In a job market like this, it’s hard not to get nostalgic for a time when it seemed like there were plenty of factory jobs and other work that paid well and only required a high school degree.
Our readers agree that’s a rare find these days.
A post this week on how the recent unemployment data is highlighting a growing divide between those who have more education and those who do not prompted a lot of discussion about the value of post-high school education.
Nearly half of our readers said it is possible to get a good job with just a high school degree, but it’s a lot harder.
“My friends that have a (high school) diploma and no experience can’t find work, but those with skills or experience are happily employed,” one reader wrote.
But about 40 percent of those who took our poll said it’s not possible to get a good job these days unless you have a degree.
“I have family members who can't make over $35k because they don't have a degree,” one reader said.
College isn’t for everyone, and many readers said that if you don’t go to college you should at least try to get some vocational training or other specialized skills that will help you land a job.
Another post this week found that certificate programs maybe shouldn’t be getting such a bad rap. The report from Georgetown University said certificate programs in fields like computing, engineering and electronics can lead to a significant bump in pay.
That’s especially true in male-dominated fields, and less true for female-dominated fields such as cosmetology and health care.
Many readers said certificates had paid off for them, but cautioned that you need to choose the right program from a reputable institution to make it worth your money.
“Most factories even require some sort of technical training now. The day of the low skill job that pays well if gone,” one reader wrote.
Whether you just graduated from high school, college or a vocational program, it’s always useful to have some advice. Also this week on Life Inc., we asked chief executives to offer their tips for success.
The CEOs urged new grads to travel and experience the world, do what they are passionate about and recognize that it’s OK to make mistakes.
Many readers said it’s easy to offer that type of advice when you are an executive, but most people these days don’t have the luxury to do things like travel and follow their passion in the current economy.
“That truly speaks volumes as to how far disconnected these CEOs are from the plight of the average American. Probably half or more of these graduates will still be searching for employment a year from now as they default on their student loans, while … the other half are wallowing in misery at a no paying dead end job that they were forced to accept just to keep from defaulting because nothing else is available. This nation is totally screwed for everyone underneath the present 10%. TOTALLY SCREWED!” one reader wrote.