Pew Charitable Trusts publishes report showing college graduates have advantages in job market

Veronica Porras

Students with bachelor’s degrees still have a better chance at surviving today’s job market than those with high school diplomas and associate degrees, according to a report released by a nonprofit in January.

Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization aimed at informing citizens on public policy, released a report Jan. 9 that showed in the U.S. attaining a postsecondary education helps 21 to 24-year-olds reach economic stability. As compared to their less-educated counterparts, graduates holding a degree from a higher education institution remain more protected from the hardships of the economic downturn, according to the report. 

The report showed that recent graduates from four year institutions experience more employment opportunities, higher skilled jobs and slightly better wages than those with an associate degree or high school diploma, Diana Elliott, research manager of the Economic Mobility Project, said.

The report used data analysis coming from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment & Training Administration to compare bachelor’s degree holders to individuals with high school diplomas and associate degrees.

The report states that although those with bachelor’s degrees have also had trouble in the job market, their prospects are stabilizing.

High school graduates and those with associate or bachelor’s degrees were part of the 7.8 percent of Americans who were unemployed as of December 2012. Unemployed college graduates, however, are considered and referred to as “marginally attached” figures to the labor market and not part of the economy by choice, according to the report. Students with graduate degrees or higher were the most upwardly mobile and successful in establishing careers, according to the report.

For alumna Andrea Zarate this was not surprising but something she expected upon graduating. Zarate, who graduated from UT with a double major in journalism and women’s studies in 2012, is still working to establish her career and economic stability after six months, she said. 

“I feel like I’m establishing my career right now,” Zarate said. “I work a lot with media education, media empowerment, working with the community for community media. I feel like I’m doing that. I’m doing what I want to do but it’s just the part of making money that is the problem. So, I’m doing what I want but not necessarily paying the bills.”

Zarate said the study could have been more accurate if it had accounted for diversity.

“What you have to take into account is people’s background,” Zarate said. “Some students that graduated from college might be from more actual means or middle class background. They might have connections because their parents have gone to college. They have a line of professionals in their family, and so, it’s going to be different from student to student.”

Petroleum engineering senior Bian Mutang Tagal said he is confident his work field choice ensures a better chance of employment.

“I don’t have a job lined up but I’m not too worried about it because the engineering oil and gas industry is really hiring people right now,” Tagal said. “And also, I have all the semester just to look for a job.”