College Graduates Earning Less

OxfordceremonyCongratulations to all the new college grads out there, but have you thought about how much your expensive new college degree is worth? For 2009-10 graduates who were able to land a job (about half), starting salaries fell 10% versus 2006-8, and it doesn’t look like 2011 will be any better. Catherine Rampell reports for the New York Times:

Employment rates for new college graduates have fallen sharply in the last two years, as have starting salaries for those who can find work. What’s more, only half of the jobs landed by these new graduates even require a college degree, reviving debates about whether higher education is “worth it” after all.

“I have friends with the same degree as me, from a worse school, but because of who they knew or when they happened to graduate, they’re in much better jobs,” said Kyle Bishop, 23, a 2009 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh who has spent the last two years waiting tables, delivering beer, working at a bookstore and entering data. “It’s more about luck than anything else.”

The median starting salary for students graduating from four-year colleges in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000, down from $30,000 for those who entered the work force in 2006 to 2008, according to a study released on Wednesday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. That is a decline of 10 percent, even before taking inflation into account.

Of course, these are the lucky ones — the graduates who found a job. Among the members of the class of 2010, just 56 percent had held at least one job by this spring, when the survey was conducted. That compares with 90 percent of graduates from the classes of 2006 and 2007. (Some have gone for further education or opted out of the labor force, while many are still pounding the pavement.)…

[continues in the New York Times]

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  • Grooveboss

     school of hard knocks 

  • Grooveboss

     school of hard knocks 

  • http://profiles.google.com/crowzach Zach Crow

     I would say volunteer experience and ambition for leadership positions make a huge difference.  This doesn’t seem comprehensive.  Higher education offers more than a degree.

    • http://twitter.com/BoomBriggs Al Briggs

       Sure does… Years of debt.

  • http://profiles.google.com/crowzach Zach Crow

     I would say volunteer experience and ambition for leadership positions make a huge difference.  This doesn’t seem comprehensive.  Higher education offers more than a degree.

  • http://twitter.com/Boom_Briggs Al Briggs

     Sure does… Years of debt.

  • Mr. Coffee

     Yeah. That fancy MBA from a knock off wasn’t ever worth much.

    • Nuggett

      Worth more than you think.  It’s a prerequisite for so many positions.  Wish I had one…

  • Mr. Coffee

     Yeah. That fancy MBA from a knock off wasn’t ever worth much.

  • SF2K01

    Wait wait wait, you mean my African american studies bachelors and my masters in ebonics won’t get me a better job in society?

    • Haystack

      Some people value education for its own sake.  

      • SF2K01

        Sure but that’s not how most degrees are advertised, nor what kids are promised. We just had an article on the excess of unemployable PhDs, which is just one example. Kids are fooled into thinking that 4 years of extra high school will automatically make them tons of extra money than if they had stayed out, even if they get degrees that will in no way improve their earning power.

    • Guest

      troll 

  • Anonymous

    Wait wait wait, you mean my African american studies bachelors and my masters in ebonics won’t get me a better job in society?

  • Haystack

    Some people value education for its own sake.  

  • Nuggett

    Worth more than you think.  It’s a prerequisite for so many positions.  Wish I had one…

  • D^rail

     Living my life is my education.

  • D^rail

     Living my life is my education.

  • quartz99

     There are plenty of reasons to go to college and these days it’s becoming as necessary as graduating high school. Businesses are looking for a degree, any degree, to show you tried to do something with your life. But to get anywhere, degree or no, to have to be willing to bull your way through anything (not BS your way through, subtle difference) and knock down any door, metaphorically, and you have to be willing to put yourself out there and make connections. It’s always been about who you know and how you can present yourself, it’s just even more about that now than it was, say, two decades ago. I failed to complete my college degree for financial reasons for over ten years (not that a double BA in Art and Philology is exactly what businesses are looking for anyway), and I’m doing better than a lot of people who graduated from college around the same time I would have. Luck has nothing to do with it, Mr. Bishop. It’s all about chutzpah and the ability to be relentless in pushing for something better. This life’s all you get, and no one’s going to hand you anything just for completing college. You have to fight for it every step of the way if you want to make something of your life and you weren’t born into a super-wealthy family.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Neat, a rational view on the situation.

      • quartz99

         lol, rational and crotchety. I feel like I’m shaking my fist and railing against the younger generation for not working hard enough :D

        But seriously, I don’t think a majority of colleges, based purely on my own anecdotal experience and acquaintances’ experiences, are really teaching their current crops how to do the practical things like landing a job. There was very little of that when I was in school and there seems to be even less of it now. These days it’s all about making sure everyone passes and tests well so they can get and keep their meager funding. As a student you learn that a good chunk of your classes are going to be essentially handed to you so long as you can do a minimal amount of work, except a few profs who no one wants because they actually make you work for it (is there anyone whose college experience is counter to that? I don’t know anyone whose experience counters it). That’s kind of preparing kids to think that just having the piece of paper is enough for them to deserve whatever job they want without having to hunt it down and fight tooth and claw for it. So I’m not really railing against the younger generation. I think they’ve been given the wrong expectations.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          Meh.. theres a lot of problems… too many to list probably… ranging to poor budgetary, poor administrative, to the complete loss of understanding of what is expected from the students…

          The problem is all over the place. They dont expect much from the students, and in turn, the students arent going to go out of their way to step up. Students have all the time in the world to go out and get shitfaced every night from  thursday to sunday. Needless to say, college wasnt exactly what i was expecting.

