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Good Jobs: How Important Are Credentials?. Cynthia Newhouse EVT 7066 Fall 2008. Postsecondary Education: Is it worth it?. To Enroll or Not to Enroll Most important decision for a U.S. worker Why? Educational Attainment: Plays critical role in labor market

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good jobs how important are credentials

Good Jobs:How Important Are Credentials?

Cynthia Newhouse

EVT 7066

Fall 2008

postsecondary education is it worth it
Postsecondary Education:Is it worth it?
  • To Enroll or Not to Enroll
    • Most important decision for a U.S. worker
    • Why?
      • Educational Attainment:
        • Plays critical role in labor market
        • Impacts earnings, job opportunities, & overall job satisfaction
  • Factors to consider
    • Educational Trends
      • Steady increase in number who complete some type of college
    • Labor Market Trends
      • A fast-paced increase in number of jobs requiring at least some college
what are good jobs
What are “good” jobs
  • A “good” job
    • Satisfies 3 needs:
      • Extrinsic tangible rewards
      • Intrinsic rewards
      • Social relationships
  • Job satisfaction
    • Determined by type and kinds of rewards received through work

(O’Toole & Lawler, 2006)

  • Due to the nature of employment data, this presentation focuses mostly on the extrinsic reward of salary/wages; however, a truly “good” job with high job satisfaction provides fulfillment of all three needs
education premium
Education Premium
  • The disparity between those with the least amount of education and those with the most amount of education.
    • Continues to increase over time
      • In 1979, those who completed college earned 1.6 times those who dropped out of high school
      • In 2006, this rate rose to 2.5
educational attainment trends
Educational Attainment Trends

Ages 25 or older

Only 1 out of every 20 people had earned a college degree

Ages 25 – 64

32.6 % have earned a bachelor’s degree

28% have some college

29.6% earned high school diploma or GED

9.8% less than high school diploma



education how far will you go
Education: How Far Will You Go?
  • On average, Education, Income
2006 income disparity by educational attainment
2006 Income Disparity by Educational Attainment

Having a Bachelor’s degree or higher yields almost 2 and ½ more than those who have not earned their high school diploma

educational attainment trends labor market trends
Educational Attainment Trends & Labor Market Trends

% of Labor Force ages 25 – 64

by level of educational

attainment over time

Compare: Some College

1970 – 11.8 %

2005 – 28 %

Projected growth in employment

between 2001 – 2014 based on educational attainment

In 1970, 38.1 % of labor force 25 – 64 did not have more than a high school diploma

high growth high wages
High-Growth, High Wages

87% of

High-Growth, High-Wage jobs projected for 2004 – 2014 require at least some college

does educational attainment always mean higher earnings
Does Educational Attainment Always Mean Higher Earnings?
  • No!
  • Examples:
    • Air Traffic Controllers earn $117,240 in median annual earnings
      • However, there are only 3 job openings expected between 2006 – 2016
    • Management positions
      • Many do not require degrees, rather years of experience can qualify you for the job
      • Median annual earnings are $82,490
        • However, 55.4 % of managers have at least a Bachelor’s degree.
educational attainment and unemployment
Educational Attainment and Unemployment
  • One relative truth is that education does decrease the likelihood of unemployment:
does education credentials good jobs
Does Education/Credentials = “Good” Jobs?
  • The answer: It depends
    • Depending on your interests, values, and skill sets, you may be competitive and happy in the low-skill, low-wage service industry
    • There are a few industries, however specialized (i.e. “Air Traffic Controllers”) and with relatively few job openings, where you can earn good wages, do meaningful work, and experience positive social relationships.
    • Trends, however, illustrate the growing number and types of occupations which require at least some postsecondary education
looking ahead
Looking Ahead
  • Encourage informed decision-making
    • Explore options
    • Provide resources
    • Create opportunities for reflection
  • Design curriculum accordingly
    • Preparation for college-level work
    • Preparation for trades, if interested
    • Preparation for transition into work
      • Promote “soft” skill development
      • Provide real-world experiences when possible
  • O’Toole, J. and Lawler, E. (2006). The New American Workplace.

New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.