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Sure, Blow Off That College Degree

DCAA320

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/class-of-2015-is-summa-cum-lucky-in-the-job-market-1432866602?mod=e2fb

By JOSH ZUMBRUN
May 28, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET
93 COMMENTS
Adam Quade worried his younger sister would have the same trouble he had landing a job after college. He started looking his senior year and by graduation in 2010 he had been rejected by more than a dozen companies.

Mr. Quade, age 27, who studied biology at Saint John?s University, a liberal arts school in Collegeville, Minn., said he was stressed out, nervous and scared until finally he was hired by a dental sales company in Des Moines, Iowa. He didn?t want to move to another state but counted himself lucky.

Turns out, he wasn?t as lucky as his 23-year-old sister, Mackensie, who graduated last year with a biology degree from St. Olaf College, a liberal arts school in Northfield, Minn. She also started looking for work during her senior year.

?Everyone had told me, ?When you graduate, everything?s going to be rough, you?re not going to be able to find a job, blah blah blah,?? said Ms. Quade. ?By Thanksgiving, I was sitting around eating turkey, had a job, feeling great.?

Ms. Quade?s bragging rights are likely to continue for years and the difference has little to do with sibling rivalry, according to economists. Labor market research shows that the lower the U.S. jobless rate at graduation, the better the career prospects for grads, yielding significantly higher wages compared with those who finish school amid higher unemployment.

When Mr. Quade graduated, the unemployment rate was 9.5%. When his sister graduated four years later, it was approaching 6%, which, according to economists, means she will hold a wage advantage for a decade or more.

With the unemployment rate now at 5.4%, this year?s graduating class is among the luckiest in decades. They will be starting first jobs with an unemployment rate below the average of the past 40 years, foretelling career success, according to labor economists.

?There really is something special about that first year,? said Jamin Speer, a University of Memphis economist who has published research showing that students who graduate during a time of elevated national unemployment often have their earnings crimped for years.

Generally, people who enter the labor market during a recession experience lower wages in the formative years of their career, according to researchers and Department of Labor data, while those who graduate in better times enjoy a tailwind of economywide earnings growth.

Americans born in the late 1950s, for example, weren?t so lucky: Those attending college likely graduated in the depths of a recession during the early 1980s. Research found the group as a whole earned lower wages for more than a decade as a result. Americans born just a few years later, in the early 1960s, and who finished college after the 1980s recession, were especially lucky. They entered the labor force at the start of an economic boom that carried through the 1990s.

The college graduates of 2009 and 2010, by contrast, faced a weak job market that paid diminished wages and had fewer openings.

ENLARGE
The class of 2015, meanwhile, enters the workplace on the other side of the storm. They are welcomed by an economy with a jobless rate of about 5.4%. Worries over their record student debts should be eased by better-paying jobs. And their diploma appears to hold them a spot at the front of the line: The overall unemployment rate for college graduates was 2.7% in April.

Looking ahead, these graduates will likely earn more money over their lifetime compared with others their age who didn?t finish college. Those with a bachelor?s degree, on average, earn 80% more than those with just a high school diploma, according to the Labor Department, a record earnings gap between the two groups.

Members of the class of 2014 had an average starting salary of $48,127 a year, up from $45,327 for the class of 2013 and $44,259 for the class of 2012, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a group made up of schools as well as companies that recruit from campuses. Those annual salaries mean many graduates enter the labor market earning more than the average yearly wage of private nonfarm payroll workers in the U.S., which is just under $45,000, according to the Labor Department.

Employers seem especially eager for graduates in science and technology. Engineering students, for example, who expected entry salaries of $56,000 are getting average offers of $65,000, according to NACE.

Bright prospects for the class of 2015 mark a sharp turnaround. Graduates who started careers from 2007 to 2009 had lower starting salaries and more sluggish wage increases. Philip Oreopoulos, a labor economist at the University of Toronto, studied the careers of graduates in past recessions and said many workers later caught up. ?But it was slow,? he said, ?and took over 10 years.?

