Monday, November 26, 2012

Supply and Demand and College Degrees

I get in arguments with friends about college degree selection. Most people seem to feel that the earning a degree will open doors regardless of the college major. That may have been true when many of us were in college in the 70's and 80's but not today. Jobs are specialized and employers want people who know how to perform those jobs.

I am not going to hire an English or journalism major to do our marketing when I can hire a marketing major.

It is basic economics - there are many more college graduates so employers can find the one they want. In the 70's one-fifth of young adults had a college degree while today it is up to one-third according to a  NYT article - Record Number Complete High School and College. Note that during that time the wage premium for a college degree has "leapt 40%".

So -
More kids are going to college
College grads earn more money
But if there are more of you competing for jobs - you have to have a meaningful degree