Recent College Grads In Almost Every Major Are More Likely To Be Employed Than Mid-Career High School Grads

Share Article

College graduates’ wage advantage holds up in post-recession economy, Georgetown study finds

From Hard Times to Better Times

A promising find is that recent college graduates’ wage advantage has remained high in the post-recession economy, especially for STEM majors

The job market for recent college graduates has continued to improve but individual graduates’ chances of finding a job depends on their major, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report is the third in a series of reports published by the Center that analyze unemployment rates for recent college graduates by major. The third installment of Hard Times also analyzes changes in unemployment rates and annual wages for recent college graduates since 2009.

The report finds that college remains very much worth the cost in the post-recession economy for most students: unemployment rates declined for recent graduates in most majors. Recent college graduates are more likely to be employed than high school graduates in the middle of their careers in every major, with the exception of social sciences and architecture.

College graduates maintained their wage advantage over high school graduates in the post-recession economy, the report finds, though the size of the wage advantage depends on major: recent college graduates who majored in engineering earn 158 percent more than experienced high school graduates, while those who majored in education earn only 31 percent more than experienced high school graduates.

“A promising find is that recent college graduates’ wage advantage has remained high in the post-recession economy, especially for STEM majors,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of the Center and the report’s lead author.

The report’s other major findings are:

  •     Unemployment rates for recent college graduates are the lowest for agriculture and natural resources majors (4.5%), physical sciences (5%), and education (5.1%). The majors with the highest unemployment rates are architecture (10.3%) and arts (9.5%).
  •     Recent college graduates who major in arts, psychology, and social work earn $31,000 per year, only $1,000 more than the average high school educated worker. By comparison, recent graduates who majored in engineering earn $57,000 per year, almost twice as much as the average high school graduate.

The full report for From Hard Times to Better Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings is available at cew.georgetown.edu/report/hardtimes2015

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is an independent nonprofit research and policy institute that studies the link between individual goals, education and training curricula, and career pathways. The Center is affiliated with the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy. For more information, visit: cew.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter @Cntredwrkfrce and on Facebook.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Andrea Porter
CENTER ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE
+1 2026874716
Email >
@CntrEdWrkfrce
Follow >
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
Like >
Visit website