HR Report: College Degrees Worth $24K More in Yearly Salary

According to a report from human resources service provider TriNet, higher education could help prospective employees find higher paying jobs and lower the chances of becoming unemployed.

The report from TriNet SMBeat looked at data comparing higher education with employment in small and medium businesses from 9,000 TriNet clients as well as more than 258,000 worksite employees in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The data found suggest that obtaining a degree in higher education is beneficial, even when the cost is high.

The data suggest the average earnings for college graduates is $23,764 higher than earnings for those who do not hold degrees as of 2013.  Those who hold master’s degrees held an average salary of $69,108, which is $35,256 higher than those with only a high school diploma.

Holding a degree also helped in keeping a job, the findings suggest.  In 2013, unemployment rates dropped as education levels rose.

Of the group that held a high school diploma, the unemployment rate was 7.5% in 2013.  That rate dropped to 4% for those with a college degree, 3.4% for a master’s degree, and only 2.3% for those who held a professional degree.

A college degree also helps in finding more work per week.  Those who held a college degree worked an average of 40 hours or more per week, while those with a high school diploma worked 33.5 hours or less.

“Based on this data, even facing increasing costs of higher education, there is a clear benefit in earnings potential for workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, which may outweigh the risks of student loan debt,” the report states.

The data also looked at gender-specific earnings.  According to the report, for every dollar earned by men, women earned 83 cents, as of the first quarter of 2014.

For the past century, the US has been active in passing legislation to make workplace earnings equal, no matter the gender or race of the worker.  New regulations were announced this year from President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum, which asked the Secretary of Labor to ensure compensation data for race and gender is reported to the Department of Labor by federal contractors, in an effort to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and ensure these laws are being effectively followed.  Despite the efforts, an enormous earning gap still exists between the sexes.

According to the report, the average salary for men in 2014 across all industries was $45,084 while that number dropped to $37, 232 for women, creating an 83% salary gap.

Men were found to hold 85% of executive positions at an average base salary of $175,000.  Those women who do hold executive positions earned an average salary of $148,980.

The financial sector showed the largest salary gap, with men earning an average of $90,964 while women earned just $50,000.  This group also showed the most equal ratio of workers per gender, with 57% being men and 43% women.

The report, which can be viewed here, also looked at job growth, which has overall grown to 2.11% from the June growth of 2.04%.  The technology field has seen a growth of 3.52%, with the Atlanta area seeing 5.89% of that job growth, higher than growth in Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Silicon Valley and Boston.