Learn More, Earn More, Stay Employed

Adult students are returning to school in record numbers to finish a bachelor’s degree or earn a master’s degree, and nearly half of all college students are now over the age of 25.  And why?  Because, according to the federal government’s Occupational Outlook, the more education you have, the more money you earn per year and over your lifetime.  Individuals with a high school diploma will earn $1.1 million over the course of their lifetime, while a worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn $2.1 million, according to the US. Census Bureau.

The other compelling reason to get a college degree is that it  significantly reduces the chances of losing a job. Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute examined the employment rate during the recent recession and found that the more education an individual had, the less likely they were to have lost their job in the past five years.

 According to the study:

  • Workers who had a high school diploma or less, lost 5.6 million jobs during the Great Recession (December 2007 to January 2010), and they lost an additional 230,000 jobs during the recovery(January 2010 to February 2012).
  • Individuals who had some college or an associate’s degree lost 1.75 million jobs during the recession but gained back 1.6 million of those jobs in the recovery.  
  • People who had a bachelor’s degree or better actually gained 187,000 jobs during the recession and added 2 million more jobs during the recovery.

Study after study consistently shows that for every job out there, the better-educated person has the edge.  So, if you are considering whether higher education is a good value, the answer is  clear: yes.  Over the course of a lifetime, college graduates are more likely to stay employed and will earn more.

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commented 2016-03-22 00:56:23 -0400 · Flag
Hello Daniel,

The underlying question in these statistics is the types of jobs the workers with degrees were able to procure. Did they advance their careers or simply replace another worker? Did their incomes rise or fall? Did they choose to accept any job because of the pressures of the economic environment? I believe in the value of education, especially adult learning because its completion has the potential to open new doors for the successful learner. When applied to the job market, the worth of the degree ultimately depends on the views of the hiring managers. In a competitive job market, hiring people with degrees is definitely an advantage that organizations can leverage.

Thank you for your insights!