Why some university students might be doomed to below-average earnings

Description:  How much will parents spend on school supplies, how much will it cost to go to university or college, and how much debt will that mean for students? These are the questions we’re asking, and good on us for doing so. Education is not so sacrosanct that we shouldn’t look at both benefits and costs.

Source: globeandmail.com

Date: Aug 29, 2013


With tuition costs rising more than inflation on a regular basis, there’s been talk in recent years about whether a postsecondary education is worth the cost. CIBC finds the unemployment rate for graduates to be 1.7 percentage points below those who have only a high school education, but that’s down from a little over three percentage points in the 1990s.

In consulting Statscan data, CIBC found that a bachelor’s degree gets you an average earnings premium of more than 30 per cent over a high school graduate. Yet after-inflation weekly wages for high school and college grads grew at a rate of 13 per cent over the previous decade, compared with just 8 per cent for holders of bachelor degrees.  READ REST OF STORY 


Questions for discussion:

1. How do you feel your field of study at university will fare when you enter the job market? Why?

2.  Do you feel having some training in info systems will help you in your job search to differentiate yourself in the market? Why or  Why Not?


17 thoughts on “Why some university students might be doomed to below-average earnings

  1. Lilly Rangsikriangkrai

    I reckon that people who receive a bachelor degree at University will have more opportunity than those who only graduate from high school. The benefits of higher education will not only extend to the chances of job offering, but also psychological benefits derived from the wealth of society. I believe that the degree I’m getting in marketing field would offer me lots of opportunity to work in any organizations since it is clearly seen that whatever we do or even interact with other people, marketing will be concerned to every aspect of our daily life. In the United States, marketing is the single largest employment category and it is anticipated growth will accelerate, growing faster than any other occupation. As I myself have a dream to run an international business continuing from my parents successfully, I think that marketing is the best answer for me to study. The reason why almost half of the most companies are unbelievably failed is marketing sucks.
    In my opinion, having some training in information systems will definitely help me in my job search because in marketing field, I will possess strong computer skills; have an understanding of traditional marketing, online marketing, and posses the skills to work in a global market, which are all related to the information systems. Furthermore, marketing careers are in abundance especially with online and global career opportunities on the rise, therefore I believe that marketing will be extremely difficult improved if information system doesn’t exist. However, I think that whatever field you study, information system is one of the most important functions leading you to the success.

  2. Tom

    Currently im studying to be an accountant and i believe that being an accountant will fare me well in the job market. I believe because businesses are opening and closing everyday, inorder for a business to be successful they need a finance person or people there to tell them that they you are spending too much money on equipment and not enough on inventory. What i mean by this is that every business needs an accountant because all business deals with money, even the non profit organization deals with money from charity. An accountant is someone there to explain to you where has your money come from and where has your money gone. If a business owner doesnt know where he/she money goes then the business will simply not last.

    I feel that training in information system will definitely help me in the future searching for jobs because company will see that i have a skill in computer like learning about prevention from hacker that will be a cherry on the top of the cake for them. Not only am i an accountant that knows numbers but i now know how to safely input my data into the computer without it being attacked or stolen by hackers.

  3. Sheldon

    With a major in Accounting, there is always the subtle yet persistent realization that, due to the numerical basis of my field, computing and technology are becoming an increasing threat. With regards to real life Accounting, much of the process has already been infiltrated, and as software and related technology continues to develop, there is only a matter of time until a particular sector of Accounting is entirely automated. However, areas of consulting require a human presence, so while the computational facets may be done in the blink of an eye, there will not be a complete “outsource” to machines. I value my knowledge in info systems and related fields greatly, as it is knowledge applicable to any tech related field. When in the job market, individuals must differentiate themselves, as attempting to compete on a cost basis will surely lead to a menial income and immense workloads. Overall, gathering applicable knowledge from every realm possible is an irreplaceable asset to any individual who’s job may be undertaken my machines, as differentiation is something every smart company seeks. Additionally, the article seems to equate income with happiness, while I know for a fact that a large body of people may be entirely satisfied with being paid “less that average”, for a job that enjoy.

