Survey: You Need More Education To Make It Through This Tough Economy

Recently, Dr. Mary Hawkins, President of Bellevue University a private, nonprofit University in the Midwest offering programs tailored to fit the busy lives of working students, released the results of a survey that studied the US workers view of upper/further education.  The message was clear: Those who were hardest hit with the economic downturn and are finding it the most difficult to find jobs are those without higher education.  This group is now seriously thinking about school.

Among the most telling data from this survey:

–          60% of Americans have given some or a lot of thought to going back to school.  People age 25-44 are the most serious about getting a degree, with 70% contemplating a higher education.

–          2-3 people who don’t have a degree are considering going back to school, and more than half of people with a two-year or four-year degree are thinking about return to college.

–          The people who are most focused on a higher education are single adults at 73% and divorced or separated at 64%.

When asked about the driving force behind such high numbers of people looking at some form of additional education Dr. Hawkins stated: “I see two primary drivers behind this movement. 1- Many people realize their current career path is not viable.  Perhaps their education or background did not lead to a career that was suitable or available. And 2- The discovery that there is no advancement or hiring without a degree.  Having a career with general skills and some education no longer is enough.  People are looking to better “recession-proof” their jobs and usually that is going to be with some degree or form of certification that can only be obtained through schooling.  We can see that the US worker without higher education has been impacted the most.”

In further discussion with Dr. Hawkins, she went on to outline some very exciting hiring trends.  She said: “We are having real discussion with the Railroad industry and Gas/Oil industries where they are not just increasing their hiring but have a very real exodus of baby boomers in the next few years.  They are hiring for new positions and for replacements for the boomers.  They are solidly going after degreed candidates which are a shift from previous hiring practices.  Another interesting employment trend is the large scale construction industry is hiring distribution and logistics degreed candidates due to the convergence of so much material.”  These messages are important to the US population to help them make more informed decisions about their careers.

When asked about people looking to enter school to help their careers, Dr. Hawking gave this advice: “1- Be purposeful in your pursuit of education.  It should be looked at as something to better prepare you for a great future. 2- Understand the career path that the credential leads to.  3- Do everything you can to not carry debt created by your schooling.  Some people finish school with more debt than a home mortgage and a career that won’t pay it off for a very long time.”  The key is to be thoughtful and do your research ahead of time so your hard work and financial investment will be useful when you’re done.

There are studies that point to the fact that in less than 10 years 60% of all US jobs will require post secondary education.  Anecdotally, you also now hear stories of bachelor degrees being required for administrative positions.  Clearly, the bar for has gone up for the US worker.  You have to have an education if you even want to just “get by”.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from and

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a certified life and career coach. She works with aspiring professionals who are looking for career growth, advancement and entry into the “C” suite. As well, she works with people to overcome the sometimes daunting task of changing careers. With over 21 years in management, Dorothy has coached, trained and guided other professionals who have gone on to impressive and fulfilling careers. Her personal philosophy about careers is: “It’s not JUST a job; it’s half your life – so love your career”. You can check out her resources, blog and services at Next Chapter New Life and MBA Highway.

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