Thursday, March 30, 2017

U.S. College Grads See Slim-to-Nothing Wage Gains Since Recession

The bachelor's degree — long a ticket to middle-class comfort — is losing its luster in the U.S. job market. Wages for college graduates across many majors have fallen since the 2007-09 recession.  However, the outlook for experienced graduates, aged 35 to 54, is brighter, with wages generally stable since the crisis. Among the factors at play are advances in technology and automation, which are not only taking away U.S. manufacturing jobs, but also having an impact on white collar workers.  A graduate's level degree is increasingly offering the bigger salary bump as the wage gap between graduate degree-holders and undergrads has been growing since the recession. Your major is only one determinant of future earnings potential, as the training experience from internships, debt levels, and soft skills also help shape salary and job prospects. I, for one, wish K offered a couple more classes in my intended field, but I do believe certain classes helped me gain the "soft skills" (discussion, interaction, sociability) that the article talks about.  What are your thoughts on the lack of wage gain for undergrads since the recession?

Do you think K has developed the "soft skills" in you to prepare you for the workforce? 

Would you want any change in the curriculum to leave you better off after graduation?


  1. I personally think that this article provides good insight that getting a college degree doesn't necessarily guarantee a recent graduate a higher paying job. This article reminds me about the time 4 years ago, when I was deciding to go to K. People told me that going to college was going to help me get a job that was higher paying. But recently, I know of people that have graduated college and are working at starbucks because they can't find a job. I think the lack of wage gain is absurd due to the price of college increasing every year but I also can see the reasoning why because so many people are getting college degrees thus making the job market smaller for people with graduate degrees. In response to "soft skills", I would have to agree with Brad's statement that I also wish that K offered more classes within my major in order for me to develop these "soft skills". I feel that if I had more of these "soft skills", it would make me a better candidate for a company to hire. One way I feel that we could develop more of these "soft skills" is change the overall curriculum. I think if we added more classes that had real life implications and we were able to apply them to a scenario, I think it would help a lot of the students be prepared for the job market.

  2. I definitely think K has done a great job in making me a viable candidate for many jobs. Although, given that our school's location and size, we lack big recruiting events. Despite that, I think K makes up for its shortcomings through its tight networks, which I wish I would've taken advantage early in my college career.

    As for the wage gaps, if experience is really what counts. We all should skip college and join the workforce to gain experience? I think the higher education system has just become a way to churn out more and more money rather than actual educate.

    1. "I think the higher education system has just become a way to churn out more and more money rather than actual educate."

      In fact, I think higher education is at the point now where primary education was before public schools were a thing governments paid for. With automation steadily consuming low-skill labor, the bar for what constitutes a good education is rising. Post-secondary training is a requirement now, whether that be a trade school, certificate program, or 4-year Bachelor program. Public policy needs to start treating it as such.

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  4. K has definitely helped me to develop the soft skills that a lot of employers are looking for in the job market today. With employers hiring for potential - based on things like experience and soft skills - rather than basing the decision solely on choice of major, I'm definitely glad I decided to attend a small liberal arts school.

    Also, there are so many graduates who hold bachelor's degrees now that it makes sense for employers to hire based on more than just formal education. I guess experience shows that you're not just book smart but that you can actually practically apply what you've learned in the classroom.

  5. I think K has done a solid job of preparing me for the workforce and I'm not sure what more could be done. The alumni presence here is such a blessing, all you have to do is get in touch with some alumni and they will literally bend over backwards for you. I don't know if that is the case for other colleges/universities.

    As far as the struggles finding a job after graduation, I think the big problem is that many students think that just going to college, getting good grades, & getting a degree is going to land them a great paying job. But in fact that's not the case. When it comes to employers, it's true that a degree is needed many places but the degree is mainly just opening the door for students. It doesn't land them the job. You need your degree but more than anything you need experience with internships, externships, etc. At the end of the day your degree & GPA is just a piece of paper with a number on it to employers. They want to see your experience in your field. That's what lands you the job. The degree only gets your foot in the door. I'm not sure a lot of students realize that until it's too late.

  6. Like many others, I also agree how K has helped me develop soft skills. However, like Dr. Apps, I want to see a change in curriculum where more business classes that are specific to a concentration are offered. My concentration is Accounting and I wish that there were more accounting classes being offered.

    The perception of college students getting quality jobs right after colleges have changed for me. Over the years, I've noticed many college graduates that I know that are struggling to acquire jobs after the recession. Degrees are still important and shows that one is qualified, however, it has certainly lost some of its enamor that it had before the recession.