Studies Show College Degrees Play a Bigger Role in Finding a Job

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COLUMBIA - Studies from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center show having a college degree plays a more important role in finding a job or keeping someone employed in the job market.

According to Missouri Unemployment Rates and Earnings by Education, unemployment rates were 17.9 percent for people with less than a high school diploma while the rates were only 3.6 percent for people with a bachelor's degree or higher. 

The State of the Workforce Report 2011 also reports that by the year 2018 almost 50 percent of the new jobs created due to growth in the state will require either a short-term on-the job training or a bachelor's degree.

Allen Jennings, the district manager of Kelly Services, which helps people find jobs, said he is seeing more people with college degrees come to his office. Jennings also said although most people apply online, he encouraged people to come in person with a resume so he can help them better.

Jennings said it's no doubt having some sort of college degree has become one of the most important factors for finding a job.

"Your chances of getting a job with a degree is still much greater," Jennings said.

With a trend of needing more people with certain types of college degrees in the job market, Jennings said, "Certain degrees like IT, life sciences, engineering that's where the demand is gonna be in the future; that's where the shortages are already happening."

Meanwhile, Jennings believed when people have the same qualifications for a position, some employers might choose the one with a college degree since having one shows that person's abilities and disciplines.

However, Jennings also said there are still industries that don't need degrees and people with work and life experience can be very competitive too.

At the University of Missouri, a lot of students come to the Career Center to seek help for their resumes. Amanda Nell, senior student service coordinator, said students who attend colleges not only learn specific knowledges, but also learn some important interpersonal skills.

"Our economy is moving as a country for more of a service industry, less of a manufacturing industry, so we need folks who are adaptable; we need folks who are going to be lifelong learners," Nell said.

Recently, the University of Missouri System joined a national movement to boost the number of college degrees by 2025.