The struggle to find jobs seems to get tighter and tougher with every college graduation.
Men with bachelor’s degrees still make more than women with comparable diplomas. And less than half of all people with a degree beyond high school were working in the field in which they studied.
Indeed, times are harsh for those leaving their college or university with a diploma in hand.
But a diploma is required in today’s work force.
In 1984, 10.6 percent of the general population over the age of 18 had a bachelor’s degree. In 2009, 17.1 percent did. The percentage grows every year.
Back in the 1970s, only 26 percent of the middle class had post-secondary education. That was the decade when postgraduate jobs were noticeably becoming tougher to find as college-educated baby boomers hit the job market. More employers began seeking workers with college degrees — a trend that continues today.
Indeed, many job seekers in 2012 will find that a high school diploma alone isn’t enough to guarantee higher wages. A college degree is prerequisite to a decent paying job. Granted, not all degrees are equal.
A report by Georgetown University earlier this year found that the unemployment rate for recent graduates is highest in architecture (13.9 percent) — thanks to the dismantling of the home-building industry. In the arts, the rate was 11 percent and law and public policy at 8.1 percent.
The picture may not be rosy but don’t ever let those numbers be discouraging. If a college graduate sought a degree because he or she had a passion for a profession, then a career will come. The graduate just has to be savvy enough to pursue it.
On this Saturday, more than 600 undergraduate and graduate students will cross the stage in the annual commencement ceremony at Anderson University.
During today’s exercises, AU will award four honorary degrees. They’ll go to basketball legend John E. Wilson, former scientist Lois A. Settlemeyer, physician Dr. Frank Campbell and attorney/philanthropist Charles Dickmann.
The presence of the four on the stage today should underscore the importance of following one’s heart in serving the world, of finding a post-college place in society that not only soothes the soul but benefits the community at large.
Is it necessary to have a college degree to help the world? Of course not. But it is a critical step in setting a path to a potentially rewarding future.
There are no paychecks hanging from the college diplomas given out today. Instead, each diploma should be viewed as another step in finding one’s personal role in the world.