Jobs of the Future Require a Degree
According to the Apollo Group Inc. Higher Education in America is at a crossroads and one of the main reasons is that current job openings and jobs of the future require degrees.
Sixty years ago, America was the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. Back in the days of sock hops and be-bops, blue-collar jobs were the backbone of society. The U.S. economy was driven by industrial and agricultural jobs and only 20% required a college education. But times have changed. Our labor force is drastically different than mere decades ago.
We now have a global economy; one that is information based with 65% of jobs requiring specific skills training and/or a higher education. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicted in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, that the fastest growing jobs in the coming decade will actually require a college degree or higher. The future job growth by education level is evidence that more Americans than ever will need a college degree to get a job, remain competitive and advance their careers.
Despite this shift in job trends, currently only 35% of American workers have earned a 4-year degree. More than 80 million people over the age of 25, two-thirds of the American workforce, do not have a degree. Now, more than ever, is the time to earn a degree.
Higher education provides considerable benefits not only to those who earn their degree but also to society in general. Degree holders tend to experience more professional opportunity, higher wages and lower unemployment according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics; while society benefits from increased productivity, a higher tax base from increased earnings and reduced dependence on public assistance programs.
Colleges and universities are changing to meet these new educational demands. Many institutions are advancing their curriculum to include online and distance learning options, adult studies programs, degree completion and specialized certificate programs. Although traditional classes remain the most popular way to earn a degree, savvy professionals who have maxed out their potential are seeking alternative routes to advanced degrees.
As a society, now is the time to embrace opportunities that technology presents and promote earning a degree as a part of a broadly educated, productive and globally competitive workforce. Today’s jobs travel. If there is a job opportunity halfway across the country, people will relocate. Moreover, employers now have advanced tools for finding those most qualified prospects for their jobs and recruit them. The job market for information based and specialized skills is not only growing, but also more competitive than ever. As the job market continues to change over the next decade, the nontraditional student will be more prevalent and earning a degree will be the key to success.