The Questionable Value of College

A college degree isn’t what it used to be as employers are rethinking necessary requirements for new hires in a time where the labor market is exceedingly tight.

A college degree, specifically a bachelor’s degree, has been one of the leading requirements for employees seeking higher-paying jobs, however, recently companies such as Google, Delta Air Lines, and IBM have all altered job requirements shifting them away from educational achievement and more towards experience and specific skill sets.

The number of job postings requiring a bachelor’s degree has dropped since before the pandemic but was believed to rise again following its conclusion. At the start of 2019 46% of job postings required a bachelor’s degree and this dropped significantly once the pandemic was in full throttle. Since then, this number has increased however has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels with only 41% of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree throughout November.

Alternatives for a college education are quickly gaining popularity. For example, Google offers a college-alternative program to train potential employees skills for fast-growing fields. More than 100,000 people within the U.S. have completed the program and over 150 companies are now using the program to hire entry-level employees.

While the number of jobs requiring a college degree has been diminishing, according to a survey conducted by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University has concluded that the lifetime earnings of a college graduate when compared with that of a high school graduate is still much higher. Those with a high school diploma have an average lifetime earnings of $1.6 million, while that of a college graduate has an expected lifetime earnings of $2.8 million.

Source: Wall Street Journal