Study after study finds a link between higher and better and more varied employment opportunities, but the challenging job market, the high cost of college and technological breakthroughs are compelling many to consider more affordable alternatives to the traditional college path,
Fewer than half (43 percent) of American workers employed full or part time report that the type of work they do generally requires a bachelor’s degree, according to a new Gallup poll. Fifty-seven percent said that their job does not. This is down slightly from 61 percent in 2002.
Two-thirds of workers with professional, executive or managerial jobs said that a college degree is needed in their line of work. This percentage drops to 50 percent among those in other white-collar jobs, with an equal number saying that a college degree is not necessary. Eight-in-ten blue collar workers said that a college degree is not required for their line of work.
Nearly 90 percent of postgraduates report being employed in a job that requires at least a college degree. Just under 60 percent of respondents with a college degree only report the same. Among those with some or no college, 37 percent and 17 percent, respectively, said a degree is required for the work they do.
While gender and age are not significant factors for those who say their job requires a degree, income is. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of those earning at least $75,000 said that a college degree is required for the work they do. This percentage declines to 35 percent for those earning between $30,000 and $74,999, and to just 17 percent for those earning less than $30,000.
Among affluent investors surveyed recently by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, college is considered necessary and a key contributor to their success. More than eight-in-10 (84 percent) affluent investors in our survey said they believe a college education is necessary. Net worth is a factor in how much stock these respondents put in earning a degree. The highest percentage of those who believe a college education is necessary was of those with a net worth of at least $5 million (88 percent) vs. those with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (81 percent).
Nine-out-of-ten affluent investors credit their college education as a contributor to their success.
Study after study finds a link between higher and better and more varied employment opportunities. But, Gallup concludes, “changes in the nation’s economy in the past decade, coupled with a revolution in technology, may be challenging the traditional college bargain” and compelling students to consider more affordable alternatives to the traditional college path, including technical training, online education, self-directed learning, and internships.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.