  4. Dan Wilde

    With the rate at which technology is advancing, and more and more jobs are becoming automated it is always on the back of my mind whether or not with the education that I am pursuing, whether it will work out well in the long run or not. I am studying accounting and it is not improbable to think that areas of that field could be come automated and replaced. I believe that being able to combine knowledge of a field with a continual learning and understanding of the technology that is entering the field that people will still be able to find a place where they will be of value. In the business world you have to continually be looking for new opportunities. Instead of fearing the worst we will need to seek the opportunities that can come from the development of technology.

  5. Austin Smith

    I think that getting a degree in general management will work out quite well in the job market. When I first started university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be so I pursued general studies. It was not until my first management course that I really found out what I want to be, a manager. I decided to stay within general management instead of specifying within accounting, finance, human resources, or economics because after taking the introductory course for all of them, they were not that interesting and also I did not do so well in some. Keeping general management as a degree will do well in the job market because it covers a whole aurora of management options. Yes lots of other students are doing this as well so I am not that differentiated, but I still believe that this degree will push me forward from the job I’m in now, to further up the corporate ladder within the same occupation. Training in information systems indeed will help differentiate me because as a globalizing generation, we rely on information systems everyday of our lives. Companies simply cannot function without a proper information system, and proper personal to operate it.

  6. Michelle

    Personally I believe a University Education outweighs any other education background for many reasons. A lot of the courses offered at universities are all in-depth giving the learner a holistic learning experience on the course and/or topic. Students also have the opportunity to learn many different perspectives which they can bring to the “real world of employment” and which could also be utilized on a daily basis. Having a university education also helps the students prepare for the work field with updated skills and of course knowledge. However, I do also think which field of study you enter does play a factor in the success rate of employment after university.
    Choosing which faculty to enter is always a tricky one for me, especially having to explain it to my young children who dream of attending university after high school. I know people who have chosen a faculty that they were interested in and felt very passionately about, but I have also known some people to have even choose fields that came natural to them giving them no real challenge at all. For the amount of money that it is worth I would say choose a field that is challenging, creative, yet fun but also beneficial after graduation, like Management.

  7. Denaye Corbeil

    I think that getting a combined degree in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of management in Human Resources and Labour Relations will fare well in the job market. When I first started University, my goal was to get a Bachelors Degree in Sociology/Psychology because I found these topics very interesting. I later realized that they were only a very limited number of careers available for those with this degree, unless graduate school was pursued. I decided that getting a management degree with my bachelor of arts would open a lot more career opportunities and offer a higher salary. I think that having a combined degree in these areas will give me an advantage when I am applying for jobs because it shows that I have knowledge in two different fields, and both degrees can be applied to the management job market. I think that since almost any company needs a Human Resource manager, it wont be too hard to find a job, especially in the bigger cities, such as Calgary or Edmonton. I think that having some training in information systems will help me in the job market when searching for a job. It will differentiate myself from those who may not have any knowledge or educational background on this topic. Also, information systems are such a huge part of today’s society, having this knowledge can be applied to many different fields.

  8. Samantha

    My choice of study path came because of the competitiveness in the workforce and the lack of employment in the field that I love. My passion is in the Social Sciences/Humanities elements of Kinesiology. I have been a coach since I was 12 years old and find genuine fulfillment when my athletes reach new goals and become better people because of their participation and qualities developed in a sporting atmosphere. But being a professional coach? That’s something that is laughed at. Because of this I chose a combined program. BA Sc. Kines/B Mgmt. The added knowledge from Management (marketing, accounting, human resources, etc.) will allow me to be more employable or give me the tools to open my own gym – which is the plan.

    I know my training in information systems will give me an advantage when starting up my own company and would allow myself to be more employable should I not choose that route. In an ever changing world of technology you must be able to keep up with trends and stay relevant as a company, especially in the physical fitness industry where marketing and social media play a key role in new memberships and creating excitement.

