A new released Wednesday finds that there are more than 30 million well-paying jobs in this country that don’t require a bachelor's degree and that pay, on average, $55,000 each year.
The report, Good Jobs That Pay Without A BA by Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce, concludes that the labor market for workers without a four-year degree is still strong, especially for white men, even though it's been reduced by automation and globalization.
The report finds workers without bachelor's degrees still make up 64 percent of the country's workforce. The number of blue-collar jobs has certainly declined over the past 30 years, but they haven't gone away in the skilled-services industries.
“It was surprising to me that this sector was so robust,” said lead researcher Anthony Carnevale, who believes middle-class families should rethink the idea that our education system takes students from high school to Harvard.
"For almost half of the kids who graduate from high school in America, they never do get a [college] degree. So there is this other half of Americans who aren't served by that vision," he said.
Carnevale thinks part of the problem is that high school guidance counselors are often judged on four-year college matriculation rates and there’s a stigma attached to vocational education.
“We’re not connecting young people to labor markets until they get to be lost and on their own after having tried to go to college and having failed and scrambled to find a job,” Carnevale said.
The good news, he added, is that there's a growing share of jobs in technology, advanced manufacturing and the skilled trades that require some post-secondary education but less than a four-year degree. The report shows that a gain of 4 million good jobs in skilled-services industries, such as financial services and health services, has more than offset the 2.8 million good jobs lost in manufacturing.
Americans with only high school diplomas still hold the largest share of good jobs (11.6 million), although that share continues to drop. Workers with some college but no degree have 9.3 million well-paying jobs; those with Associate’s degrees have 7.6 million good jobs, and high school dropouts only have 1.7 million.
Read the full report.