The Plight of the Unskilled College Grad
By Arnold Kling
I am just beginning to explore the issue of sorting out the economic value of college at the margin, rather than on average. One aspect of this is to distinguish between college graduates with skills and college graduates without skills, with the further distinction between private sector and public sector employment. I suspect that the average salaries of college graduates are boosted by those of skilled college graduates (engineers) and public-sector-employed college graduates (teachers). I wonder what the average salary looks like in the private sector for the unskilled college graduates (communications majors, majors with the word “studies” in them, etc.).
We can start with a year-old story in Forbes listing the top ten jobs for college graduates.
1. Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
2. Sales Agent, Financial Services
3. Sales Agent, Securities and Commodities
4. Market Research Analyst
5. Public Relations Specialist
6. Cost Estimator
7. Educational, Vocational and School Counselor
9. Paralegal and Legal Assistant
10. Computer Support Specialist
Of these, 1,6,8,9, and 10 require separate training and do not require a general liberal arts background. 4 requires some knowledge of statistics. 2,3, 5, and 7 could be jobs where having a general undergraduate degree might provide some experience in writing and communication that could prove useful.
What I would like is much better data that would help me estimate the salaries for unskilled college graduates.