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Higher Education Prerequisite for Most U.S. Job Opportunities

The significance of higher education cannot be underestimated, especially as we recover from the economic turmoil of the 2007 Great Recession. It’s like a golden ticket to success.

Now, I know there are skeptics out there who might try to convince you that a college degree isn’t necessary for a successful career. But let’s be real – when we look at the facts about the job market and the demands of businesses today, their arguments just don’t hold water. So, why is college so crucial, even for entry-level positions? Well, it all boils down to how our economy and the products and services we offer have evolved, leaning more towards automation and technology. This transformation is precisely why continuing your education beyond high school is a smart move.

Importance of a College Education

Let’s talk about the importance of continuing education for online essay writers and proofreaders.  The increase in jobs requiring a college degree over the last four decades is nothing short of remarkable. And I’ve got some compelling statistics to back that up, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Georgetown University.

Back in 1973, only 25.5 million jobs, or 28 percent, demanded a college degree. This marked a significant departure from the time when most jobs didn’t require any college education whatsoever.
Fast forward to 2007, and there was a seismic shift in the types of products and services being offered, pushing the number of jobs requiring higher education to a whopping 101.1 million, or 59 percent, compared to 1973. This translated into a 31 percent drop in jobs that only called for a high school diploma or less.

Higher Education
Higher Education

And the future looks even more education-oriented. In 2023, jobs requiring a college education are expected to reach 102.9 million, a 63 percent increase compared to 1973. That means a 35 percent decline in jobs for those without college degrees since the ’70s.

These numbers paint a clear picture of why earning a college degree tailored to your chosen career field is more important than ever. A great starting point? The Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which can help you figure out the right degree for your dream job. So, trust me, investing in your education is a surefire way to open doors to a world of opportunities in today’s evolving job market.

Labor Market Needs More Workers with Higher Education

As a business enthusiast, I have come across compelling opinions from industry leaders. They are sounding the alarm about a looming labor shortage in the U.S. that is reaching critical levels in some cases. This shortage of skilled workers is particularly pronounced in industries such as information technology, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and healthcare. What’s the catch? Most jobs in these industries require higher education, from associate’s degree to graduate school.

That’s why it’s important not only for employers, but for all of us who want career success and stability. I came across a fascinating report called “Help Wanted: Projections for Jobs and Education Requirements through 2023” prepared by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. This report is striking in its findings:

  • Technological Skills: It turns out that folks who go beyond high school and complete higher education tend to level up their technological skills and knowledge. In today’s tech-driven world, that’s like having a golden ticket. These skills are in sky-high demand, and they pave the way for higher earnings and better benefits.
  • Workplace Training: If you’re rocking a college degree, you’re more likely to score opportunities for formal training paid for by your employer. On the flip side, those with just a high school diploma or less might find themselves with limited chances for formal training. It’s a clear advantage for the college-educated crowd.
  • Umbrella Protection: Here’s the kicker – during the 2007 Great Recession, workers with college degrees weathered the storm with the lowest unemployment rates. Now, as the economy bounces back, those college grads who might have faced layoffs have fantastic prospects for rehire and returning to work. On the flip side, those with just a high school diploma or less faced the highest unemployment rates during the same period.

Investing in post-high school education isn’t just good for employers; it’s a turbo boost for your own career prospects and stability in an ever-changing job landscape. Don’t just take my word for it; the numbers and business leaders are singing the same tune.

The Need for Jobs Requiring Higher Education Has Increased

I couldn’t ignore the profound impact of the 2007 Great Recession, which triggered a noteworthy shift in the job market towards roles demanding at least an associate’s degree. It hit me hard that folks without post-high school education faced a tough road to reemployment during the recovery phase. You can check out 4 resume templates to learn more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics highlighted some key factors that affected their chances of getting back into their pre-recession jobs:

Automation and Outsourcing

Picture this – hundreds of thousands of low-skill jobs vanished during the recession. Some were automated, while others were shipped overseas as companies tried to trim their expenses. Shockingly, even more part-time jobs, over half a million, were projected to be axed by 2023 as businesses continued to embrace automation and outsourcing.

New and Different Jobs

As the economy gradually picked up the pieces, it was forecasted to create a whopping 46 million new jobs by 2023. Some were brand-new positions, while others were replacements. But here’s the twist: thanks to the recession’s impact, a whopping 63 percent of these jobs were expected to require some level of college education.

Tech Skills

It became abundantly clear that employers were saying goodbye to low-skill jobs and welcoming technology with open arms. This meant that the demand for employees with a college education was on the rise. The new jobs on the block were becoming increasingly tech-centric. So, the name of the game was technology skills, coupled with the ability to tackle intricate challenges posed by high-tech products and services.

The Takeaway Here is Crystal Clear

Continuing education beyond high school is not just important; it’s downright urgent. The appetite for college-educated workers was only going to grow, even beyond 2023, making the job market even more unforgiving for those with just a high school diploma or less. If you’re someone who felt the brunt of the 2007 recession and you haven’t secured at least an associate’s degree, the clock is ticking, my friend. Now is the time to set your sights on a college degree tailored to your desired career path. Your future self will thank you for it.


Brandon Galarita is a freelance writer and K-12 educator in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is passionate about technology in education, college and career readiness and school improvement through data-driven practices.

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