Luis Medina, 27 years old, is one of those still trying. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego in the summer of 2009, as the national unemployment rate climbed toward 10%. Before graduation?and for six months after?he looked for financial services companies that trained new employees and had a promising career path. He had no luck and finally got an agency job the following year tutoring middle- and high-school students.

Six years after graduating from the University of California, San Diego, 27-year-old Luis Medina has yet to land lasting work as a certified public accountant. He graduated at a time of high unemployment, which economists say can hobble careers for a decade or more. ENLARGE
Six years after graduating from the University of California, San Diego, 27-year-old Luis Medina has yet to land lasting work as a certified public accountant. He graduated at a time of high unemployment, which economists say can hobble careers for a decade or more. PHOTO: SANDY HUFFAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Economists Jaison Abel, Richard Deitz, and Yaqin Su, of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, published research in 2014 that showed Mr. Medina was a textbook example. Graduates born between 1986 and 1991?and who finished college during the worst of the downturn?faced more underemployment and lower job quality than their predecessors. The economists this month posted a follow-up that said the tide has turned for the class of 2015, with falling underemployment and unemployment rates for young college graduates.

Good fortune has yet to rub off on Mr. Medina. Since graduating, he passed exams in 2011 and 2012 that qualified him to work as a certified public accountant. As he searched for his first accounting job, he hit another barrier.

?All the entry-level jobs at firms that are capable of offering quality training, the firms most capable of bringing up somebody with no experience, they do all the recruiting on campus,? Mr. Medina said.

Mr. Medina landed jobs at smaller accounting firms that didn?t offer much of a future. For one job, he moved to Sonora, Calif., and, for another, he went to Plano, Texas. Both jobs lasted only a single tax season. He took an unpaid internship with a defense contractor that eventually led to part-time work; that job, too, disappeared, as defense funding shrank, he said.

Six years after graduation, Mr. Medina is now back in San Diego, again unemployed. He says he is hobbled by the economic troubles of years past.

?Look at how someone from human resources would look at my r?sum? now,? said Mr. Medina. ?I have three short-term jobs. They?ll interpret that as, ?Maybe this person isn?t very capable or competent.? You think it?s going to get easier when a new pile of currently enrolled graduates come looking for these jobs? No way. It gets harder year after year.?
 

DCAA320

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Campus recruiting, meanwhile, is better than ever. Marcie Holland, the director of the internship and career center at the University of California, Davis, said there are more recruiters offering better positions than in previous years.

?I noticed that the management training programs were starting to come back,? she said. In February of 2014, the gymnasium holding the career fair was so crowded that the fire marshal had to control entry and exit. This year?s fair had to be limited to 155 employer tables, she said.

Ravneet Kaur, an economics and international relations major, attended last year?s fair as a junior and landed several job interviews.

?I was pleasantly surprised that there were multiple offers coming in,? Ms. Kaur said, ?I thought I?d have to settle for whatever I could get.? She took a paid internship after her junior year with Triage Consulting, a company that advises hospitals.

MORE

Real Time Economics: A Good Time to Graduate
Ms. Kaur got a full-time offer at Triage and will begin in September, after graduation and some summer travel. She has been promised training and advancement opportunities. After 21 months, she will be eligible for promotion to a senior associate at the firm, she said, a management position.

Many in the generation of Americans coming of age in the recession and its aftermath?also known as millennials?have been labeled as laggards reluctant to leave their parents? home.

But Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist for Standard & Poor?s, said millennials have been divided by the U.S. economy: Older members of the generation who started their careers during the recession, and those who were in high school when it ended.

?There?s way too much pessimism on the millennial generation with respect to their economic prospects,? Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia said. ?For a lot of majors it?s a truly great time to be graduating from college.?

Write to Josh Zumbrun at Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com
 

CX880

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Face it most out of job pilots become used car salesman or work at Honda
 

pilotyip

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Employers seem especially eager for graduates in science and technology. Engineering students, for example, who expected entry salaries of $56,000 are getting average offers of $65,000, according to NACE.
I read the WSJ also, for many college is a waste of time that results in no job and tons of debt. An article in the WSJ from the 5th largest employment agency in the country.

