course, some careers are more cyclical than others.  I should know, having living through first a prosperous boom and then a staggering bust in the oil business.  Education was considered a relatively safe major for a while, until recently when budget cuts at public schools brought hiring freezes and left newly graduated teachers unable to find jobs.

Maybe students should consider taking a contrarian approach, and select majors that have been on a downward trend for a few years.  Certainly they should focus on some basics that will serve them well whatever the current job market — work hard to get good grades, take advantage of all learning opportunities, hone their writing skills, and lower expectations for their first job out of college.

Related:  Don’t Let the Economy Pick Your Major For You

October 18, 2011

Some ‘rules’ on the relationship between a college degree and earnings

by Grace

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently published a study titled “The College Payoff” outlining four rules that inform the relationship between education level and income.

1.  The basic rule is that more education correlates with higher earnings.

With median earnings of $56,700 ($27.26 per hour), or $2.3 million over a lifetime, Bachelor’s degree holders earn 31 percent more than workers with an Associate’s degree and 74 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.

Beyond simple education level, three more rules offer additional details.

2.  College majors matter.

Earnings today, then, are driven by a combination of educational attainment and occupation. some occupational clusters pay better than others — for example, the STEM occupations earn much more than teachers, regardless of educational attainment. in fact, an engineer with some college/no degree or a postsecondary certificate can earn more than a teacher with a Bachelor’s degree.

3.  Degree levels matter within individual occupations.

The next rule seems to say that race/ethnicity and gender “cause” lower earnings, but I did not find that claim supported in the report.  Would the authors say that being born Asian is a determinant for a person’s higher income?

4.  Race/ethnicity and gender are wild cards that matter more than education or occupation in determining earnings.

Women earn less than men, even when they work the same number of hours — a gap that persists across all levels of educational attainment. In fact, women with a Bachelor’s degree earn about as much as men with some college education but no degree. On average, to earn as much as men with a Bachelor’s degree, women must obtain a Doctoral degree.

Similar gaps also exist by race and ethnicity. African-americans and Latinos earn less than their White counterparts, even among the most highly-educated workers. African-americans and Latinos with master’s degrees don’t exceed the median lifetime earnings of Whites with Bachelor’s degrees. However, at the graduate degree level, Asians make more than all other races/ethnicities, including Whites.

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