Higher Education and Unemployment

By Arjun ap.

While a higher education normally opens professional doors, this is not necessarily so during hard economy times and might actually pose a hazard.

When the unemployment rate is high, every education level is affected. Once the labor force has been whittled down, the next jobs lost generally belong to middle management or those making a substantial salary. While people with higher education reside at every job level, most of the latter two positions consist of college educated individuals.

No matter the job title held, after a lay-off, many people will rush out to get either a first-time college degree or continue their education, believing the additional schooling will provide the edge needed to obtain a new job. While learning new ideas, techniques and theories is a grand ambition, it also comes at a high price, both in time and expense and, in a tough economy, is no longer a guarantee for a better future.

Educational Return and Marketability

People talk about the importance of an education, but it’s not just getting that degree that counts. Those striving for a degree need to consider not only their major, but – like the Real Estate Industry – location, location, location. Jobs requiring higher education vary not only from one city to the next in regards to pay and benefits, but from one company to another.

Parade Magazine offers a yearly article that provides a glimpse at what people earn across the country and is a great source of information. There is also a Salary Wizard found online at Salary.com that gives monetary insight.

Choosing a career path is difficult. Some people might opt for a degree in a field that is marketable while others focus on a profession of keen interest. No matter which path is chosen, a college education offers new information and skills that can provide many life-long benefits that are not related to income and that are important to employers.

  1. Superb social skills
  2. High level of confidence
  3. Leadership qualities
  4. Problem-solving abilities

Higher Educations and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an unemployment rate of 9.7% with 15 million people out of work. For those aged 25 and above and with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the rate is much lower at 4.7%. While that percentage may not seem so bad, many of these individuals have spends thousands of dollars on their education and carry significant debt loads. Now they are looking for a positive return on their investment.

Unfortunately, in current economy times, people with higher educations are being passed over when it comes to entry level or low paying jobs. Not only is the competition stiff, there is a belief that the higher educated individual will not stick with a particular company should a better paying or field-related job open up.

In addition, fear for one’s job may prey on a supervisor’s mind when reviewing resumes should they come across a potential candidate with an education level greater than their own. But what truly needs to be understood is that most people, no matter the age or education level, will take any job available for two reasons.

First of all, blank time frames in employment are a deterrent. The saying “The longer an individual is out of work the harder it is to get a job” is true. When a person is forced through lack of employment to remain at home, their social and professional skills dull, making companies worry about integrating them into their culture. Building up a resume with minimized employment gaps, gives job-seekers a better chance at obtaining a long-term or permanent position.

Secondly, most people will take any job available because some income is better than no income. Many move to where the jobs are, leaving their families behind. Some start their own business and have succeeded. Others haven’t. With personal debt piling up, fears of foreclosure or bankruptcy and the need to keep food on the table, most people of any education level will accept temporary and part-time work, entry level positions and minimum wage jobs to keep the creditors at bay.

Arjun is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and a consciousness activist. He writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze.

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