According to ZipRecruiter, many of the students that selected engineering and nursing as majors were pleased with their decision. Sadly though, many people regretted choosing education:
Moving beyond our majors to the return on our investment (ROI) in education, a recent Georgetown study told us quite a bit more.
A College Payoff
Called “The College Payoff,” the report came from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Its executive summary tells us that while a degree matters, occupational choice makes the real difference in pay. They then add that race, ethnicity, and gender are “wild cards” that also make a difference.
To understand the following infographic, please start with the horizontal red line. Representing the lifetime earnings of someone with a Bachelor’s Degree, it slices across a ladder of education. For the first circle on the left, we are shown that 7.3 percent of the people that did not complete high school earn more than those that completed college. Correspondingly, 14.3 percent of the individuals with a high school diploma and 23.1 percent of those who have some years of college also earn more than the people that graduated from college. Continuing to the right, the percents grow larger as more years of school get you relatively more of a return on your investment in education:
Meanwhile, gender does make a difference.
Shown by the shorter dark brown line throughout the graph, women earn less than men at every level of educational attainment:
Race and ethnicity also matter:
Our Bottom Line: Human Capital
Looking at the ROI from education, an economist could tell us that education builds human capital. Rather like we increase productivity by adding the tools and equipment that compose physical capital to a factory, we boost our human capital with more education. How we boost our human capital, though, might not always please us.