"Another big hurdle is the widening skills deficit. At any given time, Mr. Funk says, Express has as many as 20,000 jobs the company can't fill because workers don't have the skills required. His advice to young people who are looking for a solid career is to get training in accounting (thanks to Dodd-Frank's huge expansion of paperwork), information technology, manufacturing-robotics programming, welding and engineering. He's mystified why Express has so much trouble filling thousands of information-technology jobs when so many young, working-age adults are computer literate.

He blames public schools and universities for the skills mismatch. Young people looking for a financially secure future might want to heed one of his favorite pieces of cautionary advice: "If you've got a college degree in psych, poly-sci or sociology, sorry, I can't help you find a job." He urges greater emphasis on vocational and practical skills training in schools, universities and junior colleges."

People are graduating from college with no marketable skills, yet 1,000's of good paying jobs go unfilled because no one has the skills. This fits right in with what I have saying for years, the purpose of post high school education is to give you skills that lead to a good paying job that are in demand. Well except when it comes to flying an airplane where the college degree has nothing to do with the skill set needed for the job, it is only a screening method used by uninformed HR departments.

here is link to the entire article

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324492604579087044033601178.html
 

Boxboy

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Oh, this debate again..... Let's face the facts, majority of the academic achievers go onto to further their education and the underachievers tend to jump into the the blue collar work force right out of high school. This is not always the case due to different circumstances but generally speaking, it's true. The fact of the matter is, a college graduate has more opportunities than someone without a 4 year degree even if the degree is in underwater fire prevention. It's just the way it is, fair or not. I'm not sayin' it's right but this is the world we live in. Everything in life is about increasing the odds so let the games begin.
 

pilotyip

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Oh, this debate again..... Let's face the facts, majority of the academic achievers go onto to further their education and the underachievers tend to jump into the the blue collar work force right out of high school.

OMG this blue collar crowd must be avoided at all costs, they might even move into a college educated neighborhood. Na, they might not move into your neighbor, because many make so much more money than the college educated people that they buy in better places

I believe I have been consistent. It has been posted that I am anti-college degree. Nothing could is further from the truth. The country needs all the college-educated citizens it can have, its raises the level of knowledge to keep this as the greatest country in the world. Real degrees in business, engineering, the sciences, math, and medicine provide a graduate with marketable skills. If you are going to go to college, get a real degree from a real university.

I do not judge a man by his degree, where he lives, or what he does for a living. I judge a man on the content of his character. I find the college degrees only crowd here, a bit arrogant, a smacking of if you does not have a degree you are not as good as me. I know too many people who are successful and fine men who do not have a degree.

I know many people with degrees who will never make any impact upon anything. I know too many pilots without degrees who I consider some of the most successful people I know. I admire them and the lives they have built. I think this sets off the college degree only crowd because it distorts their view of what they have done.
 

Boxboy

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OMG this blue collar crowd must be avoided at all costs, they might even move into a college educated neighborhood. Na, they might not move into your neighbor, because many make so much more money than the college educated people that they buy in better places

I believe I have been consistent. It has been posted that I am anti-college degree. Nothing could is further from the truth. The country needs all the college-educated citizens it can have, its raises the level of knowledge to keep this as the greatest country in the world. Real degrees in business, engineering, the sciences, math, and medicine provide a graduate with marketable skills. If you are going to go to college, get a real degree from a real university.

I do not judge a man by his degree, where he lives, or what he does for a living. I judge a man on the content of his character. I find the college degrees only crowd here, a bit arrogant, a smacking of if you does not have a degree you are not as good as me. I know too many people who are successful and fine men who do not have a degree.

I know many people with degrees who will never make any impact upon anything. I know too many pilots without degrees who I consider some of the most successful people I know. I admire them and the lives they have built. I think this sets off the college degree only crowd because it distorts their view of what they have done.

