The dude on the news was talking about a recent study that seems to say that people with University degrees are earning less than people with high school degrees. Guy then goes on to say that University grads make more but that people with high school diplomas have received more pay rises, which has resulted in University grads making less. This is either an example of shoddy reporting or of unclear writing. It cannot be both – or all three – things.
The study went in to say that a University degree (undergrad, graduate, or post-graduate) does not guarantee a middle-class life. What the study apparently didn’t even look at is the fact that our government has, over the past ten years, eroded the middle class.
So this is what pisses me off: these studies that look at one thin without looking at the effects other pressures may have on the entire system. It’s like studying the plumbing in a house by looking at the shower drain and concluding that the plumbing problems are all caused by hair in the drains. You have to look at multiple factors with something like this – you have to take a step or two back and figure out what all is in play.
Like the cost of education, the earning power of a student’s family, the ethnicity of the student, the type of degree they are graduating with (they did conclude that bachelor of science and Bachelor of Arts degrees don’t guarantee good paying jobs. Which we’ve known for 30 years – those are general education degrees and if you want to find work as a specialist you kind of have to specialise), the area of the country in which you study, the profile of the university, the types of jobs students are seeking, the time frame in which they are looking, the political climate and policies/legislation enacted over the course of the study that may have an effect on outcomes, rates of pregnancy and childbirth, rates of illness…I mean, you could go on forever.
So the conclusion seems to be that an undergraduate degree in 2014 doesn’t “pay” as much as it did in 1964. We’ll slap my rump and call me “baby”. I am shocked. The 60s were when the baby boomers were bursting into the market and creating a very weird future. The 70s were when they were all calming down and getting puppies and babies and non-Volkswagen cars. The 80s were when they were at the height of their earning potential. And the economy has been slowing down since then. AS IT SHOULD.
Anyway. I yelled at the news today because of that comment about how tough it is to try to earn a middle class wage as a University grad, but didn’t give a very complete picture as to why.