Young people choosing college majors — or midlife people seeking a job change — need to pay attention to job-market realities.
The first rule in career choice should be to do what you love.
Reality creates a second rule: Do what pays the bills.
Young people choosing college majors — or midlife people seeking a job change — need to pay attention to job-market realities. Is there any hiring in the field you want to be in? Is there growth potential? Are wages enough to live the lifestyle you want?
There’s danger in assuming that today’s job market will be the same two years, four years, even six years from now after you’ve finished a degree path. But ignore income signals at your peril when choosing a course of study.
Most Read Stories
- Seahawks-Jaguars game ends in ugly brawl, and an altercation with Jacksonville fans VIEW
- Sore losers? That’s too soft a label for how the Seahawks reacted at the end of Jags loss
- Asked & Answered: What happened to Tom the Guessing Doorman at Costco?
- One of last great Washington train rides coming to an end
- Things might have been ugly for Seahawks in their 30-24 defeat, but they don’t lose any ground
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and several private job boards and consultants keep tabs on “hot” jobs and typical earnings. Here is recent insight from Bright.com, a job board that uses data science to compare the 50 most common college majors with average salaries being paid in jobs held by graduates with those degrees.
The five majors linked to the highest average salaries:
4. Business administration
5. Public relations
The five majors linked to the lowest average salaries:
1. Social work
2. Criminal justice
4. Elementary education
5. Medical assistant
Clearly, outstanding workers — motivated by mission and passion — are needed in the lower-wage occupations. And we can talk forever about societal priorities and how some jobs are valued more than others, at least in paycheck size.
But given that pay disparities are real, such statistical data can help you choose a major or an occupation.
What matters is that you make clear-eyed education and job application choices based on the best available information. And that includes knowing yourself. Earnings potential is important, but so is emotional self-fulfillment.