College Education Benefits Younger Workers

on January 5, 2017

Even though younger workers have higher rates of unemployment and lower levels of labor force participation than older employees, the majority of millennials are optimistic about future job opportunities, according to Experiences and Perspectives of Young Workers.


The report, released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, found that the likelihood that a person is optimistic about his or her future increases with educational attainment.


Forty-one percent of people who responded to a survey used to craft the report said they believe they have the right amount of schooling and/or training for the type of job they will hold in the next five years. Optimism about being prepared for a job peaked with individuals holding graduate degrees and gradually decreased among respondents with less education.


“Respondents with a graduate degree are the most likely to believe they have the necessary level of education (76 percent of master’s degree and 90 percent for professional or doctorate degree),” the report stated. “Respondents with a certificate or technical degree or a bachelor’s degree also show a moderate degree of confidence in their level of education (54 percent and 59 percent, respectively).”


People who lacked a college degree were less optimistic about feeling prepared for the workforce. Only 29 percent with less than high school education, 35 percent with a high school diploma and 30 percent with some college felt prepared.


Additionally, the report found that a majority of young people feel college is worth the cost.


“Between 2013 and 2015, there was an increase in the percent of respondents (from 41 percent to 50 percent) who believe the financial benefits of their most recent educational program are larger than the costs,” the report stated. “Likewise, there was a decrease in the percent of respondents (from 23 percent to 18 percent) who believe that the financial benefits of their most recent educational program are smaller than the costs.”


Although millennials have a positive outlook on finding a job, most are not sure how their standard of living will compare to their parents. In fact, young people with a bachelor’s degree or more who have at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree believe their standard of living will be lower than their parents.


The study also found that less than half of people who responded worked in fields closely related to their degree.


Ultimately, the report found that workers who obtain postsecondary degrees fare better than those who only have a high school diploma or some college.


“Although unemployment rates and wages stagnated in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, workers with postsecondary credentials continued a longstanding trend of faring better in the labor market than the general population,” the report said. “Carnevale, Jayasundera, and Gulish (2015) found that since the end of the Great Recession, the number of jobs held by college graduates has steadily increased while jobs held by workers with a high school diploma or less have shown virtually no recovery.”

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