  • Anonymous

     There are plenty of reasons to go to college and these days it’s becoming as necessary as graduating high school. Businesses are looking for a degree, any degree, to show you tried to do something with your life. But to get anywhere, degree or no, to have to be willing to bull your way through anything (not BS your way through, subtle difference) and knock down any door, metaphorically, and you have to be willing to put yourself out there and make connections. It’s always been about who you know and how you can present yourself, it’s just even more about that now than it was, say, two decades ago. I failed to complete my college degree for financial reasons for over ten years (not that a double BA in Art and Philology is exactly what businesses are looking for anyway), and I’m doing better than a lot of people who graduated from college around the same time I would have. Luck has nothing to do with it, Mr. Bishop. It’s all about chutzpah and the ability to be relentless in pushing for something better. This life’s all you get, and no one’s going to hand you anything just for completing college. You have to fight for it every step of the way if you want to make something of your life and you weren’t born into a super-wealthy family.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Neat, a rational view on the situation.

  • Anonymous

     lol, rational and crotchety. I feel like I’m shaking my fist and railing against the younger generation for not working hard enough :D

    But seriously, I don’t think a majority of colleges, based purely on my own anecdotal experience and acquaintances’ experiences, are really teaching their current crops how to do the practical things like landing a job. There was very little of that when I was in school and there seems to be even less of it now. These days it’s all about making sure everyone passes and tests well so they can get and keep their meager funding. As a student you learn that a good chunk of your classes are going to be essentially handed to you so long as you can do a minimal amount of work, except a few profs who no one wants because they actually make you work for it (is there anyone whose college experience is counter to that? I don’t know anyone whose experience counters it). That’s kind of preparing kids to think that just having the piece of paper is enough for them to deserve whatever job they want without having to hunt it down and fight tooth and claw for it. So I’m not really railing against the younger generation. I think they’ve been given the wrong expectations.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Meh.. theres a lot of problems… too many to list probably… ranging to poor budgetary, poor administrative, to the complete loss of understanding of what is expected from the students…

    The problem is all over the place. They dont expect much from the students, and in turn, the students arent going to go out of their way to step up. Students have all the time in the world to go out and get shitfaced every night from  thursday to sunday. Needless to say, college wasnt exactly what i was expecting.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

     Little late on this one. Next headline: SUN RISES AT DAWN! SETS AT NIGHT! Srsly…nearly everyone I know with degrees…excepting the couple that moved out of the US and work for universities in other countries…is working for lower wages than their parents…WITHOUT accounting for inflation. I mean, really, how bad is it when a job that paid over 50K in 1980 wages now pays about 35K in 2010 wages???? Why even get a degree when on top being deeply indebted…you’re also not getting the wages that would make that debt easier to pay? I understand having a passion for a profession and following the education path to get to it…but anyone expecting to make big money doing anything other than as a CEO or a lawyer is kidding themselves. The only graduate I know who is making comparable top dollar for his degrees is the cousin who studied business law. Yes…a lawyer for corporations. The only one. His sister the neurosurgeon is struggling in comparison. Our priorities are way past bent…they snapped in half and were burnt as kindling long ago. 

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

     Little late on this one. Next headline: SUN RISES AT DAWN! SETS AT NIGHT! Srsly…nearly everyone I know with degrees…excepting the couple that moved out of the US and work for universities in other countries…is working for lower wages than their parents…WITHOUT accounting for inflation. I mean, really, how bad is it when a job that paid over 50K in 1980 wages now pays about 35K in 2010 wages???? Why even get a degree when on top being deeply indebted…you’re also not getting the wages that would make that debt easier to pay? I understand having a passion for a profession and following the education path to get to it…but anyone expecting to make big money doing anything other than as a CEO or a lawyer is kidding themselves. The only graduate I know who is making comparable top dollar for his degrees is the cousin who studied business law. Yes…a lawyer for corporations. The only one. His sister the neurosurgeon is struggling in comparison. Our priorities are way past bent…they snapped in half and were burnt as kindling long ago. 

  • Whoslifeisit

    Do I need a degree to live how I want and then die?

  • Whoslifeisit

    Do I need a degree to live how I want and then die?

  • Guest

    troll 

  • Trueman

    The real question is, do any of us really want this kinda life? I mean, here we are, whizzing through space, on this rocket ship called earth, slowly dying, and we have set up these strange lives for ourselves. Society seems so arbitrary. Who’s idea was it to have governments, countries, banks, schools, education, money, wars, consumerism, etc, etc. These are just ideas and not concrete at all. Why am I forced to believe in all this nonsense? Sorry, I don’t. I am not for sale. I have no master. We are all equal and created equal. I bow only to that which causes me to be. Any man that sets himself up as an authority figure is a fool. No man has the right to lord over another. There is no maturity in that mind set. I only pretend to play societies games. I have a feeling we are all pretending, all wanting to be free.

  • Trueman

    The real question is, do any of us really want this kinda life? I mean, here we are, whizzing through space, on this rocket ship called earth, slowly dying, and we have set up these strange lives for ourselves. Society seems so arbitrary. Who’s idea was it to have governments, countries, banks, schools, education, money, wars, consumerism, etc, etc. These are just ideas and not concrete at all. Why am I forced to believe in all this nonsense? Sorry, I don’t. I am not for sale. I have no master. We are all equal and created equal. I bow only to that which causes me to be. Any man that sets himself up as an authority figure is a fool. No man has the right to lord over another. There is no maturity in that mind set. I only pretend to play societies games. I have a feeling we are all pretending, all wanting to be free.

  • Anonymous

    Sure but that’s not how most degrees are advertised, nor what kids are promised. We just had an article on the excess of unemployable PhDs, which is just one example. Kids are fooled into thinking that 4 years of extra high school will automatically make them tons of extra money than if they had stayed out, even if they get degrees that will in no way improve their earning power.

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