  9. Meghan

    When I first started my education path at the University of Lethbridge, I was planning on graduating after five years with a combined degree of a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education. After completing my third year at the University of Lethbridge, I realized that the competitiveness to enter the education program must have meant something was going on in the real world work force. Why would one particular faculty be so competitive if there were enough jobs to support all graduates? There was one answer and it was that there were not enough teaching jobs out there for the number of education graduates, even with the GPA set at a high number. This is when I learned that if I wanted to be able to make money and actually have a good paying career when I finished school, I would need to switch faculties and enter a field that had more opportunities. I decided to finish my first degree and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts, which will do me no good in the job market, and begin my second degree to graduate with a Bachelor of Management. I feel this field of study will open doors for myself once I finish school as I have done research for the area I wish to work in and the types of positions they are hiring and I have tailored my education too fit the job market.

  10. Ashley E.

    My degree will be a bachelor of Management in Human Resources & Labor Relations. I am on an education agreement leave of absences from my employer. I have been at an officer level for seven years and realize the importance of having a completed if you are interested in advancing. I was given a lot of acting assignments in a management position but when competing for the position I always screened out of the competition because I did not have a completed degree. I understand how the recruitment process works and know that my degree will help me secure a better paying job.

    We recently upgraded our Oracle PeopleSoft system and as a recruiter I sat in on the trial group meetings. I didn’t understand a lot of the discussions at the meetings and feel that this class has helped me better understand how a database management system works. It’s definitely going to help me when I return to my position. I also found the chapter about Internet problems (viruses, Trojan worms etc…) helpful for my everyday of my computer. The big data information is intriguing and will keep me cautious when purchasing items online and in the stores.

  11. Jingyue Wang

    If I had more opportunities and got more offers than people who only have high school degree when I enter the job market, I’ll consider that my university education is worthy. I am not sure how things are working in Canada, but in China, it is hardly to get a job with only a high school degree because there are nearly 1.4 billion citizens in China and of course everyone wants to have a job, so the competitions are pretty strong. Forgot to mention, the minimum wages in different provinces are between 1.5-2.5 Canadian dollars per hour, which means with only your high school degree you can get a job which makes you barely live. The life will change after you get a bachelor degree. You could have a better job, higher income, and a better life. As time goes by, nowadays a domestic bachelor degree is not enough; more and more people are trying to have a postgraduate diploma in order to get a well-paid job. These are the reason why I chose to go to university.

  12. Daljot

    1. How do you feel your field of study at university will fare when you enter the job market? Why?
    I think my field of study will get me a good job once I enter the job market since I am doing a combined degree with sciences and management in HR. Every company needs an HR department so finding a decent paying job shouldn’t be too hard at all. If I was doing just a Bachelors in science with psychology I don’t think my degree would have paid off at all because to get somewhere in that field you need more like a masters or PHD. I think is is very unfair to the social sciences and humanity students that attend university because there degree doesn’t get them too far but instead puts them in a lot of debt. I feel if you have a university degree you should be able to get a good paying job regardless because of the time and money you have spent on training in the field you choose to study. If what you are studying in university doesn’t guarantee you a job in the long run , why offer it as a degree anyways?
    2. Do you feel having some training in info systems will help you in your job search to differentiate yourself in the market? Why or Why Not?
    I think having some training in information systems will help me in my job search because i will know where to search and how to narrow down my search to apply for jobs. It will also help because info systems are in all environments and knowing how to use them will make us stand out from other individuals.

  13. Danae

    I feel that studying accounting will give me more opportunities in the job market after I graduate. I feel that it is more practical. Another factor that I like about accounting is the diversity in job opportunities. I have the choice to work as a public accountant or I could work in industry, depending on what area interests me more. Before I went into accounting, I wanted to get a music degree because I love playing the piano. But when I considered what kind of job I could get after graduation, all I could realistically think of was teaching and that was the one thing I didn’t want to do. I decided to study an area where there were more opportunities and keep playing the piano just for fun. I knew how expensive university was and I didn’t want to go invest a ton of money into a degree that would not get me a job afterwards. The great thing about university is that they give you electives as part of your course requirement. This requirement has allowed me to study other areas of interest (like history, psychology and music). I feel like I had the opportunity to study areas I am passionate about while pursing a degree that will give me challenging and rewarding career after graduation.