You should read my entire post before jumping the gun. Anyone can dissect a post and pick at it to your liking until the cows come home.
You have to admit, pilotyip, that you have a HUGE chip on your shoulders with this college degree thing. I don't consider myself arrogant nor do I judge people based on their education/pedigree. I'm pretty certain that God, too, doesn't judge a person based on their education.:cool: I just happen to live in reality. College degree doesn't make one better than another (especially flying airplanes for a living) but it does open many more doors to people with a degree than without. Case in point-the military prefers people with technical degrees, especially if you want to fly. You and I know that this has nothing to do with being a good pilot candidate. To better my chances, I majored in Aerospace Engineering and it did give me a leg up in getting a pilot slot. Did it help me kick a$$ in pilot training? It played a small role during ground school but as you know, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get through ground school/academics. That's just the world we live in. Neither you nor I have any control over the "rules" and we have the choice to play or not to play by these rules; just be ready to face the consequences and that's all I'm sayin'.
 
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pilotyip

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You have to admit, pilotyip, that you have a HUGE chip on your shoulders with this college degree thing.

I guess I do have a chip. But your post fit in with all of the "The only way to succeed in life is to get a college degree" This is the battle cry of the country from President Obama on down.

Yet 100,000's of good paying job in this country go unfilled because no one has the skills to do them. In high schools all over the country vocational education has vanished, because the college educated teachers marked it as a place for losers who were not college material.

Parent look at vocational training a consolation prize for other people's kids, but my kids are going to go to college.

Yes and we agree it has nothing to do with flying an airplane, and I was fortunate that I joined the Navy during Vietnam where even shop teachers could get into flight training.:eek:
 

Boxboy

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But your post fit in with all of the "The only way to succeed in life is to get a college degree" This is the battle cry of the country from President Obama on down. :

I did not say that. I guess this is where a college educated person will prevail-reading comprehension and analytical thinking; just kidding, old timer, just kidding.... Don't have a heart attack, please.:beer:
The key point in my post is that a college degree opens doors and thus provides more opportunities. I did not make the rules.
 

pilotyip

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The key point in my post is that a college degree opens doors and thus provides more opportunities. I did not make the rules.
I don't buy it, I look at a few of my nieces and nephews with tons of student debt, all in their 30's. They have degrees in Art, Photography, and French History. The degree has opened no doors 10 years after graduation. Well that is if you don't count working in an art gallery for min wage, working in a nursing home, and working at a book store as a stock clerk. But I look at others in my family without degrees who learned skills in the militarily, pilot, ATC they have great jobs. I look at my brother in-law, two years at an auto tech school, owns his own business make well into six figures. You are telling me that degrees in art, photography and french history degrees are going to offer more opportunities than those who are educated to do something but do not have a degree?

BTW: I don't mind the age thing at all, if things work out for you you may be old some day also:laugh:
 

SpauldingSmails

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Oh DCA, you just had to waive the steak at the tiger cage.
 

Boxboy

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I don't buy it, I look at a few of my nieces and nephews with tons of student debt, all in their 30's. They have degrees in Art, Photography, and French History. The degree has opened no doors 10 years after graduation. Well that is if you don't count working in an art gallery for min wage, working in a nursing home, and working at a book store as a stock clerk. But I look at others in my family without degrees who learned skills in the militarily, pilot, ATC they have great jobs. I look at my brother in-law, two years at an auto tech school, owns his own business make well into six figures. You are telling me that degrees in art, photography and french history degrees are going to offer more opportunities than those who are educated to do something but do not have a degree?

BTW: I don't mind the age thing at all, if things work out for you you may be old some day also:laugh:

Okay, I can see that this discussion is going nowhere. I totally get it- someone has to pick the strawberries, mow the lawn, change oil, do manual labor, work more/harder for less, etc. Everyone in my family and all my friends who have a college degree or higher have high paying and successful careers, so we must be the minority.:rolleyes: We must live on a different planet, you and I.
 

pilotyip

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Okay, I can see that this discussion is going nowhere. I totally get it- someone has to pick the strawberries, mow the lawn, change oil, do manual labor, work more/harder for less, etc. Everyone in my family and all my friends who have a college degree or higher have high paying and successful careers, so we must be the minority.:rolleyes: We must live on a different planet, you and I.

So you are not looking down from a superior position when you call non-college grads strawberries, mow the lawn, change oil, etc. It might be a misread on my part, but in my humble option it smacks of elitism. No credit at all for the guys who have skills beyond the lib arts college grads, like Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear power plant operator, small business owner having a great career. Nope in your option as posted here all non-grads are strawberry pickers.
 

