Thursday, October 23, 2014

What will a college degree get you?

Posted on Jan. 31, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.

Some people question if a college degree is still worth the investment. There are careers that do not require a college degree. But, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon lately; many potential employers are now asking for a college degree – even if the job would not normally require it.

But why? A concept of economics – supply and demand.

Today, there are many more unemployed people in relation to how many jobs are available. When employers advertise an open position, they are pummeled with applications. I recently asked our human resources department to post a vacancy for an administrative assistant position. We only posted the announcement on our own website, and we received approximately 100 applications in less than 72 hours.

One of the ways an employer can reduce the number of applicants is by increasing the qualification requirements. This narrows the funnel – so to speak. Some employers believe they should choose from the cream of the crop, and one of the ways they can do this is by using the college degree as a filter. After all, having a college degree demonstrates fortitude, tenacity, the ability to complete a project, and it gives a strong indication of a certain level of intelligence. Yet, this strategy does not always work because a person who is too over-qualified may not stick around should they find a more lucrative opportunity somewhere else.

Still, an increasing number of employers are asking for the college degree. Some people believe the bachelor’s degree will soon replace the high school diploma as the new minimum standard – if it hasn’t already.

So, what will a college degree get you? Consider the education itself, the experience, a certain level of pride, revered accomplishment, and betterment of ones’ self. After that, it depends. It will not guarantee a job offer. But, it may increase the chances of being considered qualified, getting the interview and opportunity to sell yourself.

One more thing... according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics website, the median annual earnings in 2010 for young adults ages 25-34 with a high school diploma was approximately $28,900. And for those who had a bachelor’s degree? $44,900. Calculate the difference and see what that would come to over 10, 20, or 30 years.

Is the college degree still worth it? I believe, yes – it is.