Report shows vast differences in employment outcomes based on educational achievement
A report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that educational attainment is a major factor in determining access to job opportunities. The recent recession affected workers very differently and workers with more education have fared better than the less educated. Workers with no education beyond high school were more than three times as likely to lose their jobs as those with some college education or an associate degree.
According to the report, by January of 2010, a total of 7.2 million people had lost their jobs and men in particular lost nearly three times as many jobs as women-losing a total of 5.25 million jobs. Among both men and women, the greatest job losses were by the less educated. Women with a high school diploma or less lost 2 million jobs during the recession while men with the same level of education lost 3.6 million jobs.
The report observes that during the recovery, more than half of the employment increases have gone to workers with a bachelor's degree or better and the rest of the gains to those with some college education or an associate degree. Women with a bachelor's degree or better gained 381,000 jobs over the recession and men with a Bachelor's degree or better lost fewer jobs than those with only a high school diploma. It seems that in many occupations, better-educated applicants have the edge and actual job losses decreased with additional years of education.
Other report findings include:
- Workers with bachelor's degree or better experienced a net increase of 2.2 million jobs over their prerecession levels.
- Forty percent of employed men stopped their schooling with a high school diploma or even before, compared with only 32 percent of women
- Men lost nearly three times as many jobs as women, in part, because men exit schooling before women.
- The total workforce in the United States grew by nearly 23 percent (from 114 to 140 million) between 1989 to February 2012. However, despite this increase, the number of workers with a high school diploma or less declined.
- Employers prefer women workers not only because they tend to be more educated, but because employers pay them lower wages than men with the same level of education.
- Employment growth in the past 20 years has been entirely through increases in the number of workers with some postsecondary education, while employment for those with a high school diploma or less has declined.
Men in particular seem to understand that the job market continues to create more jobs that require postsecondary education and failure to achieve a higher education can hurt them. In fact since 2006, college enrollment of men has grown at the same rate or at a slightly higher rate than of women during and after the recession. In addition, men are actually taking opportunities in fields formerly dominated by women such as healthcare services and financial services.
The findings in this report show that even though funding cuts and expensive college tuition are causing many to question the value of college education, workers must continue to acquire skills that the market needs and values.
-- George Awuor
Article posted on September 19, 2012