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Government survey highlights higher earnings of college graduates


Friday, April 18, 2014

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released data on the weekly earnings of workers for the first three months of 2014. While the amount college graduates earn will depend largely on their experience and field of expertise, the report provides some insight as to the importance of a college degree.

More education equals higher salaries
According to the BLS report, there is a considerable difference between wages earned by individuals with a high school diploma and those earned by college graduates. Full-time workers over the age of 25 who did not complete high school made $480 in median weekly earnings. High school graduates with no college experience earned median weekly earnings of $660, while those with a bachelor's degree made almost twice that amount, at $1,199.

Advanced degrees proved to be even more lucrative. Of the men who had a master's degree or more, the highest-earning 10 percent made $3,834 in median weekly earnings. Their female counterparts earned $2,390, which represented a significant gender gap. This wasn't the only discrepancy, as age tends to factor in as well. People ages 45 to 54 typically had the highest weekly salary, while those 16 to 24 years old had the lowest average wages.

Education provides a push toward success
The average salary earned by college graduates is just one identifier of the changing employment landscape. Employers today expect workers to have a wide variety of skills and knowledge, and unfortunately, a high school education is not enough to allow students to  acquire these qualifications.

First Lady Michelle Obama recently spoke about the importance of a college education during her speech at Howard University. She conveyed to current high school and college students the significance of their educational endeavors, emphasizing how a degree is needed to succeed in the modern world.

"No longer is high school the bar," Obama told the audience. "That is not enough in today's globalizing economy. You have got to go to college, or get some kind of professional training beyond college."

In addition to having greater earning potential, college graduates also have more employment options and opportunities for advancement. Obama told the Howard audience, "… you all have complete control over your futures.  How you approach your education is really still within your hands."

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