The Results Are In: Is Your Current Profession Related to Your College Degree?

In July, we asked our readers if their current profession is directly related to their college degree, and the number one answer may surprise you. With 37%, of the votes, the top response was “my profession has nothing to do with my college degree.” Additionally, 29% of respondents said “my profession is in a field directly related to what I studied in college.” The current trend of employers simply requiring a four-year degree is shown in the third response: 26% said their college degree helped them in their current profession.

As a follow-up question, respondents were asked, for those who have a degree, “Are you working in your chosen/preferred profession that aligns with your education?” The majority, 57%, said no, while 43% said yes. Of those who responded to the poll, only 8% said they do not have a college degree.

The Most Employable College Degree

In a previous Refresh Leadership poll, we asked employment experts which college major makes a job candidate the most employable. Coinciding with the 37% saying their profession has nothing to do with their degree, the number the majority respondents (22%) said it doesn’t matter what the job candidate’s degree is in, just that they have one.

The Professional World Is Changing

Decades ago, professionals would focus on one area of study and leverage that into a long career directly tied to their degree. Now, some employers merely require a degree, regardless if it’s in the job-related field. A trend emerging in the past few years is some are foregoing college altogether to opt for skilled-trades training and career tech schools.

Refresh Leadership published an article about this change explaining how college isn’t for everyone. According to the article, “although college can be the perfect choice for many students, it isn’t right for everyone. At the very least, high school graduates should be aware that educational opportunities other than college exist. These include attending career technical or trade schools, and getting into the skilled trades, among other options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines several skilled-trades jobs and their associated median annual wage, many of which are comparable to those received by some four-year college students. These include:

  • Electricians: $54,110
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers: $64,070
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: $52,590
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical, and executive): $35,590
  • First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers: $55,060
  • First-line supervisors of production and operating workers: $58,870
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers: $40,240
  • Sales representatives for wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products): $56,970
  • Insurance sales agents: $49,710
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers: $69,620
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers: $61,050

As employers, what do you look for in a job candidate other than a degree? When hiring, do you require training/degree that is in the same field as the job your filling? Let us know in the comments section below!

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One Response to The Results Are In: Is Your Current Profession Related to Your College Degree?

  1. Christina Wiegel August 20, 2019 at 7:44 am #

    I am an HR Admin in the manufacturing industry and most of our position are entry level. I spend more time looking for consistency in employment, longevity. Our turn over is very low and our tenure is high, we hope that it stays that way.

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