Graduates take 97% of quality jobs in US

In case you needed more evidence that getting a college degree is generally a good idea, Georgetown University USA has a new report that underscores how important a diploma has been in this recovery.

Of the 2.m “good jobs” created in the USA during the recovery from 2010 to 2014, 2.8m — or 97% — have gone to workers with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

Good jobs were defined as those with median annual earnings of more than $42,700, placing them in the top of three tiers according to wages of the occupations in which they’re classified. 

For a full-time, year-round worker, these jobs pay more than $53,000 annually. The survey’s figures were based on 2013 dollar values.

“The numbers are clear: postsecondary education is important for gaining access to job opportunities in the current economy,” researchers Anthony Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera and Artem Gulish wrote in the report. 

“Job seekers with bachelor’s degrees or higher have the best odds of securing good jobs.”

The researchers also found that contrary to popular narrative, the recovery has created more of these good jobs than either low-wage jobs (paying less than $25,800) or middle-wage jobs ($25,800 to $42,700).

Both good jobs and low-wage positions have fully recovered from their recession losses, the researchers found. 

Middle-wage jobs, however, have had a hard time bouncing back. These occupations are still 900,000 jobs below their pre-recession employment levels, according to the report.

“The economy as we understand it is still pretty much operating as it has been,” Carnevale said. 

The recession-era anecdotes of underemployed baristas and college graduates struggling to find jobs in their field are the result of the fact that “it was a hefty storm and everybody got a little wet”, said Carnevale.

All the news about the dearth of jobs made Katie Aune anxious when she set out to find a job in September 2012 after traveling for a year. 

She applied to several categories of jobs, tailored her cover letter and resume for each one, and took pains to minimise the fact that she had taken the year off.

After about three months, she had five job offers and ultimately chose a gig working in the alumni office of a Chicago law school.


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