Boxboy

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So you are not looking down from a superior position when you call non-college grads strawberries, mow the lawn, change oil, etc. It might be a misread on my part, but in my humble option it smacks of elitism. No credit at all for the guys who have skills beyond the lib arts college grads, like Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear power plant operator, small business owner having a great career. Nope in your option as posted here all non-grads are strawberry pickers.

Speaking from experience, when I feel inferior or defensive, what is said about me is somewhat true (sometimes, they are right on 100%). We all posses pride, ego, and arrogance. It is the root of all evil. If you can admit this simple fact, you can move on with your life and accept things for what they truly are.
You are putting words into my mouth. I don't consider myself an elitist. Let's look at it from a layman's point of view. Let's assume Joe and John have similar IQs. Joe just finished high school and he wants to join the work force right away. What are his option? John goes off to college and gets a degree in Computer Science. What are his career options? I can certainly tell you that John is not going to be picking strawberries, become a gardener, or work at Jiffy Lube changing oil for minimum wage! I'm simply stating the fact that without a college degree, one has just limited him/her self of many opportunities. If you can't check that box on an application, you are simply not qualified, says this world we live in. It is what it is. We must lie in the bed we make, that's all.
 

maru657

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Well let's see these college grads man a picket line. I think they might get a real education.
 

pilotyip

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You are putting words into my mouth. I don't consider myself an elitist. Let's look at it from a layman's point of view. Let's assume Joe and John have similar IQs. Joe just finished high school and he wants to join the work force right away. What are his option? John goes off to college and gets a degree in Computer Science. What are his career options? I can certainly tell you that John is not going to be picking strawberries, become a gardener, or work at Jiffy Lube changing oil for minimum wage! I'm simply stating the fact that without a college degree, one has just limited him/her self of many opportunities. If you can't check that box on an application, you are simply not qualified, says this world we live in. It is what it is. We must lie in the bed we make, that's all.
Please, we are not talking about Yale, U of M, or even MIT as the universal example of getting a college degree; we are talking about a degree from Bumblebee State. The degree from Bumblebee State requires no time on campus, no classroom attendance, and only money. Yet the Bumblebee State will still check the box in the lower left corner, same as Yale.

Many college graduate tried getting into Navy Flight Training in the mid 60?s to avoid being drafted into the Army, many did not make it because the intelligence levels required to have a high probability of successful program completion were in excess of those who attended college. Yet 2 year degree guys got in and finished. How can that be? That includes my Aircraft Commander I flew with in Vietnam, one of the finest sticks and people I have ever known.

Lets see John goes of to college and get a degree in Gender Studies from Bubblebee State, 60 credits for life experiences in both genders. Joe just finished high and decided to join the Navy and become a Nuclear Power Plant Operator, after six years he gets out and land a $100K job as a supervisor at a Nuclear Power Plant. I worked around these kids they were fantastic, so far superior to many college graduates I know. But Joe is a failure in your eyes and will never amount to anything and well John with his college degree is going to have fantastic career. Is that what you are telling me. What about the guy that drops out after two years of college joins the Army flies C-12 in VIP transportation and gets hired a NJ without a degree, he will never amount to anything compared to John. Sue went in the Army after High School worked in Tower then Approach and got out got a job in ATC, now works in Cleveland Center, making I bet over 100K+, but she also is a failure compared to John and his degree in Gender Studies.

You have stated your case there are only two options college or nothing, I just happen to think this is not the case in life.

Quick story a few years back I am traveling in the back, sitting next to a guy, he finds out I am a Navy guy. He laments that is daughter Valedictorian of her class, elected not to go to college, but to join the Navy and become a Nuclear Power Plant Operator. He was disappointed because she was not going to college. I explained she had gotten into an elite program, where at the end her of her 6 years, the Navy paid pay her $100,000 to sign up another four years. Because there were so many high paying jobs out there for people with her skills and knowledge. That she would have the GI Bill to go to college for free. He felt much better about his daughter?s choice after we talked.
 
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