  14. Ashley S

    I believe that getting a degree in accounting will fare me much better in the job market than if I had not gone for any post-secondary education. In the foreseeable future, there will be a constant need for such jobs like accounting, finance, etc. as dealing with money and managing funds is relevant in everyone’s lives. While my degree may not get me a job that pays $250,000 per year, it will still provide opportunities far above what could be reached without a university education. In my current field of study, it will be far more beneficial to have a degree that will allow me to pursue more prestigious, high-paying jobs, rather than having a college degree that may not provide the same opportunities.

    One of the issues being looked at is that some degrees (humanities, social sciences, etc.) do not give people any advantage in the job market, and many people with these degrees earn less than $30,000 per year. I believe this is due to the extremely narrow availability of jobs in these streams. In the case of these degrees, I believe the costs would outweigh the benefits of receiving that particular degree, as there is no point in spending tens of thousands of dollars on an education with no substantial job market.

  15. Blake Willert

    The degree that I am getting is a combined degree in Finance and Social Science. I have the Social Science part because I was originally trying to get into the Education program. This did not happen so I am now doing the Finance route. I feel that my degree will lead me to a good job and career. I am looking at doing either investments or a personal financial advisor. Both of these careers people make a very good salary. I feel that once I leave university I may have to get a starter job at a bank or somewhere related to finance but will be able to move on to what I really to be quickly. I think that the my degree will help me get a job because of having the combined degree. It shows that I have taken a wide array of classes and have bits od knowledge in different areas. I think that my university education will pay off for me in the end.

    As far as taking a class in information systems it will only help me get a job. Putting that you have some computer literacy and have taken an information systems class will be a big plus for future employers to see. It shows that you have a basic understanding about what computers can do and you know how to do basic functions with them. I am by no way saying that I am proficient but I would be able to figure a system out quickly. I think having any computer training or information systems class on a resume is one of the single most important things you can have on a resume today. This is because computers are used in almost every job today and knowing how to use one is crucial.

  16. Stephanie

    I decided to go into accounting because it is a field that as many job opportunities and different options. I would have loved to take something more on the humanities side however I realize that by choosing that option I would severely limit my earning potential and career options, especially if I decide to stay close to Lethbridge. I wanted a degree that would allow me as many career options as possible and accounting is in every business and field out there.

    I think that training in information systems is absolutely going to help me in the future. Having a good working knowledge of different computer accounting systems is a good start. Being able to use different computer programs such as Word and Excel seem to be vital requirements in almost any office job these days. Knowing about the information systems used by the company you are seeking employment with can help set you apart from other candidates as the company will have to spend less time training you. Depending on how advanced you knowledge of the information system is you may even become a valuable asset. No one is going to fire the only person in the office who knows how to fix the computer when it goes haywire.

  17. Jeff Fero

    Personally I feel like the decision to come back to school was a good one. This is however, following a six year absence from University, where my original choice to attend was a poor one. After high school I jumped into the accounting program, simply because I was under the impression that University was the way to go; and since my high school offered me an accounting class, I stuck with that program. It was however, after about two years of school that I realized I couldn’t stand accounting, and was only in it out of principle. I dropped the school and went on numerous life adventures. Primarily playing music across Canada, touring in vans, and playing shows in dirty bars. Oddly enough this experience gave me more real world knowledge on marketing than school ever could. When the dreams wore thin and I was back to reality, I had a strong understanding and interest in marketing. After a few decent jobs, the politics alone dictated that I should come back to school and get a degree. Personally, I have seen and worked in the field, so I know there is no shortage of opportunity for qualified marketing students. Students who are pushed into programs straight out of high school are the ones who will likely earn less than average, and there is no shortage of these students. If you have no real drive or desire for what you are doing, then no matter what program you enter, even engineering, you will not likely excel in that field. Granted some degrees present more opportunity than others, but I have seen friends with guitars make thousands of dollars playing music, so anything is attainable to the right person if they are in the right place at the right time.

    As for marketing, “IS” is a massive part of the modern job description. The things I was unknowingly doing for my own business prior were all info systems related. Knowing your fans and clients, knowing who wants to hear from you often, who wants to hear from when it affects them, and who wants to hear from you once a year is key. IS has countless functions in marketing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s