Workforce Study Released
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 02:09
A new study released by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce last month shows that education level and gender both affected employment during the recent recession and recovery.
According to Tamara Jaya-sundera, Georgetown research professor and co-author of the report, the study was initially aimed at understanding the differing effects of the recession and recovery on men and women.
“We started off trying to understand the story behind the ‘mancession’ and the ‘mancovery,’ and then we saw that there was a bigger story,” she said, referring to the fact that men have been disproportionately affected by the economic downturn of the last few years.
But as time went on, the research team’s focus shifted to include the effects education level had on employment, and their findings were significant.
The study reveals that students who obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher were less vulnerable to the recession than other students. Since the beginning of the recession, jobs that require a bachelor’s degree have increased by 2.2 million. In comparison, jobs that require only a high school degree or less have decreased by 5.8 million.
However, Jayasundera cautioned that not all holders of a bachelor’s degree were immune to unemployment trends during the recession.
“It’s … saying they were better off. It’s not that they didn’t get affected — they did get affected. Overall, as a group, they were better off than those who didn’t have a degree,” she said.
The study also found that male, college-educated workers suffered more job losses than women. However, they led the recovery by adding 2.3 million jobs for college graduates.
In addition, the types of jobs that men take have changed in the aftermath of the recession.
“We’re seeing more men move into female-dominated fields,” Jayasundera said.
Natasha Bowman, an adjunct professor for the School of Continuing Studies who specializes in human resources, thinks that this trend will continue as the job market continues to recover. In addition, she believes that women will soon come to dominate the workforce.
“According to the study, women are still accepting lower salaries than men, which makes them more attractive to employers,” she said.
She also suggested that recent employment trends will make graduate school and other specialized forms of study more attractive.
“I think it’s important to continue with your schooling [and] get some kind of graduate or specialty degree that distinguishes you from others in the job market,” she said. “It’s absolutely significant that Georgetown students are made aware of this data and they know the importance of staying in school and finishing their degree. Employers are actually paying for degrees now.”
Jayasundera echoed this sentiment.
“Sticking through and completing your degree seems to be the best thing you can do during this recovery,” she said.