Job Seekers! Still believe college degree not important?

From University of Michigan Econ Professor Justin Wolfers and the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes the following chart on why it’s important to get your college degree:

Unemployment by educationUnemployment rate for College Graduates = 3% ish

Unemployment rate for some college = 5.7% ish

Unemployment rate for High School diploma = 6.2% ish

Unemployment rate for No High School diploma = 9% ish

The one thing I found most interesting from this chart is the closeness between high school diploma and some college/Associate degree.  There is virtually no difference.  I think this would change considerably if you pulled out those Associate degree folks who got a two year degree in some sort of skilled trade.

Otherwise just going to college, and not graduating, is virtually the same as just going to high school and graduating.  I wonder how this might all change with companies like Google claiming they will hire people without a degree?

With organizations like the Kahn Academy, you can virtually get an Ivy League education from the comfort of your parents basement.  How long does it take for those statistics to catch up with our current reality?  When does the ease of access of education online change the numbers above?

Maybe a better question is, do you ever see a time when Fortune 1000 type of organizations will not use ‘college degrees’ as a main criteria for screening out potential candidates?  That’s a huge shift in perspective, but with pre-employment screening tools continuing to advance, we aren’t too far away from having the ability to accurately measure two individuals: one with a degree, one without, to see which one would really be the better ‘job’ fit.

In the mean time – go to school kids!


3 thoughts on “Job Seekers! Still believe college degree not important?

  1. Is the reason for education – at any level – solely a path to employment? My father always said education isn’t about employment – it was about perspective and understanding the world. Education gave you options – nothing more.

    Jobs, etc. – came with work, experience, effort, etc. Education was surely an enabler – but it was really about just being aware of a bigger picture than what was visible out your front door.

    But color me a romantic.

    • Paul –

      I’ve got teenage sons that I don’t want living with me until they’re in their 30’s. It’s about getting a job!

      Point taken –


      • I got two – one out of college the other in. They both know that there is no gravy train – school or no school – they are grown ups and need to move on …. their life happens outside my door – college or not.

        They get until 25 if they are in school – after that regardless – they are going to find it very uncomfortable living with me. No college – they go after high school.

        But I see that as a function of age not education. No kid – regardless of schooling should be living in the basement at 30…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.